|The Jewish-American community tried to hide the occupation from us, but thanks to the principled work of CODEPINK and other Palestinian rights organizations, the tide is turning and people now recognize that it isn’t possible to call yourself progressive but be silent on Palestine. So, why then is the DNC refusing to acknowledge and condemn what Israel is doing???
As 17-year-old Jewish-Americans, our formative experiences included our community trying to hide the ugly reality of Israel’s occupation from us. At Jewish Summer camp, we were told that Israel was the dream: a safe haven for the Jews, a democratic country with equality for all, a progressive oasis in the midst of a dangerous Middle East. But what about the Palestinians? We didn’t talk much about them, but when we did, we were told that the Jewish state was so committed to democracy that it even included Arabs in its Parliament. Conveniently left out of these conversations was the systematic and intentional denial or equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel and the brutal systems of occupation, siege, and apartheid that 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza live under.
But that was then. Now there are Jewish organizations that tell the truth. Since its small founding in 1996, today Jewish Voice for Peace has 60 chapters across the U.S. If Not Now holds regular training for young Jews on how to protest for Palestinian rights. CODEPINK and other organizations have been so effective in their campaigning that swaths of lawmakers no longer want to be associated with AIPAC.
Over 80% of Democrats believe that the U.S.-Israeli relationship should be questioned. Popular liberal Zionist Peter Beinart finally just embraced a one-state-solution. And Senator van Hollen — not known for being a leftist member of Congress — has legislation to condition U.S. military assistance to Israel so that it does not fund annexation.
James Jogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute. Zogby worked on the 2016 DNC platform and will discuss with CODEPINK’s Ariel Gold what it means that the draft of the 2020 platform doesn’t even use the word “occupation.”
On July 15, the working draft of the DNC’s 2020 platform was leaked to the media. To our dismay, it promises to maintain the $3.8 billion the U.S. gives annually in military assistance — even if Israel formally annexes the West Bank— and refuses to even use the word “occupation.”
Acknowledging and condemning Israel’s now 53-year-long occupation is the bare minimum. Nearly every Democratic leader for decades is on record opposing Israel’s occupation and when Joe Biden was on the campaign trail a year ago, he told If Not Now that “the occupation is a real problem.” It’s time to acknowledge that in the party’s 2020 platform.
Take action: The final language of the DNC platform — laying out the major policy positions the party will take for the next four years — will continue to be negotiated in the coming weeks until the platform is unveiled to the public at the DNC (virtual) convention.
And then register for the Tuesday, July 21 1 PM ET webinar on the 2020 DNC political platform regarding Israel with James Zogby.
While applying to colleges right now, we are proud to proclaim that our Jewish identity requires us to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. As we do all that we can to build a future that disavows racism in America, we cannot ignore that Israel is an all-out apartheid state that is funded and supported by the U.S. The way the DNC is trying to hide the Palestinian struggle is shameful and we can’t allow it. Sign the petition now. Tell the DNC to include the word “occupation” in its platform!
P.S. Last Sunday, Ariel hosted renowned Palestinian comedian Amer Zahr for a funeral for the two-state-solution. Did you miss the live event? No problem, watch the recording on CODEPINK’s YouTube channel. It’s well worth it.