, Philadelphia -- As the Democratic National Convention begins , a diverse coalition of community and human rights groups from across the country will also be gathering in Philadelphia to highlight the growing gap between the views of party leaders like presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic voters when it comes to Israel and Palestine.
This growing dissonance between the staunch support for Israel and its extreme right-wing government voiced by Clinton and others in the party leadership, and the growing support for Palestinian rights and freedom among core Democratic constituencies, including progressives, young people, and people of color, has been revealed as never before during this primary season. In particular, Bernie Sanders' calls for a more even-handed approach to Israel and Palestine gave voice to many millions of Americans, who polls consistently show are far less enthusiastic about the massive and virtually unconditional military and diplomatic support the US gives to Israel than Democratic and Republican leaders are.
Although polls and other developments show growing support for the cause of Palestinian freedom among Democratic voters and the American public at large, including increasing support for the grassroots boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, Clinton and other party leaders remain outspoken in their support for Israel, even as that country shifts further and further to the right politically and descends into extremism and racism.
“This election cycle has shown that a growing constituency of Americans see support for Palestinian human rights as a progressive social justice issue which U.S. political leadership has failed to address," said Alana Krivo-Kaufman of Jewish Voice for Peace. "The right of Palestinians to live in freedom with dignity and equality is one of many racial and economic justice issues that will be highlighted in Philadelphia.”
“The American Service Friends Committee and our partners call on leaders from both parties to reconsider the US’ failed engagement with Israel/Palestine, and to listen to the growing number of Americans who want to see a new era with an emphasis on justice and human rights,” said Raed Jarrar, Acting Director, Office of Public Policy and Advocacy, American Friends Service Committee.
“For several years we have watched a widening of a gap in the Democratic party over US policy toward Israel," said Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. "This has been in part because of tension between a very right-wing Netanyahu government and the Obama Administration but also, and perhaps more importantly, about a clash of values. For the progressive base of the Democratic Party, equality, inclusion and social justice increasingly matter but when they look at Israel and see a state ruling over the lives of millions of people through a brutal military occupation with no right to vote for the government that rules them they see a very different set of values and priorities than their own. Moving forward, this trend will only continue and while party elites will be reluctant to break traditional bonds, that reluctance will come at the expense of support from their base and the future of their party.”
Notable events taking place in Philadelphia next week include: