Tuesday, June 04, 2019

By Daled Amos

The far left radicals have gone beyond harassing and intimidating Jews on college campuses.
Now, they have taken the next step - camps, schools and even the Democratic Party.

Last year, Jonathan Tobin wrote about The battle for Camp Ramah, a battle that started
after several of its counselors took part in a seminar organized by the anti-Zionist IfNotNow group. IfNotNow’s purpose was to leverage the willingness of some of the young people involved to educate campers about the evils of Israel’s “occupation” of lands into a game-changing shift that would potentially transform one of America’s most cherished Zionist education venues into a hotbed of anti-Israel agitation.
Just last month, a high school district Illinois withdrew a course for educators, “Teaching Palestine” due to opposition from teachers and community members. Developed by Teachers for Social Justice,
Goals also included discussing “concrete strategies for how to respond to Zionist professional developments and curricula or when parents/staff/others object to anti-Zionist curriculum,” developing grade appropriate scope and sequence for teaching Palestine” and making “curriculum connections between Palestine and issues affecting our students, such as: state/police violence, the struggle for racial justice in the U.S., settler colonialism in Palestine and the U.S., access to education for historically marginalized youth.”
And now, Jewish Voice for Peace has tried to hijack the California Democratic Convention over the weekend, attempting to have 6 one-sided anti-Israel resolutions inserted into the agenda.

Fox News originally broke the story when it reported California Dems propose resolution linking Israeli government to massacre at Pittsburgh synagogue:
A draft resolution set to be debated this weekend at the California Democratic Party State Convention, obtained by Fox News, accuses the Israeli government of willfully "aligning with the virulent Islamophobia" of white supremacist groups in the U.S. -- and links Israel indirectly to the Oct. 2018 massacre of 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

...The document was one of a slew of secretive, unpublished proposals obtained by Fox News that are slated for debate beginning Friday morning. A total of 14 Democrat presidential contenders are set to descend on the San Francisco gathering at the Moscone Convention Center, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders.
Here is a quick look at the topics of the 6 resolutions, based on a flyer distributed by Progressive Zionists of California, which opposed them:



The 6 resolutions break down as follows. The full text of the original resolutions follows at the end of this post.
1. Stop Trump from Destroying all Possibility for Peace in the Middle East
2. Affirming CDP's Commitment to Human Dignity and Basic Human Rights in the Israeli-Occupied Territories and Ending the Gaza Blockade
3. Officials Should Learn about All Sides when they Travel to Israel-Palestine
4. All Members of the US House of Representatives from California Should Join Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's Congressional Delegation to Palestine
5. Affirming CDP's Commitment to Supporting Human Rights, Equality and Justice in Israel/Palestine; and
6. Commending the House for Resolving to Fight all Racism and Bigotry and for resisting the False Conflation of Support for Palestinian Rights with Antisemitism
The 1st resolution includes:
o blaming "the extremist, right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which has relentlessly undermined any chance of agreement"
o accusing Trump of hindering any chance of returning to peace talks by "moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, closing the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as their future capital; halting funding of the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides healthcare, nutrition and education for Palestinians..."
o proposing the Democratic Party confront Trump's policies and annul them
The 2nd resolution includes:
o decrying not only rockets fired into Israel from Gaza (Hamas is never mentioned by in any of the resolutions) but also "regular" air and artillery strikes into Gaza neighborhoods
o accusing Israel of sniper shootings of unarmed civilians at the fence, with hundreds killed and thousands wounded since March 2018 - ignoring admissions by Hamas of their members being among those killed and incidents when rioters broke through the fence.
o recommending removal of the blockade of Gaza
The 3rd resolution includes:
meeting with Israeli anti-occupation advocates and with Palestinian officials (including Hamas terrorists?) and non-governmental organization leaders
The full text of the 4th resolution to join Tlaib's delegation was not available

