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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Original post)

Thu Jul 14, 2016, 09:27 PM

1. How the Republican and Democratic Platforms Differ on Israel


The Republican platform’s language relating to Israel was adopted by the party’s platform committee on July 12. In past elections, the official Republican and Democratic positions on Israel and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were largely identical, signaling the remarkable success of pro-Israel organizations and brass from both parties in ensuring that one of the most emotional topics in international affairs wouldn’t become a partisan issue in the U.S. But that bipartisan consensus is fraying, at least as far as the parties’ official positions go.

The Republican platform language—touted by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and others as the most pro-Israel “of all time”—clearly diverges from its Democratic counterpart. The Democratic platform registered the party’s opposition the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; the Republican platform decries it as one of several “alternative forms of warfare” being waged against the Jewish state. The Republican platform “reject[s] the false notion that Israel is an occupier;” no similar statement appears in the Democratic platform, and the party considered naming Israel as an occupying power in their own platform. The Republicans will seek to “thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories,” a dig at efforts to sanction or limit trade related to Israeli enterprises in the West Bank or Golan Heights, like the EU’s special labeling of settlement products earlier this year. The Democratic platform opposes BDS, but makes no mention of efforts only targeting lands outside of Israel’s internationally recognized territory.

Unlike the Democratic platform, the Republican platform actively opposes “measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms,” and “call[s] for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so”—a provision likely referring to the possibility of the UN Security Council passing a resolution outlining a final status outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that the Obama administration has reportedly considered backing over the years. The Democratic platform includes no such language. Most notably, the Republican platform contains no reference to the establishment of a Palestinian state, although it affirms that the U.S. “seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region.” The Democrats, meanwhile, urge that “Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.”


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