Archive for the ‘Democrat party platform’ category

The 2016 Democratic Platform: Be Happy

July 30, 2016

The 2016 Democratic Platform: Be Happy, American ThinkerRobert Potts, July 30, 2016

In these troubled times, are you feeling anxious? Do you wake up at night wondering if the country is on the right track? Well, friends, I have in my hand a document with words of comfort and encouragement for troubled souls: the 2016 Democratic Party Platform. Fifty-one pages of solutions for what ails you, and that’s not Roger.

Have you been hacked? What a hassle. Can’t anyone fix this problem? Democrats to the rescue. Hi Ho Hillary. From the party platform: “Democrats will protect our industry, infrastructure, and government from cyberattacks. We will strengthen our cybersecurity, seek to establish global norms in cyberspace, and impose consequences on those who violate the rules.” (Well… maybe not consequences for absolutely everyone.)

A veteran myself, I was reassured to read in the platform that the Democrats “are outraged by the systemic problems plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Whoever has been running the VA for the last 8 years should be terrified. The Democrats are “outraged.” Look out you scoundrels, whoever you are.

Are you worried about the decline of entrepreneurship? You should be. New business starts are down. Entrepreneurs aren’t entrepreneuring like they used to. What can be done? The Democratic party platform calls for programs to train entrepreneurs. “We will support entrepreneurship and small business growth in cities by providing mentoring and training to entrepreneurs and small business owners…” Government training for entrepreneurship from those crazy, creative, risk-taking bureaucrats. Zing!

Having a tough time as a small business owner? No worries. Democrats “will cut the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs.” I thought Democrats were known for printing the red tape. Elsewhere in the platform the Democrats say they will “empower regulators.” Give regulators the power, but take away their red tape. Brilliant.

Dare I mention banking? We’ve been on the edge of our seats for months. Bernie and Hillary back and forth on “too big to fail,” on releasing those transcripts of her Wall Street speeches, on who voted for the bailout and who didn’t, on who was tough on the banks and who just talked tough. Can’t we all just get along? Well, they came together as only liberal Democrats can. The party platform proposes “empowering the United States Postal Service to facilitate the delivery of basic banking services.” Post offices as banks. Reverse privatization. Take that Republicans.

The Federal Reserve is the central banking system of the United States. People talk a lot about the Federal Reserve. Some are for it; others are against it.  Democrats have an idea. They will ensure “that executives of financial institutions are not allowed to serve on the boards of regional Federal Reserve banks.” Men and women who know something about banking and finance will not be allowed to serve. Problem solved.

Traveling overseas? Don’t worry. Be happy. From the 2016 platform: “Democrats will protect American citizens abroad.” What a tragedy that the guys in Benghazi were calling the State Department for help when they should have been calling the Democrats.


Raising the Palestinian cause at the DNC

July 28, 2016

Raising the Palestinian cause at the DNC, Vice NewsDalia Hatuqa, July 28, 2016

pal rightsA delegate holds a sign reading ‘I support Palestinian Human Rights’ at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia [Tannen Maury/EPA]

An issue that was once sidelined even in progressive circles, Palestine was pushed to the forefront of the electoral campaign this year, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders showing that policy change on a seemingly intractable conflict is possible.

For the first time, the platform reflected the right of Palestinians to “independence, sovereignty, and dignity” in addition to Israel’s security. In a recent poll (PDF) of American attitudes on the conflict, 49 percent of Democrats said they recommended economic sanctions or other more serious action to counter settlement construction.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Eva Putzova held a banner with a simple message just outside the Democratic National Convention (DNC) floor on Tuesday: “I support Palestinian rights.”

“I think it’s time that Democratic candidates – Hillary, Bernie or anybody else – start taking the issue seriously and start a real national conversation and get behind all human rights, including Palestinian rights,” said Putzova, a city council member from Flagstaff, Arizona.

She was among many pro-Palestine activists at the DNC this week who came out in a show of force unprecedented at other political conventions. They marched and rallied, held talks and town halls, carried signs and, at one point, raised a Palestinian flag on the convention floor.

“The issue is getting more media exposure, more people are aware,” Putzova said. “I think we are on the brink of changing the policy stands of the US, but it will take all of us to push the political elite. I think [Palestinians are] a community that has been marginalised for so long.”

An issue that was once sidelined even in progressive circles, Palestine was pushed to the forefront of the electoral campaign this year, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders showing that policy change on a seemingly intractable conflict is possible.

In a debate last April, he pushed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to call the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza “disproportionate”. He said the US and Israel need “to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity” and that the US “has to play an even-handed role”. Sanders, however, was also criticised for not denouncing Israel more forcefully, and for the ousting of his campaign’s Jewish outreach director, who slammed Israel’s prime minister in a Facebook post.

A month later, Sanders assigned James Zogby, an advocate for Palestinian rights, and four others, including one of two Muslim congressmen, to the platform-writing committee, signalling his attempt to revise the party’s long-standing policy that favoured Israel.

“It took the work of a mass movement and a courageous person like Bernie Sanders, because if Bernie hadn’t elevated it, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Zogby, also President of the Arab American Institute, in a talk attended by pro-Palestine supporters in Philadelphia. “He gave us a qualitative boost forward.”

What’s on the platform?

On the DNC sidelines, pro-Palestine supporters discussed how the conflict with the Israelis was playing out on the domestic policy platform.

But in stark contrast to public support and activism, the party’s platform, which now supports a $15 minimum wage and Wall Street reform, did not include references to the Israeli occupation and its settlements.

Zogby said Clinton supporters cut out these references, fearing retribution from billionaire mogul and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson.  On an official level, Clinton’s backers said the call for negotiations for a two-state solution in the party’s platform was sufficient.

Going into the platform-writing committee, Zogby said he and other Sanders delegates were expecting to discuss removing a reference to Jerusalem being the “undivided capital” of Israel, and opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“We wanted to strike the BDS line, we wanted to strike out a line on Jerusalem,” said Zogby, who is also on the DNC’s executive committee. “I thought that would be the fight. I had no idea the fight would end up being over occupation and settlements.”

They lost on all counts, and pro-Clinton supporters said they couldn’t change the language. “Here’s what they told me: ‘We can’t do it because Adelson will come out against us,'” Zogby said. “He will come after you no matter what you do. The people who like [Adelson] won’t vote for you.”

The platform committee discussions leading up to the DNC also spurred controversy, as civil rights activist and scholar Cornel West made an impassioned appeal to change the language to include “an end to occupation and illegal settlements”.

He called Palestine a “Vietnam War” issue for young Americans, and likened the party’s indifference to the conflict to the same apathy to “these Negroes” in the Jim Crow era.

Despite the fact that the resolution was voted down, some believe that the discourse on Palestine has shifted.

For the first time, the platform reflected the right of Palestinians to “independence, sovereignty, and dignity” in addition to Israel’s security. In a recent poll (PDF) of American attitudes on the conflict, 49 percent of Democrats said they recommended economic sanctions or other more serious action to counter settlement construction.

A changing conversation

“The conversation has improved a lot … it is broader and more inclusive,” said Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, another Sanders pick on the DNC platform committee. “Over the past few years, members of Congress have gone to the Holy Land, not only to Israel, but also to Palestine. The perspective is changing, and it’s a good time to continue the work that you’re doing.”

Palestine supporters are banking on the presence of many activists and progressives in the city, in part because of Sanders’ candidacy, to expand and change the debate on the conflict.

They are also aware that the share of younger Americans sympathising with the Palestinian cause has risen significantly in recent years – from 9 percent in 2006 to 20 percent in July 2014, and finally to 27 percent today.

“We have seen some fairly remarkable changes in the landscape of how the issue of Palestine and Israel is being addressed – both in the news media and particularly within progressive circles,” said Mike Merryman Lotze, the American Friends Service Committee’s (also known as the Quakers) Palestine-Israel programme director.

“If we look back where the conversation was 15 years ago today, even really five years ago, we have to recognise that we are now in a fundamentally different place,” he said.

“That marks a shift … and that conversation has been pushed by the grassroots progressive movement.”

READ MORE: US Democratic Party – Closer to justice on Palestine?

Massacre of Cops in Baton Rouge

July 18, 2016

Massacre of Cops in Baton Rouge, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, July 18, 2016


CLEVELAND — In what is becoming a depressingly regular occurrence in the Obama era, police officers were murdered by a black militant in a shootout in Baton Rouge on Sunday, apparently in revenge for the recent police-involved death of black career criminal Alton Sterling outside a Baton Rouge food store.

At time of writing, three police officers had succumbed to the injuries they suffered in Louisiana’s capital city. Another three were wounded.

Of course, murdering police officers has long been encouraged by activists with the Marxist, anti-American, revolutionary Black Lives Matter cult, with the support of the activist Left and financing from speculator George Soros. A year ago Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who openly advocates the mass murder of whites, called for “10,000 fearless men” to “rise up and kill those who kill us.” Like many radicals, Farrakhan mischaracterizes Black Lives Matter as a rising civil rights movement.

President Barack Hussein Obama, who a decade ago promoted inter-racial warfare in Kenya, has long tried to provoke civil unrest here in the U.S. with his hateful anti-cop rhetoric and his relentless demonization of opponents. His goal is fundamental transformation of the United States. A Red diaper baby who identifies violence-espousing communist Frantz Fanon as an intellectual influence, he has also steadfastly refused to condemn Black Lives Matter. In fact Obama has lavished attention on the movement’s leaders and invited them to the White House over and over again.

The Baton Rouge attack came 10 days after a black militant murdered five Dallas area police officers, the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.

A few days later Obama flew to Dallas and attended a memorial service at which he lectured the dead officers’ relatives about how racist and brutal police officers are. The very next day Obama hosted leaders of Black Lives Matter, whose members urge the murder of cops, at the White House.

The Baton Rouge attack came 12 days after local police killed homeless recidivist Sterling during an altercation. Sterling, who had reportedly threatened a passer-by with a gun, violently resisted arrest and tried to grab a policeman’s gun.

The shooter in Baton Rouge was killed by police following an exchange of gunfire outside a fitness center. He has been identified as Gavin Eugene Long, who claimed to have been a member of Nation of Islam. He also reportedly turned 29 yesterday.