The 5th resolution includes:
o acceptance that Israeli settlements are "illegal under international law"
o claims there over 60 laws (dealing with immigration, religion, education, land ownership, residency rights and much more) in Israel discriminate against non-Jewish citizens. Though no source is given, this is a claim made by Adalah that is debunked by The Institute for Zionist Strategies here (English summary) and here (in depth in Hebrew), as well as by NGO Monitor and by CAMERA.
o the claim that all Arabs who left then-Palestine "along with their descendants are prevented from returning to their homes and homeland...and supports Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland"
The 6th resolution includes:
o tying the attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue to white supremacism, with the extension that "the Israeli government, along with its U.S. backers, have welcomed support from ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad"
o the claim that "leading advocates for Palestinian rights in Congress and elsewhere have been falsely accused of antisemitism"
o condemnation of "unfounded attacks and even death threats against members of Congress like Ilhan Omar"

Bias Much?

In addressing the proposed resolutions, the ADL did not waste time trying to refute each and every claim made in the resolutions. Instead, the ADL simply pointed out how deliberately one-sided the resolutions are:
By laying blame on one party – Israel – and employing demonizing language, the resolutions reduce a complicated dispute to a facile narrative divorced from reality. In fact, these resolutions are just part and parcel of a coordinated effort to demonize and delegitimize Israel and its right to exist as a Jewish homeland.
For example, the resolution dedicated to “Stopping Trump from destroying all possibility for peace in the Middle East” places no blame on the Palestinian Arabs for stalled peace talks, ignoring repeated peace offers Israel has made.

Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center described the resolutions as an attempt to “de-couple anti-Semitism from the hatred and attack on the state of Israel and on people who support the state of Israel” which amounted to “a clever but overt shift where you suddenly are getting statements all over the globe identifying Israel with white supremacy.”

Siamak Kordestani the Los Angeles Assistant Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee in Los Angeles also not how one-sided the resolutions are:
“They absolve terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, which have for decades targeted and murdered Israeli civilians,” Kordestani said.

Old Habits Die Hard

One of those involved in the resolutions is Jewish Voice for Peace, which has been noted for its bullying and harassing on campus. Apparently, those tactics go beyond college campuses.
While the anti-Israel resolutions submitted to the Resolutions Committee do not show any authors, according to a letter obtained by JNS, activists associated with the pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace and the Sacramento Palestine Coalition are tied to them.

Additionally, Iyad Afalqa, chair of the Arab-American Caucus, is listed in the letter as one of the authors of the resolutions. Earlier this year, Afalqa called Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) a “shmuck,” a “traitor” and a member of a “fascist Israel lobby” on Facebook.

“This group is loud and aggressive, and some pro-Israel Democrats have felt bullied and intimidated,” said Kujawsky. “I myself have been called a white supremacist and supporter of genocide merely for being a Zionist.” [emphasis added]
Kujawsky does not come right out and say that the intimidation tactics extended to the Democratic convention itself, but pro-Israel Democrats are being harassed and intimidated in general.

Results

In the end, the pro-Israel groups claimed victory, with the Resolutions Committee rewriting all 6 resolutions and passing 5 of them in their rewritten form. The original authors were angered to the extent that they withdrew both their names and their sponsorships. The other resolution was withdrawn.

One of those groups claiming victory was Democratic Majority for Israel, whose president said
And we are very pleased that, after careful deliberation, the party accepted our view. Sadly though, this is not the last time we’ll see efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. [emphasis added]

Win, Lose or Draw?

Which raises the question as to how much of a victory was achieved.

After all, despite the numerous victories over BDS initiatives, the fact remains that they continue and that continued exposure of those anti-Israel views and attacks, especially on college campuses, do constitute a victory.

What about here?

I reached out to someone who attended the convention and suggested to them that the victory was being exaggerated.

They agreed -- but only in part, and made the following points:
o While the radical left did get their exposure, they also earned the wrath of moderate Democrats who preferred to address issues like health care, housing and predatory lending.
o The committees addressed one of the main leaders behind the resolution "as though he were a small child."
o The elections for delegates were held on Shabbos this year, which prevented traditional Jews from participating. What is needed is to get more people involved in the whole process so as to vote the more radical members out
That optimism is shared by Abraham Cooper, though he is cautiously aware of the alternative:
The moment there will be a definitive pushback on this kind of language, this kind of behavior, it’ll disappear. Every time there’s an incremental step [that’s] met by silence, acquiescence… it’s just going to continue to grow.
So, is the Democratic Party leadership ready to do what is necessary to prevent this from happening again?

When news first broke about the original 6 resolutions, The Jewish Democratic Council of America responded
“We urge the California Democratic Party not to fall into the trap of letting Republicans divide us on Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism. Nearly all extremist violence in the United States, including attacks on Jews and Muslims, have come from right-wing extremists. There is no doubt that the rhetoric of President Trump and other Republican leaders have contributed to a climate of increased hatred and bigotry in our country, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

“While Republicans continue to attempt to turn Israel into a partisan wedge issue, the Democratic Party remains staunchly pro-Israel.
But those were not Republicans sponsoring those resolutions.

The leadership of both parties needs to take responsibility if this threat is going to be nipped in the bud.

NOTE:
Someone else at the convention told me that the discussion of the resolutions was limited to the committee rooms alone, and did not make it out to the convention itself -- and that those behind the resolutions "did not make any friends" by arguing with the Resolutions Committee members.

So far, so good.

But the issue may not be completely closed.

It seems that though none of the anti-Israel resolutions were actually passed on the floor, those resolutions that were not passed will now be held over to the Executive Board meeting in August.
-----
Here is the text of the original resolutions, not including the resolution about attending Tlaib's tour. The text of the revised resolutions is not yet available at this time.

Dear Progressive Colleagues:

We seek your help to obtain the largest number of endorsers possible for five resolutions related to Israel-Palestine that we plan to submit to the CDP Resolutions Committee for consideration at the state convention. The resolutions run a gamut of issues ranging from protecting our First Amendment right to criticize Israel, calling for an end to the Gaza siege, upholding the core rights of the three main sectors of the Palestinian population (end the occupation; equal rights in Israel; right of return for refugees) and condemning Trump's horrendously lopsided policies.

All five resolutions are shown in the text of this email. Once you've read the resolutions, please link to the Israel-Palestine form:

The form is where you tell us which resolutions you want to endorse. You can check the box saying you want to endorse all five, or you can select some and not others. Please return the form to us as soon as possible. We need to submit the resolutions by late April (30 days before the convention), but in the past it as been possible to submit additional names a week or two after that. A return email would be effective in letting us know if you don’t want to endorse any. Please know that the resolution authors may agree to amend the wording, at their discretion, in response to requests by Resolutions Committee members leading up to or at the committee meeting. Endorsers are encouraged to attend the meeting to participate in any such process and to speak in favor of one or more of the resolutions.

We are sending this to hundreds of delegates we hope will be supportive. While only 25 endorsers are needed to submit a resolution, including many more endorsers has been shown to enhance dramatically our bargaining power in negotiating any compromises and in preparing to obtain the 300 wet-ink delegate signatures needed to bring a resolution to the convention floor if we choose to go that route. To the extent we can, we’ll be following up with phone calls to those who don’t respond quickly. Please do respond to save us the trouble.

Please do forward this to other delegates you know who would also likely sign. They may or may not have received it from us, and reinforcement can’t hurt. Endorsements by clubs, county parties and regional meetings are also welcome. Please call David Mandel with any questions at 916-769-1641.

Sincerely,

Chris Yatooma, David Mandel, Kari Khoury, Yassar Dahbour, Iyad Afalqa


RESOLUTION 1: TRUMP POLICIES
STOP TRUMP FROM DESTROYING ALL POSSIBILITY FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

WHEREAS the fragile peace process in Israel-Palestine has stalled due to the policies of the extremist, right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which has relentlessly undermined any chance of agreement through its expansion and establishment of new Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, and has now come out for outright annexation of the West Bank, all in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an “occupier may not forcibly deport protected persons, or deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory,” and UN Security Council Resolution 242, which affirms the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”; and has refused to honor agreements that previous Israeli governments had reached with the Palestinian Authority;

AND WHEREAS President Trump has wasted no chance to hinder any return to peace talks by taking biased, unilateral steps on final status issues that were up for negotiation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, closing the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as their future capital; halting funding of the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides healthcare, nutrition and education for Palestinians who became refugees as a result of Israel’s establishment and subsequent wars; and ending U.S. support for health and social institutions of the Palestinian Authority. These actions explicitly demonstrate U.S. unfitness as a mediator, are condemned by the international community and further anti-American sentiment worldwide;

AND WHEREAS the United States has its own legacy of settler colonialism that left a devastating impact upon the indigenous Native Americans, obliging us to support freedom and justice for oppressed people everywhere.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party reaffirms its opposition to Israel’s occupation and support for peace in Israel-Palestine based on equality and human rights for all, and directs Democratic Party officials to confront Trump’s policy by combating all measures that aim to further dispossess the Palestinian people, and to promote those that will nullify the destructive policies Trump has enacted.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CDP declares its unequivocal support for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will lead to the achievement of self-determination for the Palestinian people in a framework to be negotiated that ensures equal rights, democracy, justice and peace for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike.

_______________________

RESOLUTION 2: ANTISEMITISM
COMMENDING THE HOUSE FOR RESOLVING TO FIGHT ALL RACISM AND BIGOTRY AND FOR RESISTING THE FALSE CONFLATION OF SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS WITH ANTISEMITISM

WHEREAS the October 2018 murders of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue were the culmination of an alarming re-emergence of virulent antisemitism that is a core element of historical and currently resurgent white supremacism in the United States and around the world, whose toxic verbal and violent hate targets also Muslims, refugees, Latinos, indigenous people, immigrants, Blacks, Arabs, LGBTQ-identified people and women, among others, and the left in general – all in an effort to promote, here and abroad, nationalism, racism and sexism to suppress democracy, worker rights and movements to save our planet;

AND WHEREAS the Israeli government, along with its U.S. backers, have welcomed support from ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted antisemitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia;

AND WHEREAS leading advocates for Palestinian rights in Congress and elsewhere have been falsely accused of antisemitism, with such false accusations weaponized to fuel legislative and other initiatives to redefine antisemitism as including criticism of Israeli policies and unconstitutional attempts to suppress and even criminalize boycotts aimed at promoting Palestinian rights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party commends the Democratic majority in Congress for resisting these efforts and passing a resolution calling on “all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry, as well as historical struggles against them, to ensure that the United States will live up to the transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the first and 14th amendments to the Constitution.”

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party opposes all efforts to stigmatize and suppress support for Palestinian human rights by falsely conflating it with antisemitism, whether in the unfounded attacks and even death threats against members of Congress like Ilhan Omar or in the widespread efforts to shut down discussion and intimidate students on campuses around the country.

_______________________

RESOLUTION 3: ISRAEL/PALESTINE VISITS
OFFICIALS SHOULD LEARN ABOUT ALL SIDES WHEN THEY TRAVEL TO ISRAEL-PALESTINE

WHEREAS the government of Israel and/or U.S. organizations that support it frequently invite members of Congress, state legislators and other public officials to tour Israel on subsidized trips that are clearly – and often admittedly -- meant to cultivate sympathy for its policies, imparting only a partial view of the situation in Israel/Palestine;

AND WHEREAS a full, balanced understanding of the situation is crucial for officials responsible for shaping U.S. policy in the region or who might have such responsibilities in the future; 

AND WHEREAS the CDP has already committed to supporting Palestinian rights and opposing Israel’s ongoing occupation, and to human rights, equality and free speech for all;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party directs any officials considering such an invitation from the Israeli government or other group to accept it only if they undertake to devote an equal amount of time to visiting Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories, and to meeting with Israeli anti-occupation advocates and with Palestinian officials and non-governmental organization leaders. Moreover, officials and other party members are encouraged to initiate their own visits to Israel-Palestine that would include the listed activities.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that officials considering such visits should contact the communications directors of the CDP Progressive and/or Arab-American caucuses, who will be available to make appropriate connections.

_______________________

RESOLUTION 4: GAZA
AFFIRMING CDP’S COMMITMENT TO HUMAN DIGNITY AND BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE ISRAELI-OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND ENDING THE GAZA BLOCKADE

WHEREAS, historically the United States has joined other nations in funding health care systems, educational and civic infrastructure in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, in fall 2018 that Trump administration decided to cut $25 million it had planned to give to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a group of six hospitals, some church-run, providing care primarily to Palestinians; eliminated its $300 million contribution to the UN agency running schools and health clinics for Palestinian refugees; and slashed more than $200 million for humanitarian and development aid in the West Bank and Gaza;

AND WHEREAS, the more than decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip has caused severe damage to infrastructure, with wastewater treatment plants lacking capacity, causing severe water pollution; with Palestinians having access to only a few hours of electricity a day; with poverty at 53 percent, food insecurity at 68 percent and a palpable loss of hope and rising desperation among the population, it is imperative that the United States resume life sustaining humanitarian support;

AND WHEREAS, the untenable status quo – rocket firings into Israel from Gaza; regular air and artillery bombardment of Gaza neighborhoods; and sniper shootings of unarmed civilians at the fence, with hundreds killed and thousands wounded since March 2018 – threatens to deteriorate into even more devastating warfare;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democrat Party urges Congress and the administration to reinstate the funding for UNWRA, hospitals and civilian infrastructure that can help sustain human rights and dignity for Palestinians as they endure life under occupation, blockade and political upheaval.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party urges Congress and the administration to demand that Israel and Egypt end their blockade of the Gaza Strip in favor of immediate international involvement to restore a semblance of normal life for the area’s 2 million Palestinians while ensuring the security of all parties and advancing toward a political settlement in the region.
_______________________

RESOLUTION 5: SETTLEMENTS and HUMAN RIGHTS
Affirming CDP’s commitment to supporting human rights, equality and justice in Israel/Palestine.

WHEREAS, Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights are illegal under international law, as affirmed in numerous UN Security Council resolutions, including the most recent, 2234, which passed 14-0 in December 2016, was not opposed by the Obama Administration, and declares the settlements’ establishment as having "no legal validity” and constituting “a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”;

AND WHEREAS, over 60 laws (dealing with immigration, religion, education, land ownership, residency rights and much more) in Israel discriminate against non-Jewish citizens, including the recently enacted Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, a constitutional level statute that among other things defines Israel as the nation-state of only the Jewish people, declares Jewish settlement as a national value and relegates Arabic language to inferior status, thus formalizing second-class citizenship status for the 25 percent of Israelis who are not Jewish;

AND WHEREAS, Palestinian refugees displaced in 1948 and their descendants, now numbering in the millions, are prevented from returning to their homes and homeland in what became Israel, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Section 13, which is unequivocal in guaranteeing civilians a right to return to their homes; and numerous UN resolutions, first and foremost General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 (supported by the United States), which specifically endorses the rights of Palestinian refugees.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party supports ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, opposes Israeli settlements in them; demands equal rights for Palestinians and other non-Jewish residents in Israel; and supports Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CDP rejects, in accordance with international law, any acquisition of territory by use of force, and therefore in addition to opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and of Gaza, also calls for withdrawal from Syria’s Golan Heights, and condemns the Trump administration’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in that territory.




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