Posted by on September 05, 2012 in Blog

In a voice vote today at the Democratic National Committee, an amendment to the party platform was pushed through – despite heavy opposition – to include language stating that "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."

The language, which was also present in the 2008 platform, had previously been modified to state that President Obama and the Democratic Party “maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” and, “It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians... A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state.”

The 2012 language was clearly an attempt to bring rhetoric in line with reality – the generally acknowledged fact accepted by all sides of the conflict that the final status of Jerusalem is an issue that needs to be determined in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.

Today’s amendment to re-insert the language on Jerusalem was a clear case of putting pandering above responsible politics. Not only is this change a knee-jerk reaction to baseless accusations from the far-right that the Democratic Party has “thrown Israel under the bus,” it also flies in the face of decades of policy and the positions of President Obama, international peacemakers, and the American public at-large. Worse still, the vote was clearly forced through the delegation, despite considerable opposition on the floor.

AAI is disappointed by the inclusion of the amendment, but is also proud of the many delegates – including a record breaking 55 Arab Americans represented this year at the convention – for voting against the amendment, supporting the president and fighting for progress in achieving a lasting peace for Israel and Palestine. AAI President Jim Zogby stated, “Having been through these battles many times, I am disappointed in the irregularities of the procedure. This effort hurts the president and it hurts chances for a lasting peace. I am, however, proud that so many delegates delivered a resounding no.”