Tags: dershowitz | democrats | israel | platform

Dershowitz: Democrats Turned Israel into ‘Wedge Issue’

Wednesday, 05 Sep 2012 05:45 PM

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz charged the Democratic Party with creating a “wedge issue” by its controversial decision to break with a bipartisan tradition of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the party’s official platform.

“For the first time in my memory, the platforms of the two parties differ on Israel and Israel has always been a bipartisan issue,” the famed attorney told Fox News on Wednesday just hours before Democrats sought to put an end to the debacle by voting to put "God" and "Jerusalem" back in the platform.

“From 1948 till the present moment, there has never been any difference really between the Democratic and Republican positions on Israel," Dershowitz said earlier on Wednesday. "And now the new Democratic platform has eliminated references to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, has eliminated references to the refugees being settled in Palestine if Palestine were to become a state, has eliminated references to Hamas being a terrorist organization that should not be dealt with, and eliminated references to the fact that the ’67 or ’49 armistice borders should not be the ultimate borders.”

Dershowitz, a Newsmax contributor, said that the decision had put “political distance” between Democrats and Republicans.

“That’s too bad,” he explained. “This is not only a Jewish issue, the vast majority of Americans — Christian, Jewish and otherwise — support Israel and want America to support the only democracy in the Middle East, a democracy that helps the United States in its battle against terrorism, a democracy that has used its resources to enhance the American military, the American intelligence.”

Dershowitz stressed that the platform did not contain objectionable content regarding Israel. “It’s not what the platform says, it’s what the platform fails to say, and what it said in the past,” he told Fox. “Also I would like to see the president use his speech as an occasion for telling Iran in no uncertain terms that there are red lines and that it will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and so why incur the sanctions?”

Barring such an effort by President Obama, Dershowitz said that Democrats would have stood apart from Republicans. “Israel should never become a wedge issue that separates Republicans from Democrats and I fear that this omission from the platform contributes to making it a wedge,” he said, calling the earlier decision “foolishness.”

He surmised it was the result of “infighting within the Obama administration” over U.S. policy toward Israel.

“President Obama has, for himself, been on the right side of all these issues, but right now there is a big battle within the administration as to whether the president should draw very firm lines — red lines — with Iran,” he said. “There are some who are saying ‘no’ and some who are saying ‘yes.’ There are some within the Obama administration who are saying that American support for Israel should be weakened and loosened.

"The president doesn’t support that, but I suspect that some people who have a hand in drafting the platform may be on the side within the administration who are trying to soften America’s support for Israel and that is why the president has to be as clear as can be when he speaks that American support for Israel is bipartisan," Dershowitz said in his earlier remarks. "It’s unwavering, that the United States will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, it will support Israel’s war against terrorism, and that it will seek peace that guarantees Israel’s security, in a neighborhood in which Israel’s security is always at risk.”

Dershowitz also claimed that Democratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “must have misunderstood” comments by Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren regarding Republicans being dangerous. Wasserman Schultz subsequently denied making the comments, according to Fox.

“I know the prime minister of Israel very well, he is a close personal friend,” Dershowitz added. “We’ve discussed these issues many times in his home and in his office and he has never expressed a preference for one party over the other. Michael Oren has been a close personal friend for many, many years, he’s been in my home, we have discussed this. He has never expressed a personal interest as ambassador for the Republicans or the Democrats, so clearly Debbie – who is also a good friend of mine – must have misunderstood what was said by Michael Oren because Michael Oren is telling the truth when he says he would never, ever say that the Republicans are better than the Democrats or the Democrats are better than the Republicans for Israel.”


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