In the United States, party platforms and political conventions have come to play complementary roles.
Platforms, largely unread by the voters, lay out the consensus substance of the parties’ respective preferences, principles, and priorities. Conventions, on the other hand, are public spectacles intended to drum up support by drawing attention to everything besides the substance. So it’s fascinating to watch the Democrats’ 2020 convention as they offer up two fundamentally contradictory narratives about where they stand on an entire host of issues.
Nowhere is this more evident than their approach to Israel, a matter of political obsession for key constituencies in both parties. Proudly progressive voices have complained that the platform was insufficiently anti-Israel for today’s Democrats.
Purportedly moderate Democrats pointed to that progressive opposition to insist that the platform was pro-Israel. The Convention, too, promotes clearly anti-Israel speakers, along with allegedly pro-Israel Democratic groups; groups created just in time for this campaign.
This intra-party debate is a head fake.
Former U.S. senator and vice-president — now presumtive Democratic Party nominee —Joe Biden handed the substance of his Mideast policy to the Democrats’ worst anti-Israel elements while allowing so-called moderates to soften and spin the language.
Israel’s enemies get it.
The pro-regime National Iranian American Council (NIAC) "applauded" it unreservedly for its approach to the Mideast.
James Zogby of the Arab American institute declared it a "victory" for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), lauding Biden’s team for expressing antisemitic policy.
To appreciate how and why this platform is so noxious, it’s important to recall where the Obama-Biden administration left matters.
In December of 2016, when Barack Obama was a lame duck beyond the reach of voters and donors.
Obama orchestrated the passage of the infamous UNSC 2334.
This U.N. Security Council resolution was precisely the sort of antisemitic defamation that every previous administration — Republican and Democrat — had always vetoed.
Obama’s team — with Biden reportedly directly and personally strong-arming other nations to go along — made it a reality, to the standing ovation of a Jew-hating world.
Among many scandalous statements, UNSC 2334 affirms "that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem . . . constitutes a flagrant violation under international law," and demands "that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."
The last Democratic administration thus helped establish that all land across the Green Line — Jewish heartland known for thousands of years as Judea, including much of Jerusalem and Judaism’s holiest sites — are actually illegally occupied Arab territories.
Going even further, 2334 declared Jewish life in those territories is not only wrong but a "flagrant violation of international law": in other words — criminal.
President Trump, who entered office less than a month later, refused to recognize the validity of UNSC 2334. But while he could ignore it, he could not undo it.
Any subsequent Administration can choose to honor it.
The DNC’s 2020 Platform doesn’t mention UNSC 2334. Do the Biden-led 2020 Democrats agree that 2334 is a valid expression of international law that should guide American policy?
Or, do they agree with the Trump administration that 2334 is an antisemitic abomination that the U.S. must ignore? To ask such questions is to answer them.
Given UNSC 2334 as context, much of the platform’s curious language becomes clear —particularly its approach to BDS. The Democrats promise to "oppose any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, while protecting the Constitutional right of our citizens to free speech."
What might differentiate "fair" and "unfair" implementations of BDS? UNSC 2334 explicitly "calls upon all States . . . to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Labeling laws or boycotts applied to products and activities across the Green Line — including East Jerusalem — are beyond fair; they’re encouraged.
In fact, the refusal to boycott such flagrantly illegality qualifies as unfair. Obama, Biden, and the Democrats’ new platform have officially normalized the Hamas-led BDS campaign — a massive international blood-libel that, among other incitements, is terrorizing Jews on campuses across America.
Which is one reason the reference to "free speech" is deeply troubling. Democrats have used this disingenuous argument to oppose anti-BDS laws in a number of states.
Democrats approve of a host of existing laws prohibiting employers who discriminate against racial minorities from receiving government contracts. Democrats condemn as hateful even the mildest decisions to withhold services when a customer’s request violates a provider’s deep religious convictions.
Yet somehow, when it comes to Jews, Democrats insist that widespread boycotts do not signify bigotry and tying contracts to non-discrimination infringes Free Speech.
When President Trump issued an Executive Order extending civil rights protections long granted other minorities to protect Jewish students victimized by BDS, the Democrats, outrageously — almost unbelievably — assailed it as "anti-semitic."
The 2020 Democrats are far more concerned with promoting the incitements of bigoted, antisemitic BDS activists than with protecting the rights, safety, and welfare of Jews.
Israel’s enemies know precisely what’s happening: On a call with the vehemently antisemitic group Code Pink, Zogby gloated about how the Democrats’ platform normalizes BDS while duping the Jewish people: "That’s the same as if in the Republican party’s platform they had a plank that said, 'We are steadfastly opposed to abortion, but every woman has the right to choose.' Basically, the second clause nullifies the first clause."
That’s the truth of the Democrats’ substance as articulated in their platform.
As for the newly created "pro-Israel" front groups now cheering for Biden-Harris at the Convention?
More duplicity; because sometimes that’s exactly what makes conventions useful.
Jeff Ballabon and Bruce Abramson lead B2 Strategic Public Affairs and JBB&A Consulting and are founders of the American Restoration Institute.
Bruce Abramson is the President of Informationism, Inc., Vice President and Director of Policy at the Iron Dome Alliance, and a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. Jeff Ballabon and Bruce Abramson lead B2 Strategic Public Affairs and JBB&A Colsulting, and are founders of the American Restoration Institute. Read Bruce Abramson's and Jeff Ballabon's Reports — More Here.
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