Kicking off its annual 2019 national conference on Sunday, the anti-Israel lobbyist group, J-Street unveiled a new campaign to pressure 2020 Democratic candidates to oppose Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria reports TOI. The objective is to compel the party to include an addendum in its official platform opposing the “occupation”. J-Street was funded by billionaire tycoon George Soros’ Open Society.
The group’s leaders and student activists published “call to action” to modify the Democratic platform to more overtly condemn “settlement expansion” and to “support Palestinian aspirations”.
“Past party platforms have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally,” the document reads. “Those platforms have, however, also been totally silent on the rights of Palestinians, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.”
Although the 2016 platform called for a two-state “solution”, it failed to mention the terms “settlements” or what Israel’s detractors often use to describe Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria: “occupation”. It commited to support for ensuring that Israel would maintain its military edge and lambasted the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
The new campaign comes on the heels of the announcement that five Democratic 2020 candidates intend on attending the leftist group’s conference. Among the attendees are Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN), Julian Castro, and Senator Michael Bennet (CO).
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J-Street, claims that that the manifesto reflected the sentiments of mainstream Democrats.
“The vast majority of Democratic voters believe that the US should support Israel’s security, promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and oppose the Israeli government’s policies of occupation and creeping annexation,” Ben-Ami noted adding: “That approach is good policy and smart politics — which is why the Democrats should firmly commit to it in their party platform.”