Sanders Seeks 'Compassion' for Palestinians in Changes to Democrats' Policy

Member of the Democrats' platform drafting committee says desired changes are about more than the two-state solution while Sanders surrogate says she plans to 'act out' if she's excluded from process at convention.

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Democratic presidential candidate, Sen.Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to a large crowd during a campaign rally stop on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in Chico, Calif.
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen.Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to a large crowd during a campaign rally stop on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in Chico, Calif.Credit: Bill Husa, AP
Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Insider

This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.

The changes Bernie Sanders is pushing for to the Democratic Party’s platform on Israel are not just about the two-state solution but “compassion” for the Palestinian cause, James Zogby, a member of the platform drafting committee, said on Thursday.

“This is the first presidential candidate since [Jesse] Jackson in 1988 that has made a point of advocating justice for Palestine and not just a two-state solution that everyone talks about. He talked about compassion,” Zogby said during a campaign rally organized by Arab Americans for Bernie Sanders in New Jersey on Thursday, according to Politicker NJ. “We now have a chance to support a presidential candidate who not only advocates for our issues but has gone out on a limb. We have the power to be a decisive power for him.”

Pro-Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, a surrogate for the Sanders campaign and one of his 23 New York’s at-large delegates for the convention, told Politico that she plans to “act out” if she feels excluded from the process. “I’m not expecting violence or assaults, but chanting, doing mass walk-outs,” Sarsour said of plans to disrupt the convention from the floor. “It depends on what happens there. What you’re going to watch unfold is democracy. The onus is on the party to make sure our voices are heard.”

Sanders’ pro-Palestinian supporters expect a discussion on the Israel-Palestine conflict in which, Sarsour said, America “has not been an honest broker in the conflict.”

In 2012, a last-minute effort to include the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – after heavy criticism for initially omitting it from the platform – was met with loud opposition on the Democratic National Convention floor.

Jewish Democrats and appointees by the Hillary Clinton campaign are hoping to bridge the differences within the drafting committee in the hope of consensus on the wording, one that will reflect Clinton’s longstanding support for Israel and the two-state solution.

“The Democratic Party has always, in the platform, reflected longstanding, strong support for Israel. I don’t expect that to change,” Wendy Sherman, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and a foreign policy advisor to Clinton, told Jewish Insider last week. “I believe that everybody is in strong support for Israel’s security and I think that Secretary Clinton views about the importance of Israel’s security and the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel is something that is held by all Democrats.”

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