J Street U, the student-led campus organizing arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace group J Street, announced today that 18 College Democrat chapters and over 70 College Democrat and Young Democrat leaders across the country have formally endorsed the organization’s call for important changes to the 2020 Democratic party platform. These changes include adding formal support for Palestinian rights in addition to Israeli security, and formal opposition to Israeli settlement expansion, ongoing occupation and proposed unilateral annexation.
The proposed platform language has been formally voted on and endorsed by the College Democrat federations for the state of Florida and the District of Columbia and College Democrat chapters at campuses across the country including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, the University of Indiana, the University of Michigan, Princeton, the University of Washington and others. Student organizers also helped secure formal endorsement from the Democratic parties of Kings County, Washington and Yoho County, California.
“From coast to coast, young Democrats who represent the future of their party are speaking out to make clear that the time has come for the DNC to make sure their platform supports Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli security,” said Matan Arad-Neeman, President of the J Street U board. “It’s vital that the party make clear that it stands against occupation and annexation — which could move forward in just a few weeks.”
“Opposing annexation and supporting a two-state solution are vital if we are to preserve a US-Israel relationship underpinned by shared democratic values. Recognition of Palestinian human rights alongside Israeli security is a long overdue update,” Ethan Smith, National Vice President of College Democrats of America said. “We need to make sure our platform represents our values.”
The goals of J Street’s campaign to revise the party platform’s language have also garnered strong support from prominent US foreign policy professionals and Jewish communal leaders.
In May, 32 foreign policy professionals signed a letter calling for these changes, noting that while past party platforms “have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally,” they have “also been nearly silent on the rights of Palestinians, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.” The letter’s signers included former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, former Deputy National Security Advisors Avril Haines and Ben Rhodes, and former US Ambassadors to Israel Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer.
In March, over 250 Jewish clergy and other communal leaders, including three past presidents of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, signed on to a similar letter.
It's time for the Democratic Party's Platform to reflect the values of Democratic voters. That means supporting the freedom and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. It means taking a stand against the occupation.