Long was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines in 2010. A fervent racist, he ranted against “crackers,” the Daily Caller reports.

Long, who also used the name Cosmo Ausar Setepenra, talked about the Dallas massacre and recent police shootings of black men in social media posts, according to Heavy. “Violence is not THE answer (its [sic] a answer), but at what point do you stand up so that your people dont [sic] become the Native Americans…EXTINCT?,” he tweeted July 13.

Referring to the death of Alton Sterling, he said, “If I would have been there with Alton — clap,” Long said in a July 14 video. In the video he also discussed black liberation theology and said he wrote a book.

“I wrote it for my dark-skinned brothers,” he said of the book.

“If you look at all the rebels like Black Panthers, Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X … Elijah Muhammad, they was light-skinned. But we know how hard y’all got it.”

In another video, Long justified his fellow ex-soldier and black militant Micah X. Johnson’s killing of cops in Dallas. “It’s justice, you know what I’m saying,” Long said.

Long may also have telegraphed his plans in a cryptic Twitter post early Sunday morning. He wrote, “Just [because] you wake up every morning doesn’t mean that you’re living. And just [because] you shed your physical body doesn’t mean that you’re dead.”

The officers Long killed are Brad Garafola, 45, Matthew Gerald, 41, and Montrell Jackson, 32.

Jackson, a black man, had poignantly sounded a note of despair in a Facebook post July 8, three days after Sterling’s death at the hands of police and as racial tensions ramped up in Baton Rouge and across the nation.

“I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends, and officers for some reckless comments but hey what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate takes too much energy but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same. … I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. When people you know begin to question your integrity you realize they don’t really know you at all.”

President Obama commented on the killings but he seemed strange, playing against type. He sounded like a president who actually cared about his countrymen.

“These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best.”

Finally Obama sounded kind of presidential. But anyone who follows Obama knows it won’t last. He’ll undercut these remarks with cheap agitprop soon as he lectures Americans and especially cops on how racist they are.

Oh wait! He already did.

Breitbart reported yesterday that the Obama White House formally denied a petition with 141,444 signatures gathered in just 10 days to “formally recognize Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization,” a designation this writer proposed in a recent FrontPage article.

The government doesn’t designate domestic terrorist organizations, was the official weaselly reply from those who process the petitions.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wasted no time correctly blaming Obama for the climate of racial hatred and violence.

“We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today,” Trump wrote on Facebook. “How many more law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order.”

We can only hope President Obama will have the basic personal decency to stay away from memorial services for the slain Baton Rouge officers. They don’t need our Marxist president rubbing more of his cop-hating filth in their faces.

But no one has ever accused Obama of putting decency above politics.

Meanwhile, Obama’s ideological soulmates from Black Lives Matter showed up at a protest in Cleveland on Saturday near the Republican National Convention that officially convenes today.

Speakers included New Black Panther Party leader Malik Zulu Shabazz and Cornel West, a tenured militant black pseudo-intellectual. Shabazz called Trump “an uncouth racist,” adding Hillary Clinton “isn’t that much better.” Clinton will “just kill you nicely.”

At a Sunday event West called Trump a “neo-fascist catastrophe.”

Black militancy will play a huge role at the Democrats’ nominating convention that starts a week from today in Philadelphia. It will reportedly be headlined by the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown (respectively, Sybrina Fulton and Lezley McSpadden), two young black thugs killed by white men in self-defense.

This makes sense. After all, the Democratic National Committee has expressly endorsed Black Lives Matter.

Glick: AIPAC’s Moment of Decision

July 9, 2016

Glick: AIPAC’s Moment of Decision, Truth RevoltCaroline Glick, July 8, 2016

(Please see also, Video : AIPAC Allies Weakened Pro-Israel Language in 2012 GOP Platform. — DM)

Does AIPAC intend to remain a pro-Israel organization? Or will it opt to become a softer version of J Street and work to hollow out Republican support for Israel?

Later this month the Republicans and Democrats will hold their respective conventions. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will officially become the presidential nominees.

Ahead of the conventions, both parties selected delegates to draft their platforms. The Democratic platform committee convened late last month.

As soon as the delegates to the Democratic platform committee were named, it was clear that the party’s support for Israel would come under assault.

After Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination with her primary victories, she decided to allow her defeated opponent, socialist senator Bernie Sanders, to appoint a third of the committee’s membership.

Three of Sanders’s representatives are outspoken opponents of the US alliance with Israel. Rep. Keith Ellison, Prof. Cornell West and James Zogby have all distinguished themselves as rabid critics of Israel and apologists for Palestinian terrorism.

Although commentators downplayed the significance of their appointments, noting that Clinton’s representatives were, by and large, supportive of Israel, the fact is that Clinton was under no obligation to give Sanders’s supporters a seat at the table. That she did so shows that she wanted to showcase growing Democratic opposition to Israel and tip her hat to the growing power of anti-Israel forces in the party.

In the end, the committee reached a compromise.

While the Zogby/West/Ellison wording was rejected, the draft platform makes explicit mention of Palestinian grievances for the first time calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state that will ensure “the independence, sovereignty and dignity” of the Palestinians.

Watching the drama unfold, the Republicans, reasonably, sought to play up the growing disparity between the GOP’s support for Israel and the Democrats’ growing hostility. After Ellison, West and Zogby were appointed – again, with Clinton’s consent – the Republican Party released an ad attacking the Democrats for abandoning their traditional support for the Jewish state.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to a Pew Research Center survey released in May, since 2014, support for Palestinians among liberal Democrats – that is, hard-line Obama supporters – has skyrocketed from 21 percent to 40%. Support for Israel among the group during the same period decreased from 39% to 33%.

The result marks the first time that support for Palestinians exceeded support for Israel among any major US political demographic. On the other hand, among conservative Republicans, support for Israel stands at 79% while support for Palestinians is almost negligible – 4%. The situation among moderate to liberal Republicans is not much different.

Sixty-five percent support Israel, 13% support the Palestinians. On the other hand, support for Israel versus Palestinians among moderate Democrats stands at 53% to 19%.

To date, the Republicans’ efforts to capitalize on their support for Israel have been stymied by the American Jewish leadership. The desire of Jewish leaders to sweep the growing partisan distinctions under the rug is understandable. They fear that noting the disparity will anger the anti-Israel forces in the Democratic Party, who are led by the president.

Such an event, they fear, will further diminish their capacity to influence Obama’s policy on Israel.

Moreover, it could endanger their support among American Jews.

Since most American Jews are Democrats – and indeed, most American Jewish leaders are Democrats – there is little appetite for a fight with the Democratic Party. Admitting that Republican support for Israel is far stronger than Democratic support would require them to act. Either they will have to switch parties, or they will have to wage an ugly fight with the increasingly powerful – and White House-backed – anti-Israel voices in the party. Not only would such a fight risk losing the party, it would risk losing the Jews who, if forced to choose between their Jewish and liberal sympathies, would, without hesitation, opt to remain in the liberal camp.

The desire to pretend away the problem was on full display late last month. Following the Democrats’ platform meeting, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement calling for the Republicans to effectively replicate the Democrats’ Israel section in the GOP’s platform. ADL’s national chairman Marvin Nathan said, “The platform committee rightfully affirmed the Democrats’ and America’s longstanding commitment to Israel’s security and to Israel’s fundamental rights and enshrined key principles of its quest for peace with the Palestinians through a directly negotiated two-state solution.”

The ADL called on the GOP to approve “similarly strong and unifying language” in its platform “so that both platforms reflect America’s strong bipartisan support for Israel.”

J Street was a central force in the Democratic committee’s deliberation. The far-left Jewish group, which claims to be pro-Israel and pro-peace but has not supported any pro-Israel initiative since it was founded in 2008, supported all the members of Congress who were delegates on the committee.

The rise of J Street as a major force among Democrats is emblematic of the Obama administration’s hostility to Israel and its Jewish American supporters.

The main casualty of J Street’s rise has been AIPAC. J Street was founded to challenge AIPAC’s claim to represent the Jewish community as a whole by claiming that it doesn’t speak for Jews on the Left.

In so has served as a means for enabling Democrats from far-left districts to effectively abandon Israel while using J Street to hide the fact that they have done so. In this way, J Street’s very presence on the political scene has diminished AIPA C’s influence over the party.

J Street supports all manner of anti-Israel measures in the interests of “peace” with the Palestinians.

Indeed, it supported the Sanders delegates’ platform proposal. And throughout Obama’s long courtship of Iran at Israel’s expense, J Street has been an ardent opponent of anti-Iran sanctions and an advocate for whatever deal Obama came up with.

Obama’s use of J Street is just one of the ways has worked to emasculate AIPAC. He has also deliberately hung AIPAC out to dry, repeatedly, in order to humiliate it and weaken its influence over lawmakers.

The most glaring example of that practice was Obama’s insistence that AIPAC lobby Congress in favor of his plan to bomb regime targets in Syria in 2013. Israel had no particular stake in the issue, so AIPAC had no particular reason to get involved.

Moreover, Obama’s plan was unpopular among Democrats and Republicans alike. Democrats opposed his proposed missile strikes because they oppose all US involvement in Middle Eastern wars.

Republicans opposed it, because his plan made no strategic sense. And yet, in the hopes of winning sympathy, and through it, perhaps, influence over its Israel policies, AIPAC dutifully sent its lobbyists to the Hill to push Obama’s plan.

In the end, of course, AIPAC was humiliated, when at the last moment, Obama decided to scrap the strikes.

Then of course, there was Obama’s extraordinary assault of AIPAC over its opposition to his nuclear appeasement of Iran. Throughout the years leading up to his nuclear capitulation to the mullahs last summer, Republicans and pro-Israel Democrats worked together to pass Iran sanctions laws. To appease the administration, AIPAC went out of its way to water down the bills. But the administration was unimpressed.

Last summer, during the fight over Senate Democratic support for the deal, the administration painted AIPAC as a treacherous organization that was working against the US interest for Israel’s benefit.

Anti-Semitic language was deftly deployed by administration surrogates against AIPAC to rally support.

While AIPAC had no choice but to oppose Obama’s embrace of Iran, it has given the administration no fight over its support for the Palestinians against Israel. Indeed, not only has it gone along with the administration’s hostile positions against Israel on the Palestinian issue, it works out that AIPAC has lobbied Republicans to support the Palestinians.

Last week, Republican activists sent me a video recording of the 2012 Republican platform committee’s deliberations regarding the party’s position on Israel. In 2008, the Republican platform included an unequivocal endorsement of unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In its words, “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.”

In the video recordings, Sue Lynch, a delegate from Wisconsin, is seen introducing an amendment calling for the GOP to strike mention of “unified Jerusalem” from its platform. According to the activists, Lynch was acting as a surrogate for AIPAC in submitting the amendment. And in the event, the 2012 Republican platform sufficed with a mention of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Later in the same recording, a committee member submitted an amendment that would have deleted all mention of a Palestinian state from the platform.

She argued that there was no reason for the US to take a position on the matter, since it has to be determined by Israel. From the response the amendment received, it was difficult to discern any controversy over the effort.

That is, until Brad Gordon, AIPAC director of policy and government relations, took the floor. Gordon repeatedly argued that by not committing the GOP to supporting a Palestinian state, the Republicans risked harming Israel.

“We do not want to do anything that would embarrass the Israeli government,” he said.

And since Obama coerced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into endorsing a Palestinian state, Gordon argued that it would be embarrass Netanyahu to leave it out of the platform. In testament to its power, AIPAC got what it wanted. The amendment deleting mention of the Palestinians was defeated.

In other words, acting through a surrogate and directly, AIPAC weakened Republican support for Israel.

Next week, Republican delegates will convene to write their platform, ahead of their convention, which will begin on July 18. Donald Trump has already expressed reservations about supporting Palestinians statehood and supports moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Moreover, the Israeli government’s guidelines make no mention of Palestinians statehood.

As understandable as the US Jewish leadership’s attempts to hide the growing disparity between Republican and Democratic support have been, the fact is they have failed to bring any positive result.

Now, as the anti-Israel voices among the Democrats have grown so powerful that Clinton has enabled them to influence the party’s position on Israel, AIPAC’s moment of decision has arrived.

Does AIPAC intend to remain a pro-Israel organization? Or will it opt to become a softer version of J Street and work to hollow out Republican support for Israel just as J Street has hollowed out Democratic support for the Jewish state?

In a statement in response to this column, AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann rejected the veracity of the story’s veracity.

“This column makes a completely false accusation about AIPAC’s position,” Wittmann said. “AIPAC’s position has consistently been that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, should remain undivided and we have supported moving the US embassy there – and that remains our position. AIPAC actually worked to strengthen the 2012 Republican platform on Jerusalem. When it was noticed that Jerusalem was omitted from the original draft, we urged that language be included reflecting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Video: AIPAC Allies Weakened Pro-Israel Language in 2012 GOP Platform

July 8, 2016

Video: AIPAC Allies Weakened Pro-Israel Language in 2012 GOP Platform, Washington Free Beacon: , July 8, 2016

(There seems to be no suggestion the GOP  pro-Israel platform for 2016 has yet been weakened, although there appear to be efforts to that end that AIPAC may make. — DM)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation’s foremost pro-Israel lobby, pursued a quiet campaign to weaken pro-Israel language in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform, according to video obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and sources who attended the 2012 platform committee deliberations.

The sources described AIPAC’s bid to weaken the GOP’s language on Israel as an attempt to bring it more in line with the Democratic Party’s platform, in order to reinforce the perception long promoted by AIPAC that both parties are equally pro-Israel.

The lobby’s ultimately successful effort to weaken the 2012 pro-Israel language left some Republicans angered, according to sources who told the Free Beacon that the fight over the platform’s Israel language is likely to revive next week in Cleveland, when AIPAC will again face Republicans who advocate language that is more pro-Israel than that of the Democratic Party. AIPAC denies working to water down pro-Israel language in the 2012 GOP platform.

AIPAC-backed changes to the 2012 platform included the removal of support for an “undivided” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the removal of language calling for the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The 2008 Republican platform stated: “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.”

That language was not included in the 2012 version, which states: “[W]e envision two democratic states—Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine—living in peace and security.”

During the 2012 discussions, the removal of the 2008 language was carried out at the behest of members of the platform committee who were allied with AIPAC, according to video of the session obtained by the Free Beacon.

The video shows amended language being proposed on behalf of Sue Lynch, a past president of the National Federation of Republican Women, a staunch pro-Israel advocate, and a close ally of AIPAC who has spoken at AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference. Free Beacon sources involved in the platform fight said that the language changes proposed by Lynch were encouraged by AIPAC.

When reached for comment, Lynch told the Free Beacon that during the 2012 platform meetings she “worked with AIPAC to insure strong language supporting” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. When asked about the video footage showing an amendment bearing her name removing the “undivided” language and the endorsement of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, she said, “that doesn’t seem correct” and added that “my memory recalls supporting Jerusalem as the capital.”

Yet when delegates who opposed the AIPAC-supported changes presented alternative language that reaffirmed the GOP’s 2008 position, Lynch and others succeeded in defeating it according to subsequent video footage obtained by the Free Beacon.

The alternate language stated, “We desire Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its undivided and eternal capital, and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law,” according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.

Lynch told the Free Beacon that “I did not support their efforts” to revive the 2008 language.

The initial platform-drafting meeting ended without resolution and the dispute was taken up at a meeting the next day.

In the hours between the two meetings, AIPAC allies are said to have privately persuaded delegates to oppose the alternative resolution.

A live broadcast of the platform committee’s final meeting hints at the internal discord that had erupted behind-the-scenes over the Israel language.

Randy Page, a delegate from South Carolina, led the failed effort to replace the AIPAC-approved platform with the alternate language supported by a significant number of Republican leaders.

“With all due respect, I believe that our present plank on Israel is way off base,” Page said during a live CSPAN broadcast of the platform committee’s meeting.

“Our present Israel platform is a nearly identical copy of the Democrat’s Israel platform,” Page said. “Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. Now let me ask: How many of you here today agree with President Obama’s policy of pressuring Israel? Because our platform sure seems to. That is not what’s in the heart of everyday Republicans who stand with Israel.”

The platform committee again ended its session without resolving the Israel issue.

Top Republican leaders aligned with AIPAC completed the final language behind closed doors, sources said. Excluded from that meeting were delegates who had backed the alternative pro-Israel language.

When the final platform was unveiled at the 2012 convention, all of AIPAC’s recommended changes were included, sources claimed. References to an “undivided” Jerusalem and the relocation of the U.S. embassy were omitted.

AIPAC denies that it worked to strip language advocating an undivided Jerusalem and moving the U.S. embassy there.

The charges are “not true,” an AIPAC spokesman told the Free Beacon. “AIPAC’s position has consistently been that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, should remain undivided, and we have supported moving the U.S. embassy there—and that remains our position.”

“AIPAC actually worked to strengthen the 2012 Republican platform on Jerusalem,” the spokesman said. “When it was noticed that Jerusalem was omitted from the original draft, we urged that language be included reflecting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

A source close to AIPAC told the Free Beacon that the only discussion AIPAC was involved in surrounded the issue of a two-state solution, which AIPAC supports.

The source further maintained that the original GOP platform proposal did not include any language mentioning an undivided Jerusalem. AIPAC staffers noticed this omission and recommended that such language be included, according to the source, who added that there was never any effort from AIPAC to weaken the platform language, but instead strengthen it.

While language on Jerusalem was ultimately added to the platform, the term “undivided” was rejected.

One source involved in drafting the 2012 platforms told the Free Beacon that AIPAC sought to ensure that the Republican and Democratic platforms used similar language with regards to Israel—despite objections from leaders in both parties.

GOP delegate Alan Clemmons, a South Carolina state representative, maintained AIPAC was behind efforts to suppress the alternate language and drag the GOP closer in line with the Democratic Party.

“The Obama years have proven a disastrous misery for anyone who cares about Israel,” Clemmons said. “AIPAC’s only responding tactic has been to pull the Republicans leftward in order to manufacture the appearance of bipartisanship. This has significantly lowered the bar in the process of making policy, so much so that we may now have to live with a nuclear Iran for example.”

Another source involved in the fight to strengthen the platform’s language told the Free Beacon that AIPAC is working to undermine its own agenda. The lobby played a key role in pushing 1995 legislation requiring the U.S. embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem.

“It’s strange that AIPAC, which led on this issue in 1995 with the Jerusalem Embassy Act that requires the U.S. government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move our embassy there, has now gutted support for the same policy in both parties’ platforms,” the source said. “Major leaders in the Democratic Party today like Harry Reid, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Patty Murray, Diane Feinstein, Charles Rangel, Charles Schumer, and Dick Durbin, were all co-sponsors of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.”

“So not only has AIPAC walked the Democrats back from an undivided Jerusalem, they’ve succeeded in steering the Republican party away from an undivided Jerusalem as well. And they did it by tricking people,” the source said.

The 2012 controversy is viewed by some members of the platform drafting committee as a prelude to a similar dispute that will play out in the 2016 drafting meetings. Clemmons says he will lead the charge to change the 2016 platform.

“Public polling has consistently proved that the GOP base does not support many of the positions being promoted by AIPAC,” he said. “The new language I will propose in Cleveland will accurately reflect the views of the base, and put support for Israel back into the hands of those everyday Americans whose support for Israel is the most honest and sincere.”

“Having been at the 2012 GOP Convention to personally witness AIPAC’s staff and operatives shamelessly kill the party’s support for an undivided Jerusalem, I can say that it was easily the most tragic and dishonest political episode I have ever witnessed,” Clemmons said.

Worrying signs in Democratic platform

June 27, 2016

Worrying signs in Democratic platform, Israel Hayom, Zalman Shoval, June 27, 2016

Israel and its allies in the Democratic Party cannot afford to be complacent in light of the prevailing trends in the drafting committee.


As is the case every four years before U.S. presidential elections, Israelis try to figure out which candidate will be better for Israel. The answer is often: Whoever is elected.

This does not mean that both presumptive nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are identical political twins. What it does mean is that candidates’ rhetoric on the campaign trail usually has little impact on their overall policy once they become president. In any case, it is not wise for Israelis to speak out on such issues. And in any event, such talk has no bearing on the election’s outcome.

But this should not prevent us from discussing the official party platforms, which are updated ahead of each election. Israelis will find it hard to stay ambivalent about the emerging Democratic platform in light of its clauses dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the new platform will only be formally adopted at the Democratic National Convention in July, the new language introduced over the weekend on Israel-related issues makes it abundantly clear that the party is distancing itself from its traditional pro-Israel stance.

This trend was evident in 2012 as well, when the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee removed a clause mentioning Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — only to have it reinserted following pressure by party leaders. This time the very nature of the drafting committee underscores the negativity toward Israel. Five members of the committee were appointed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and six were appointed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and four more were appointed by the Democratic National Committee).

But what matters more is not the proportion of pro-Sanders members in the committee, but their identities. They include James Zogby, a leading pro-Arab activist; U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim; and Dr. Cornel West, a professor with provocative views on Israel who has embraced the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and has come out against the Israeli “occupation.”

The Clinton campaign is fully aware of the electoral damage an anti-Israeli platform could inflict on her candidacy, not to mention the financial fallout on her fund-raising efforts, even if the platform is described as “balanced.” This is why her allies took pains to make sure the drafting committee hears out expert testimony from the likes of Dennis Ross, who served as a Clinton’s Middle East adviser, and former key Democratic lawmakers, but this did not sway the hard-core Sanders loyalists. Sanders has been invigorated by his impressive campaign against Clinton, while Clinton has had to deal with very low favorability ratings.

Thus, Sanders has had the upper hand in the ideological arm twisting, even though Clinton’s supporters have gone out of their way to describe the new language as a compromise that does not depart from the party’s traditional stance. They explained that it was designed to help party unity.

But here are the facts. Ellison, who represents Sanders on the committee, and Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez from Illinois, who represents Clinton, wrote a joint statement calling on party delegates to adopt the new language on Israel during the convention. They published it on left-wing organization J Street’s blog. Gutierrez recently returned from a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority organized by a pro-Palestinian group.

“Israelis today live in fear of acts of terror that can turn peaceful marketplaces and neighborhoods into scenes of violence and horror,” the two warned in their statement. “Palestinians struggle under an unjust occupation that deprives them of the rights, opportunities and independence that they deserve.” The statement made no mention of Palestinian incitement, of the Palestinians’ unwillingness to hold talks without preconditions, of Hamas, or of the real reasons behind the century-old conflict.

The committee has yet to publish its views on Jerusalem, but judging from how things have recently unfolded, keeping the 2012 language on the city is anything but guaranteed.

Some play down the importance of party platforms, and sometimes this dismissive approach has merits, including in Israel. Having said that, Israel and its allies in the Democratic Party cannot afford to be complacent in light of the prevailing trends in the drafting committee.

Anti-Israel Socialists Chosen to Write Official Democratic Party Platform

May 25, 2016

Anti-Israel Socialists Chosen to Write Official Democratic Party Platform, PJ MediaRon Radosh, May 24, 2016


Bernie Sanders’ goal is to transform the Democratic Party, which is already a European style social-democratic party, into a full-fledged vehicle for socialism.

This is why he is still campaigning.

Even though Sanders knows Hillary Clinton will be the nominee, he is not giving up until the end. He is fighting for one reason: so his socialist supporters get to play a major role in formulating the Democratic Party’s platform for the 2016 general campaign and beyond. Now, with the announcement of those appointed by both Sanders and Clinton to the important platform committee of the Democratic Party, we already can see his influence.

Worried about keeping the support of Bernie’s people after her nomination is wrapped up, Clinton is being forced to tilt further to the left than she would like, making it much harder for her to shift back to the center in the general election campaign. A move to the center is necessary if she is to win the support of centrists, moderates, and independents. However, Bernie’s pressure has successfully gotten her to cave to his demands for a left-wing platform.

Let’s examine some of the five people Bernie Sanders has gotten appointed to the platform committee. What stands out?

First, their well-known animosity to Israel and support of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — and also, yes, of Hamas in Gaza.

Cornel West

The most prominent name among the five is the professor and radical black activist Cornel West. West has toured with Sanders and opened up rallies for him. West is a leading BDS activist.

He has said that the Gaza Strip is “the ‘hood on steroids.” In 2014, he wrote that the crimes of Hamas “pale in the face of the U.S. supported Israeli slaughters of innocent civilians.”

Like Sanders, West has long considered himself a democratic socialist, and has in the past worked with Dissent magazine and the late Michael Harrington’s Democratic Socialists of America.

James Zogby

The next prominent person appointed by Sanders to the committee is James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute. As co-chair of the Democratic resolution committee, Zogby now has a direct hand in drafting the actual party platform.

In 1996, Zogby’s group sponsored a rally at which protesters held signs saying:

[Israeli Prime Minister Shimon] Peres and Hitler are the Same — The Only Difference is the Name.

In 2011, Zogby said the Palestinians are suffering their own “Holocaust.” Like West, Zogby supports the BDS movement, which he calls “a legitimate and moral response to Israeli policy” and to Israel’s “bullying tactics.”

Zogby told the Washington Post that his aim is to draft a platform that meets the needs of both Palestinians and Israelis, but from his own work it is most clear he is an enemy of the current Israeli government. He is also a fierce critic of the mainstream view about which group in the Middle East is responsible for the failure of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis over the past few decades.

Keith Ellison

Sanders also picked Rep. Keith Ellison. The only Muslim in Congress, Ellison is a major critic of Israel and will undoubtedly stand with Zogby and West. All three will work — probably successfully — to implement a strong anti-Israel stance in the official Democratic Party platform.

How will Clinton — who has recently attempted to portray herself as opposed to BDS and as a strong supporter of Israel — choose to deal with this?

Will she make a tactical judgment about votes rather than a moral judgment?

On domestic policy, all of the platform committee members will favor leftist economic and political measures. Perhaps the only disagreement will be over backing Hillary’s more modest health care proposals vs. Sanders’ demand for fully state-run socialized medicine.

Clinton’s choices for the platform committee also reflect how she has been pulled towards socialist positions to satisfy Sanders’ supporters.

Wendy Sherman, a former deputy secretary of State, was a lead negotiator in the Iran nuclear talks; recall the Obama administration maneuvered to prevent Congress from voting on the agreement.

Neera Tanden is president of the Center for American Progress — a pro-Clinton think tank that has sought to create dialogue between Israel and the American “progressive” community.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, current head of the Democratic National Committee, was allowed to select four members of the 15-member platform committee. Note that Sanders attacked her for supporting Clinton throughout the primary process, which is perhaps why her selections are also quite revealing.

Wasserman Schultz appointed Maryland’s Rep. Elijah Cummings as the committee’s chairman.

Cummings fiercely defended Obama’s Iran deal, often getting into arguments with Republicans while it was discussed in congressional committees on which he sits.

Cummings does happen to represent a district with a large Jewish population. So he “supports” Israel to the extent one can do so while favoring the Iran deal, and he is involved in a program that sends African American high school students from Baltimore to Israel.

Rep. Howard Berman of California is a legitimate pro-Israel legislator. He supported sanctions against Iran in 2010 when he was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

To balance these two (plus one other pro-Israel member), Wasserman Schultz also appointed the far-left Rep. Barbara Lee of California. Lee stands out as perhaps the only elected representative further to the left than Bernie Sanders.

Lee once was a chief aide to a leftist congressman from Oakland, Ca., Ron Dellums. Lee joined 59 other House members in signing a letter following the 2009 Gaza war that urged the Obama administration to pressure Israel to allow more aid to Gaza. She spoke — along with Ellison —against a resolution condemning the 2009 UN report on the Gaza war. That resolution was supported by the Israeli government and the mainstream of the American pro-Israel community.

Lee, along with Cummings, Ellison, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez — a Clinton appointee to the Committee — have all been endorsed by the political affiliate of the left-wing J Street. That group, as we fully know, has been leading the opposition to sanctions against Iran and has lobbied strenuously amongst the American Jewish community to gain support for the Iran deal.

In April of 2009, journalist Mark Hemingway wrote an article about her appropriately titled “Comrade Barbara.” He revealed Lee to be a supporter of Fidel Castro:

[Lee is] still in the thrall of just about every discredited personality and idea the Left has produced in the last 50 years, and utterly convinced of her own righteousness.

Lee was a good friend of the late thug and leader of the Black Panther Party, Huey Newton, who escaped to Cuba for three years to dodge trial on various charges. Of Newton, who murdered opponents and made a living dealing drugs in the ghetto in Oakland, Lee wrote in her biography that “despite his roughness, my mother really liked him.”

Instead of acknowledging that the Panthers had become a full-fledged criminal organization, Lee argued that anything “bad” the Panthers did was the fault of the FBI, which actually carried out the measures which they blamed on the Panthers.

Perhaps the most egregious action Lee took came during Ronald Reagan’s presidency over the island of Grenada. Until the military intervention carried out by Reagan, Grenada was in the hands of a tyrannical Marxist-Leninist regime. It was negotiating for a new extension of an airfield so that the island could be used by Soviet jets in order for the USSR to get a military presence in the Caribbean.

After the collapse of the communist regime, the “Grenada papers” were published. They included correspondence between Lee and the island’s rulers in which she advised them on how to issue reports on the airfield to make it appear that it was not being built for military use.

In one letter, Lee wrote of Rep. Dellums:

[Dellums is] really hooked on you and Grenada and doesn’t want anything to happen to building the Revo[lution] and making it strong.

Hemingway concludes his article with this:

Perhaps the reason Lee has made dozens of trips to Cuba is that outside of her Berkeley congressional district, the oppressive Communist dictatorship is the closest place to home where she can be said to speak for anybody.

Perhaps Wasserman Schultz believes that Lee’s appointment will soften Bernie Sanders’ disdain for her. However, she has given Sanders yet one more ally who will undoubtedly support all of his far-left, socialist suggestions for the forthcoming platform.

Hillary Clinton’s negatives are now slightly below those of Donald Trump. The forthcoming far-left platform might satisfy Bernie Sanders’ deluded young followers, but will assure a further loss of support for the Democrats from centrists and independents.