The Democratic and Republican platforms, dense position papers that highlight political differences between the two parties, traditionally have agreed on at least one issue: support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But in a shocking change to that status quo, the Republican platform committee this week voted to approve language that omits mention of the two-state solution altogether.
As our story on page 7 details, not only is this a break from longtime U.S. foreign policy and Israeli government policy, it also goes against AIPAC’s position — despite the organization’s protestations to the contrary — and contravenes the opinion of most American Jews.
While the Democratic platform reaffirms support for the two-state solution, coming up with final language concerning Israel was not without controversy. With five of the 15 platform drafting committee members hand-selected by Bernie Sanders, pundits expected the word “occupation” to find its way into the document before the final draft. That did not happen.
AIPAC, in accordance with its bipartisan mandate, heaped praise on the Democratic and Republican positions, saying, “We appreciate that both parties’ platforms have now included strong pro-Israel language which is reflective of the broad bipartisan consensus in support of the Jewish state.”
Though the two parties are supportive of Israel in their own ways, seeing “broad bipartisan consensus” in their platforms is wishful thinking. Alan Clemmons, the GOP delegate who sponsored the platform language approved this week, said party support for Israel “will not be sold out or dumbed down for the sake of petty interests, ever again.”
Since when is support for the two-state solution a petty interest?
The Anti-Defamation League got it right: “We are disappointed that the platform draft departs from longstanding support of a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict — and the shared vision of successive American presidents and prime ministers of Israel, including the current leadership in both countries, who believed it was the only viable way to secure Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state.”
The liberal pro-Israel lobbying group J Street called the revised Republican platform “dangerous and irresponsible.” We are forced to agree, for it represents the abrogation of longstanding bipartisan support for what the U.S. and Israeli governments consider the best way forward for Israelis and Palestinians.
We join the ADL in urging Republican delegates to reconsider and reaffirm this pillar of U.S. policy toward Israel before the vote at next week’s convention.