DNC platform moves left on Israel, but not enough for some progressive groups

The 2020 DNC platform moves left on Israel, opposing extended Israeli sovereignty, but some leftwing groups say it doesn’t go far enough.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Democratic Party released a draft of its party platform on Wednesday, with new left-leaning policies regarding Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The final version of the party platform will be adopted officially next month at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

“Democrats oppose any unilateral steps by either side—including annexation—that undermine prospects for two states… We oppose settlement expansion,” the document says.

Directed towards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, which was slated to begin July 1, this marks the first time that Democrats have used language explicitly opposing Israeli policies within their party platform.

The platform calls for “a negotiated two-state solution that ensures Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state with recognized borders and upholds the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and security in a viable state of their own…

“We believe that while Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

In a nod to pro-Israel Democratic voters, the party clarifies that it “oppose[s] any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.”

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But for many progressive groups, the language didn’t go far enough, particularly in addressing Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria.

A spokesperson from liberal Israel advocacy organization J Street told Jewish Insider that the group was happy to see the platform “expressing support for Palestinian rights alongside affirmation of support for Israel’s security, and opposition to settlement expansion and unilateral annexation.”

But, the J Street spokesperson said, “we’re very concerned that the draft apparently makes no reference to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory. Until the Trump administration, it has been bipartisan U.S. government policy to recognize (and oppose) the occupation since it began in 1967.”

“It should not be at all controversial for the Democratic party to recognize it in 2020,” the spokesperson said.

Americans For Peace Now responded to the platform via its official Twitter account, saying it was pleased that “Israeli annexation [is] explicitly opposed.”

But the group was disappointed that the platform doesn’t condemn Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria, saying, “Democratic consensus should mean inclusion of anti-occupation too.”

Jewish Voice for Peace said in a statement, “We and other progressive groups are outraged that the DNC platform fails to even name Israel’s illegal military occupation.

“The base is ready to end Israeli oppression of Palestinians and to stop funding it. When will party leadership catch up?”