Donald Trump is reviled by Democrats, but they give Trump-like figures such as Israeli’s defense minister a pass, complained scholar and activist Cornel West, before the Democratic Party’s platform committee.
“Trump-like figures in Israeli life” should be treated by Democrats just like Trump, said West, a member of the committee, during a hearing on foreign policy.
The otherwise sleepy hearing was the second in a two-day session that started on June 8. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders selected West and four others to represent him on the committee, and West’s comments reflected Sanders’s wish that the party raise the profile of Palestinian suffering and rights in its language on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
“Why can we focus on xenophobes here, and seem to be so reluctant to call out xenophobes in Israel and other places?” asked West, who is known as a critic of Israel. He went on to inquire whether “if there were a Palestinian occupation of Jewish brothers and sisters would we respond the same way?”
He took issue with strongly pro-Israel testimony given by former Florida congressman Robert Wexler, asking him to agree to include of the term occupation in the party’s platform. America’s commitments to its allies, West said, “can never be predicated on occupation.” He then asked members to “agree that life of Palestinian baby is just as valuable as Jewish baby.”
But he did so in much more forceful way than articulated by the Vermont senator, accusing the Democratic Party of being “beholden to AIPAC,” the pro-Israel lobby, “for too long.”
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman