Final Democratic Party Platform Expresses 'Ironclad' Support for Israel

An amendment by the party's left-wing flank offering a more critical approach toward Israel – including conditioning military aid – rejected by a large majority, with 117 voting against it and 34 voting in favor

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington D.C.
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A 2016 file photo of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and then-Vice President Joe Biden in Davos, Switzerland.
A 2016 file photo of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and then-Vice President Joe Biden in Davos, Switzerland.Credit: AP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON – The Democratic Party platform for the 2020 elections was finalized on Monday, expressing strong support for Israel after the party’s left-wing flank failed to include an amendment allowing a more critical approach toward it.

The platform language regarding Israel will continue reflecting center-left views, while opposing unilateral Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements and calling for a two-state solution.

Israel's Locked-down, Let-down Youth Rattles Netanyahu's Cage. LISTEN

The Democrats' policy platform also emphasizes the importance of continued U.S. military aid to Israel and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In addition, the platform expresses a commitment to the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding that the Obama administration signed with Israel, giving it $3.8 billion in annual aid – the most sizeable military assistance that the United States has ever provided.

This represents a victory for Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, and his supporters within the party.

Biden, who served as vice president in the Obama administration, has taken pride in recent months over his involvement in securing that assistance and strongly rejected calls from the party’s left wing, particularly from Senator Bernie Sanders, to limit or condition aid to Israel, calling such limitations “outrageous.”

On Tuesday, as the party held a virtual vote on the platform’s final wording, Sanders' supporters in this year’s Democratic primary offered an amendment shifting party policy toward Sanders’ approach.

The amendment included conditioning military aid to Israel, as well as stronger language on the need to end the occupation in the West Bank and Israel's military rule over the Palestinians. The amendment was rejected by a large majority, with 117 voting against it and 34 voting in favor.

The language that was eventually approved is still critical of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and the intention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to through with unilateral annexation of those settlements.

The platform also includes a pledge to renew U.S. civilian aid to the Palestinians, which had been completely cut off by President Trump and resume diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority.

Dan Shapiro, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel under the Obama administration, warned that while Democrats are quarreling over platform language, the Trump administration is taking destructive steps that would eliminate any chance for the two-state solution while completely ignoring the Palestinians' needs.

Wendy Sherman, a former senior State Department official in the Obama and Clinton administrations, said that conditioning aid to Israel would not help resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The final platform states that Democrats believe in a “strong, secure and democratic Israel” as “vital” to the interests of the United States. It also expresses an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and specifically to the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding.

While the platform represents a more moderate and traditional approach toward Israel than that pushed by the more progressive wing of the party, it also reflects some major policy differences to the Trump administration’s approach to the conflict.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott