Statement on Democratic Party Platform’s Draft Language on Israel/Palestine

July 16, 2020

As the Democratic Party moves forward with the process of drafting and debating its 2020 Platform, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement:

“Heading into the most important election in our lifetimes, it’s important for the Democratic party to unite behind a popular common vision of principled, diplomacy-first foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond. That vision can and should include an explicit commitment to Palestinian rights alongside support for Israel’s security as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people, as well as explicit opposition to settlement expansion, unilateral annexation and the systemic injustice of ongoing occupation.

J Street is very pleased to see that the apparent first draft of the party’s platform looks set to include significant improvements on the 2016 platform — including the first ever articulation, in the platform of a major American political party, of support for Palestinian rights alongside affirmation of support for Israel’s security, and opposition to settlement expansion and unilateral annexation. At the same time, we’re very concerned that the draft apparently makes no reference to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory.

Until the Trump administration, it has been bipartisan US government policy to recognize (and oppose) the occupation since it began in 1967. It should not be at all controversial for the Democratic party to recognize it in 2020. Acknowledging and opposing the daily indignities and injustices that Palestinians face under occupation is an indispensable step on the path to promoting and achieving a viable, lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that can satisfy the fundamental needs and aspirations of both peoples. This omission would be particularly unfortunate in the midst of our current societal moment, as the party seeks to make absolutely clear its commitment to the fundamental human rights of marginalized peoples in this country and around the world.

We will continue to advocate for a final platform that includes all of these important points, which could successfully rally the overwhelming majority of Democrats — including American Jews — behind it.”

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