Democrats Lash Out at GOP on Israel

Defend Obama's Record Amid Jerusalem Platform Flap

Push Back: Former Rep. Robert Wexler fiercely defended President Obama’s policy on Israel.
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Push Back: Former Rep. Robert Wexler fiercely defended President Obama’s policy on Israel.

By Nathan Guttman

Published September 04, 2012.
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The Forward has learned that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee submitted a paper to the Democratic platform committee including language that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The party turned down the suggestion in its platform, which was released Monday.

The previous platform, adopted in 2008, including a statement that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” Jerusalem is not mentioned at all in the new platform.

The new platform also omits language in the 2008 platform which called for the resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem within the future Palestinian state, not in Israel.

Jewish Republicans were quick to latch onto the Jerusalem switch. The Republican Jewish Coalition issued a statement arguing that the Obama administration is “painfully out of touch with the mainstream of the Jewish community.”

Democrats could face problems with the platform even within their own party. California Rep. Howard Berman, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who’s locked in a tight reelection fight, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying it “should be clear to everyone that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, always and forever.” Anything less, Berman added, “I will not accept.”

Democratic activists argued that even former president George W. Bush stated the status of Jerusalem should be determined in the final negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Democratic National Committee issued a statement in response to Republican claims, saying that the Obama administration “has followed the same policy towards Jerusalem that previous U.S. Administrations of both parties have done since 1967.”

Wexler argued that the Jerusalem’s future is not the most immediate issue Israel faces.

“When was the last time that Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a speech on (Jerusalem)?” he asked.


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