Building on recent hawkish statements on Israel by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, conservative activists are pushing for a GOP platform at the party's national convention in Cleveland later this month that would take a stance on the issue farther to the right, CNN reports.
The activists, spearheaded by a new group called the Iron Dome Alliance, say the opportunity for political gain from the move is heightened by the parallel attempts by progressives in the Democratic Party to change their platform to one more sympathetic to the Palestinians.
It would also accentuate Republican support for Israel compared to an Obama administration that is often perceived as being at odds with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and which championed the Iran nuclear deal over strident Israeli objections.
The GOP group’s move comes after Trump’s adviser on Israel David Friedman told Haaretz
that if Trump is elected he would support Israel’s annexing part of the West Bank, something that has been objected to by every previous Democratic and Republican US administration.
Friedman also indicated that Trump was unlikely to adopt the policies of recent American administrations that a Palestinian state is a U.S. security interest and instead would support such an entity only if Israel agreed to it.
Trump also recently harshly rebuked an audience member’s criticism of military aid to the Jewish state, stating that "Israel is a very, very important ally of the United States and we are going to protect them 100%."
Some Republicans have objected to the efforts to change the platform. They told CNN that the convention is not the time for innovative policy making and that it would be unwise to do away with the two-state solution that has been at the heart of all American administrations.
Supporters of the Iron Dome Alliance, however, say that the changes they want in the platform reflect the thinking of the GOP base that the U.S. should not determine for Israel what a final status agreement should look like and reject the views of party elites, whose ideas they say have proven to be wrong.
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