Clinton Appointee Seeks to Change Democratic Party's Platform on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Rep. Luis Gutierrez is reportedly working together with Sanders' appointees to change platform to show more sympathy to Palestinians.

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Representative Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois in 2009.
Representative Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois in 2009.Credit: Bloomberg
Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Insider

This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is moving along to satisfy the liberal wing of the Democratic Party by indicating proposed changes to the Democratic Party’s platform on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be addressed by the drafting committee ahead of the convention in Philadelphia.

According to a report by the Chicago Sun Times, one of Clinton’s appointees to the Democratic Party’s platform committee, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), is brewing with two of Bernie Sanders’ appointees, Cornel West and James Zogby, to show more sympathy to the Palestinian side of the conflict.

In an interview with the Chicago publication, Gutierrez stressed that there could be room in the platform for language that “elaborates more clearly the wishes, the desires, the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their hope for justice and for peace and equality.”

“Absolutely, I think we can do more,” he said.

The report also notes that Gutierrez departed on Thursday for a long-planned trip to cities in the West Bank and Jerusalem, where he will meet with Palestinian Authority officials, Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset and Palestinian students and businessmen. The trip is hosted by the American Global Institute, funded by MIFTAH, a pro-Palestinian organization.

“I am going to go with an open mind, to listen and to discuss the issues. You should not make any pre-judgment about what Luis Gutierrez is going to do on the platform committee,” he said moments before departing.

Sanders, who started in March to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after receiving the endorsement of prominent pro-Palestinian activists, indicated in a statement to the New York Times that he would seek “consensus” on the party’s policy towards Israel. “I have always and will always be 100 percent supportive of Israel’s right to exist and live in peace and security,” the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in a statement. “I also believe that lasting peace in the region will not occur without fair and respectful treatment of the Palestinian people. I believe that most Democrats agree with that position and that a strong consensus will be achieved at the Democratic National Convention.”

Jewish Democratic party leaders conceded that changes are forthcoming, pointing to recent polls that show a shift in liberal voters’ attitude towards Israel. But in private conversations, some are perplexed that Sanders decided to create buzz about an issue that he never campaigned on until recently.

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