Jewish leaders express concern over proposed changes to Dem platform on Israel

Bernie Sanders’ appointments of Cornel West and James Zogby as his representatives to the Democratic party’s platform drafting committee are drawing strong condemnation from U.S. Jewish leaders.

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“The Democrats’ platform should support [the] two-state solution but also make 100 percent clear that long-standing policy [of] supporting Israel will not waiver,” he added.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the New York Times that West’s inclusion on the committee is “disturbing” and raises concerns that the Democratic Party could “adopt positions that could be seen as hostile to Israel” at their national convention in Philadelphia. “For us, the concern is that it legitimizes and potentially puts into a major party platform” a point of view “that undermines the principles of the Israeli-U.S. relationship that have been bipartisan for decades,” Hoenlein was quoted as saying.

“Of all the social activists that Senator Sanders could have nominated to help advance his message, we are particularly troubled by the selection of Cornel West, a prominent supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen said in a statement. “Ultimately, we will judge the committee based on their actions at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this July, but considering Sanders’ extremely misinformed comments about Israel last month, the American Jewish Congress is especially concerned about West’s policy positions on the Middle East.”

Professor Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat, told the “>on Friday that no matter the wording, “This year, Democrats will once again approve a platform that speaks to our commitment to a strong US-Israel relationship.”

Sanders indicated that he would seek “consensus” on the party’s policy towards Israel in a statement to the New York Times. “I have always and will always be 100 percent supportive of Israel’s right to exist and live in peace and security,” the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in a statement. “I also believe that lasting peace in the region will not occur without fair and respectful treatment of the Palestinian people. I believe that most Democrats agree with that position and that a strong consensus will be achieved at the Democratic National Convention.”