Posted by Politico on September 05, 2012 in News Clips
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The president of a top Arab American group is lashing out at the 11th hour political maneuvering that restored language about Israel capital to the Democratic convention platform — calling the move "insulting to my community."
Dr. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a DNC delegate and a member of the convention's platform committee, blasted the re-insertion of language affirming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel in an interview with POLITICO.
"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," Zogby's group AAI wrote in a statement.
"I think it was embarrassing," Zogby said. "What bothers me is the way it was done."
Democrats had initially dropped some language dating to 2008 about Jerusalem in their 2012 platform — but restored it on a quick voice vote Wednesday.
While two-thirds of the delegates were required to vote in the affirmative, there was significant opposition on the floor to the resolution — which also restored the word God to the platform. The DNC held the voice vote three times, before declaring it passed without a roll call. That news was met with boos from delegates across the convention hall.
Zogby said about his Arab American constituency: "They're upset. They're upset with me. They're upset with us. They're upset with the president."
Zogby said that Democrats can't continue to take the Arab vote for granted — with big voting populations in states like New Jersey, Michigan and Minnesota.
"I know you're nervous about the Jewish vote," he said about Democrats. But "you've got to be nervous about the Arab American vote."
"It didn't look good for the president, it didn't look good for the party, and it didn't look good for the country," Zogby said.