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Democratic Clash Over Palestine Signals Changing Party


Democratic Clash Over Palestine Signals Changing Party

Rania Khalek

Allies of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred at the Democratic platform drafting committee’s first round of hearings on 9 June over the issue of Palestinian freedom and Israel.

The clashes point to deeper struggles over Israel taking place within the party.

Sanders’ backers called for elevating Palestinian rights and acknowledging Israel’s military occupation in the party’s general election platform.


With Florida being a swing state there shouldn’t be any doubt about what the outcome of this controversy between the Sanders and Clinton people will be.


Protest you can believe in:


I appreciate your passion, and agree with your stand, but I was hoping for more direct reporting and less dismissal of “the establishment.” We need to know how to break their resistance to reason and compassion.


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Hillary’s people telegraphed their position on this with the opinion piece Anthony Weiner published just prior to Bernie’s Thursday evening confab with Hillary. The question is, how firm will Bernie’s people stand? In the end, how different will whatever agreements arrived at differ from the agenda laid out by Weiner? It will go a long way in indicating whether or not Bernie has capitulated, and to what degree.
Weiner states:
“Bernie Has to Dial Back his Anti-Israel Platform Fight. Republicans have made inroads with Jewish voters in recent years at the same time as some on the American left have become stridently opposed to Israel. Although his base — and some of his loudest supporters — might hold these views, I don’t believe Sanders does.
During my days as Sanders’ colleague in Congress, I recall him being a solid “yes” vote on the many votes that reinforced our strong relationship with the Jewish state.
But his representatives to the convention’s platform committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, signal that he wants to challenge the Democratic Party’s long and deep commitment to our sole true ally in the Middle East.
He should drop this effort, and Hillary should not give an inch. This year the Republicans have a nominee who has declared that the United States should be neutral in the region, a wrongheaded and dangerous posture that further reveals Trump to be ignorant and dangerous.”


Those requests from Sanders allies were roundly rejected by Clinton supporters, who recycled platitudes about Israel’s security, apparently disputed the existence of Israeli military occupation and attacked the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

One more reason I’ll be voting for Jill Stein.


Kudos to West for challenging the DNC’s support for Apartheid. Another reason to vote for Jill Stein!!!


Khalek certainly won’t we welcomed to hang out in the AIPAC hospitality suite at the Philadelphia convention.


Talk about the height of irony, Washington is forever proselytizing about human rights and human rights abuses while secretly and not so secretly promoting and condoning horrible abuses around the globe. Politicians love to carry on about how noble this country is, how we support the oppressed, yada, yada, yada. Washington politicians can have an undeniable truth staring them in the face and deny it because they are so enmeshed in lies and half truths they wouldn’t know nor would they care what truth is. Killing innocents in such and such a place is OK here but not there. They view themselves as the moral authority. Talk about frightening.


What this reflects isn’t a ‘changing party’, but a storming of the gates by Sanders.

There are changes in the base of the party, but the majority of Democrats, brain-dead after years of U.S. media’s unwavering support for anything Israel does, are knee-jerk Israel apologists. Party leaders and elected officials, after sucking at the teat of AIPAC for decades, are loathe to do more than strongly support a status quo where Israel continually occupies more Palestinian territory and periodically ‘mows the grass’ - the term used in Israel for the mass slaughter of Palestinians (Operations ‘Cast Lead’ and ‘Protective Edge’ were recent examples of this).

So even as progressives and younger voters increasingly oppose Israel’s land theft, occupation, war crimes and human rights abuses, the Democratic party remains invested in pretending Israel is a democracy acting only in self-defense.

Clinton’s speech at AIPAC exemplifies this. She wants to take our relationship with Israel "to the next level’, which essentially means letting Netanyahu dictate U.S. foreign policy. It’s the wet dream of every neocon, and Clinton’s support of it is why they support her.

Syria first, then Iran. Reheating the cold war. That’s where the Democratic party is going. They’re going to close ranks and rally around Clinton.

The sanity and compassion shown by Sanders appointees will be ignored as the party doubles down on militarism and empire.

Anyone who votes for Clinton is voting for this.

And the party’s position makes support of BDS even more essential. If you don’t support peaceful solutions to conflict you’re making violent ones inevitable.

BDS: People powered economic diplomacy.


I pray you are wrong.


It is nice to see that any dialog at all is happening within the party after the theft of the nomination. However, these positions involve differences in deep assumptions that move populations and centuries.

Clinton and camp do not favor Israel due to any attraction to Judaism or to democracy. Were that the case, Clinton would not have subverted the electoral process, and she would go to Temple, and people could be Jewish quite peacefully, as is done otherwise.

The conflict is about something else.

Clinton apparently assumes something like what was written by Thomas Hobbes ages ago in The Leviathan. She assumes that people are intrinsically evil or venal or of one character or another, that this is little changed or at least not conveniently changed by nurture, and so the actions of social harmony depend on violent coercion and top-down control. Because she and her cohorts (not necessarily her voters) assume something very broadly like this, their response to the obvious upcoming family of crises–peak oil, climate, ambient poisons, mass extinctions, mutually assured destruction, and the implosion of the current dominant religions of capital into various sorts of Ponzi fireworks–is very different than what many of us would call humane and reasonable.

You see, assuming intrinsic human misbehavior, it would do no good to technologically and philosophically and ecologically resolve a path without access to violent and draconian means of control to force people to carry this out–and to carry out the actions to maintain that control.

This is quite likely what Clinton means by phrases like “a progressive who gets things done.” There’s nothing terribly novel in any of this. These things were also believed by Marx and Hitler and Teddy Roosevelt and Dick Nixon and Barack Obama and so on–and their differences may have been important, but so were the similarities. These people imagine that despotism must be undertaken for practical and ultimately humane reasons, and that their personal sadisms and greed are universal or reasonable or valid or whatever.

All of that has been a recipe for perfidy and tragedy over millennia, and now it becomes a recipe for catastrophe on an unprecedented scale. The alternative theory, again very roughly, is that people may learn to act better if needs are supplied, so that the mechanisms of human life and civilization need to be designed and arranged in accordance with the need to take care of people, take care of the Earth that supports us, and to return surplus back into these natural systems so that we may continue to have that support.

Neither this nor its articulation is original with me, of course, but both sides and both bodies of assumption remain largely inarticulate within debates between and within political parties. The people involved in such things mostly imagine that philosophies and underlying assumptions are either useless or beyond the reach of discussion, and so they leave no little room for practical understandings among people of different camps. The Democratic party is now run by warmongering nut-jobs who imagine that they must monopolize oil and dictate to the world. There shall be little compromise with people who feel that childcare, education, and environment are important because they imagine that centralized dictatorship comes first because it is necessary to address any such problem.

There was a time when I imagined that the above meant that such people had to be removed from power by violent force. The trouble is, however, that violent force and much other force teaches people that Hobbesian assumptions are correct. One fights terrorists and gets more terrorists: more Clintons, more Bushes, even the occasional and extremely odd Donald Trump.

No, they need to be argued and voted against, disobeyed, and unpaid–but allowed to be, just not to be rich or otherwise influential.


Some truth to your post. However, since you’ve posted as Nicholas and as Erroll and under THOSE screen names come off as a bona fide card-carrying Holocaust denier, your particular objections to Israel are extreme.

Another thing, and this goes to the article and its author: All that so-called aid to Israel is a turnaround to the Military Industrial Complex’s most ardent weapons suppliers and developers.

If AID were in the form of anything OTHER THAN weaponry, one of the last industries left inside the U.S., then it might be critiqued AS Aid. This is a form of subsidy to the ARMS INDUSTRIES.

That is my singular bone to pick with Ms. Khalek’s otherwise well-written article. And most writers use the same framing.

The point is–it’s critical that what passes for “aid” be seen for what it is.


It’s not a binary situation. It almost never is. Partisan politics in particular have become focused on not being the other party, and on pandering to whoever’s listening at the moment. The Democratic party is simply unprepared to listen to and serve the broad and diverse community of the nation. Zionists comprise an identifiable bloc, so they get the pander for now.

Also, I don’t know about all of your analysis, but Marx himself was no authoritarian. The way Stalin and others applied Marxist principles in an authoritarian culture that was ill-prepared for even the industrial revolution may fit in your framework, but please don’t put the theorist in the bathwater with them. And please don’t contribute to the widespread ignorance of what Marx actually advocated.


There’s always another vector, it seems.


Nearly all US politicians, Congress and media are servants to Israeli extremism and de facto terrorism in Palestine!

AIPAC demands (and gets) obeisance and actual craven cowardice from US politicians that serve a foreign power while betraying their own nation’s sovereignty and interests. Clinton, as most all politicians, performed as expected at the annual AIPAC bootlicking - all except Bernie Sanders!

http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/IsraelLobby.pdf - Walt-Mearsheimer report on subversion of US by the Israeli lobby - AIPAC, et al


George Washington seemed to foresee and speak exactly of our current overt subversion by Israeli influences and the treasonous acts by Americans that apparently hold first loyalty to a foreign power!

“a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.” - George Washington - Farewell Address.


“Signals” of change are far less interesting than change.


The whole meme about “outsiders” threatening the democratic party in its iron fisted support of one of the most radically inhumane regimes in the world, strikes me as very creepy. It is so past time to stand up to the insupportable and violent hypocrisy of this “party”. Thank you Cornell West and James Zogby for raising points that before Bernie (BB) would have never been heard.


I could only suggest that you scan the OP for the word “establishment” and see how she referred to the folks included under that label. Don’t get me wrong; I want to see the 2-and-only parties disestablished. But we need to say more about what’s so wrong with them than a nudge and a wink.