Background from the Jewish News of Northern California:
The Resolutions Committee of the California Democratic Party has substantially rewritten six resolutions, deleting or softening language harshly critical of Israel.
On Friday, at the party’s state convention in San Francisco, the committee passed five of the resolutions as rewritten, prompting the original authors to withdraw their names and co-sponsors. One other resolution was withdrawn.
The resolutions dealt with a variety of issues related to anti-Semitism, Israel, Palestine and American involvement in the region. One included original language that required the Democratic Party to oppose “all efforts to stigmatize and suppress support for Palestinian human rights by falsely conflating it with anti-Semitism.” Another suggested Israel has a legacy of “settler colonialism,” while still another would have required elected party officials to include equal-time visits to Palestinian territories whenever visiting Israel, and should contact the state party’s Progressive Caucus or Arab-American Caucus to plan those trips. Another demanded a Palestinian “right of return,” which mandates descendants of Palestinians who fled what is now Israel during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence be allowed to return to Israel and to their original homes. Two resolutions supported returning the Golan Heights to Syria.
All such language was removed from the resolutions.
Supporters of Israel considered it a total victory.
While the revised resolutions are much better than those originally proposed, their texts show that there are still significant problems - problems that the mainstream Democratic party do not consider to be problems at all.
Possibly the worst one is 18-11.39L, "Fight Antisemitism, and Identify it Correctly." The "Identify It correctly" is an addition to the original resolution.
Let's look at it a paragraph at a time:
WHEREAS the recent murders of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue bear witness to an 2 alarming re-emergence of virulent antisemitism that is a core element of historical and currently resurgent white supremacy in the United States and around the world, whose adherents aim their toxic verbal and violent hate also at a wide variety of other scapegoats – Muslims, refugees, Latinos, indigenous people, immigrants, Blacks, Arabs, LGBTQ-identified people and women, among others, and at the left in general – all in an effort to install and bolster regimes that promote nationalism, racism and sexism to suppress democracy, worker rights and movements to save our planet; and
Much like how Congress watered down its antisemitism resolution aimed at Ilhan Omar's offensive statements to make it a meaningless resolution against all bigotry, the CDP did the same here - in a resolution whose title says it is about antisemitism.
Not only that, it conflates vicious attacks in Jews as in Pittsburgh with anyone on the right criticizing anyone on the Left!
This is not a victory. It is an insult.
WHEREAS the current U.S. regime and its growing coterie of look-alikes worldwide are fast establishing a pattern of tolerating and giving succor to antisemites, racists and promoters of other forms of white supremacist ideology; while Israel’s government, along with some of its U.S. backers, have welcomed support for Netanyahu from ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted antisemitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia; and
This paragraph is saying (among other things) that Netanyahu is accepting support from white supremacists in the US. This is an absolute lie, unless you define ALL Zionist groups as Islamophobic white supremacists - something that we see socialist supporters of Democrats do often.
WHEREAS in the wake of the Pittsburgh murders there has been an increase in the volume of Trumpian, Charlottesville-style “both sides-ism,” citing “antisemitism of the right and the left” -- the latter raising a false conflation of support for Palestine with anti-Jewish hatred, which has fueled ongoing 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.
This paragraph denies left-wing antisemitism altogether. This is ironic since even Human Rights Watch issued a report that talked about antisemitism on the left and the right, including Corbyn-style antisemitism that is increasingly prevalent among Democrats in the US.
Also, no one ever claimed that all criticism of Israel is antisemitic. The IHRA definition of antisemitism is clear on when criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism: "Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic."
The California Democrats are effectively denying the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
Moreover, it mischaracterizes legislation against targeting Israel for boycotts as unconstitutional and a free speech issue - which they are not. They are discrimination based on national origin. They are not "aimed at promoting Palestinian rights" but at denying Jewish national rights.
THEREFORE be it resolved that the California Democratic Party rededicates itself, along with all decent people, to exposing, confronting and defeating antisemitism along with all forms of racism, each with its unique sordid history; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CDP recognizes these phenomena today as overwhelmingly a function of dangerous fascist and white supremacist movements, plus their enabling by too many figures in the Trump administration and in Congress.Its earlier denial of any antisemitism on the Left shows this resolution to be hollow - instead of being against antisemitism it is against right-wing antisemitism, turning the issue into a political and partisan issue instead of a universal human rights issue.
Even though news coverage of the story claimed that the original drafters of the resolutions took their names off the revised ones, it isn't true. This one still lists as authors and sponsors David Mandel - of the JVP - and Iyad Afalqa, who recently said that fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer was a “shmuck,” a “traitor” and a member of a “fascist Israel lobby.”
Yeah, that's a real expert on antisemitism.
(UPDATE: Apparently they did remove their names but the names are still listed in the documentation.)
The other resolutions have significant problems as well.
If the California Democrats who are supporters of Israel consider this a total victory, then they have become the useful idiots of the ascendant, radical, anti-Israel Democrats.
This isn't victory. This is surrender to the most extreme anti-Israel forces in the party.
(h/t Daled Amos)