California Democrats Take a Firm Stance Against Israel
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in the U.S. and both major political parties share the blame. Yet increasingly, criticism for the State of Israel is being voiced by prominent Democrats running for President. Why?
As California Democrats gear up for the California Democratic Party convention this weekend, Friday night has already seen the yearly gathering of prominent liberals elites mired in controversy.
The lightning rod? An increasingly common refrain: The State of Israel.
This year’s convention, held in deeply liberal San Francisco, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home district, will consider at least five drafted resolutions condemning the State of Israel.
One of the resolutions blames Israel for a rise in “virulent Islamophobia”; accuses Israel of aligning itself with neo-Nazis and ultra-rightwing groups; and causing, albeit indirectly, the terrorist attack on a Pittsburg Synagogue last year than left 11 Jewish congregants dead.
“The Israeli government and its supporters here seem to be embracing the right wing and not caring what they say about anything else — Islamophobia, dog whistles for anti-Semitism. That, I think, does indirectly lead to some of the violence.” — drafter of the resolution, David Mandel. Attorney and State Assembly delegate
In fairness, that same resolution does give House Democrats credit for “resolving to fight all racism and bigotry and for resisting the false conflation of support for Palestinian rights with antisemitism.” It should also be noted that David Mandel holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship.
14 Democratic Presidential hopefuls are scheduled to attend the event including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Will these top contenders for the Democratic nomination for President wade into the controversy?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, diplomatic states-craftian that she is, might maneuver behind the scenes to keep these resolutions away from the formal discussion table. There are over 200 resolutions hoping to be set before the powers that be among California Democrats, after all.
Democratic leadership was certainly not anxious to discuss these resolutions with Real Clear Politics. Nancy Pelosi gave no comment.
“We are not going to comment on resolutions that at this point have neither been debated, finalized or passed.” — State party spokesman Roger Salazar
Pelosi is right to be wary. At the heart of these resolutions targeting Israel, there is a question of whether Israel deserves the right to exist at all.
Advocates of the Palestinian cause point to human rights abuses by the Israeli government. Yet these same voices are strangely silent when the subject of Iran’s human rights abuses come up. Or the government of Nicolas Maduro.
Not even North Korea, with its labor camps and nasty habit of executing entire families for treason, raises their temperature like the mention of Israel.
Israel isn’t even on the top 10 of human rights abusers worldwide; the U.S. is. Which other countries, besides Israel, don’t have the right to exist? If the answer to this question is “only Israel,” that certainly leads to other questions.
What makes Israel so uniquely evil that it must be scourged from the Earth?
Insisting that Jews have no business, nor history it is to be supposed, in Israel and Jerusalem is equally illogical. Comparisons between Israel and South Africa are as deeply misguided.
On the other side of the country, or the other side of the universe depending on who you ask, Republicans are making themselves clear on the subject of Israel. Chief among them, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Rather than smearing one of America’s strongest allies, the Democrat Party should work on resolving its very real anti-Semitism problem among several of its elected officials. There is no place for anti-Semitism in this country and certainly not in the halls of Congress.”
“President Trump stands firmly against the hateful ideology that Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have failed to condemn. There is no stronger supporter of the Jewish people than President Trump, who withdrew from the disastrous Iran deal that put Israel in great peril, defended Israel at the United Nations unlike previous administrations, and kept his promise in moving the U.S. Embassy to its rightful home in Jerusalem.” — Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer, told RCP.
The California Democrats who authored these resolutions are being equally clear.
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party supports ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, opposes Israeli settlements in them; demands equal rights for Palestinians and other non-Jewish residents in Israel; and supports Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homelands;” — from one of the resolutions.
California Democrats should note, in fairness to Israel and the Israeli people, that Islam is the largest minority religious group in Israel, comprising 18% of the population and enjoying freedom of religion.
How many Jewish people live peacefully and practice their religion in Gaza? None. Gaza is 99% Sunni Muslim, 0.2% Arab Christian, <1.0% unspecified.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)