September 17, 2019

ADL Urges CA Dem Party to Reject Anti-Israel Resolutions

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged the California Democratic Party (CDP) to reject all anti-Israel resolutions at the party’s weekend convention in San Francisco.

Fox News first reported that there are six draft anti-Israel resolutions that could be debated during the convention at the Moscone Convention Center from May 31 to June 2. In a letter to the California Democratic Party leadership obtained by the Journal, ADL California Legislative Director Nancy Appel wrote, “We urge you to reject the resolutions regarding Israel as biased, unworkable, and counterproductive to the aim of peacefully ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By laying blame on one party – Israel – and employing demonizing language, the resolutions reduce a complicated dispute to a facile narrative divorced from reality. In fact, these resolutions are just part and parcel of a coordinated effort to demonize and delegitimize Israel and its right to exist as a Jewish homeland.”

Appel then highlighted a few of the resolutions. The “Stopping Trump from destroying all possibility for peace in the Middle East” resolution doesn’t “place any blame on the Palestinians for the stalled peace talks and only ascribing fault to Israel, this resolution ignores the repeated peace offers Israel has made to the Palestinians over the years.” Another resolution calling on Israel to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip “fails to call on Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations to cease their violent attacks on Israel,” Appel argued, adding that Hamas’ rocket attacks against Israel “are a significant reason for continuing the military blockade.” A third resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights in Syria would put Israel in an untenable position, Appel wrote, noting that such a withdrawal “would provide an opening for terrorist groups and Iranian forces to occupy the area and launch violent attacks against Israeli civilian population centers.”

Appel wrote that the ADL is most concerned about the “Commending the House for resolving to fight all racism and bigotry and for resisting the false conflation of support for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism,” which according to Fox News accuses the Israeli government of “support from Christian fundamentalist and ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted anti-Semitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia.”

“Besides demonizing Israel’s government, it willfully ignores instances when anti-Semitic expressions are made under the guise of criticism of Israel,” Appel wrote. “To be clear, it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the Israeli government or its policies. At the same time, it is undeniable that there are instances when such criticism crosses the line into anti-Semitism by using anti-Jewish tropes and conspiracy theories, and by refusing to acknowledge the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination. Moreover, the resolution is offensive in its specious claim that the identification of such incidents as anti-Semitic is false and intended to shut down Palestinian advocacy.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a phone interview that the anti-Israel resolutions are part of an effort to “de-couple anti-Semitism from the hatred and attack on the state of Israel and on people who support the state of Israel.” He added that this reflects “a clever but overt shift where you suddenly are getting statements all over the globe identifying Israel with white supremacy.” Statements like that are “pernicious,” Cooper said.

“To see this kind of language percolate up in the Democratic Party now in the state of California… is not only an outrage, it’s downright dangerous,” Cooper said.

He called on the national and state Democratic Party leadership and the Democratic presidential candidates to speak out against the resolutions.

“The moment there will be a definitive pushback on this kind of language, this kind of behavior, it’ll disappear,” Cooper said. “Every time there’s an incremental step [that’s] met by silence, acquiescence… it’s just going to continue to grow.”

American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Assistant Regional Director Siamak Kordestani called the resolutions “deeply one-sided” in a statement to the Journal.

“They absolve terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, which have for decades targeted and murdered Israeli civilians,” Kordestani said. “The language completely disregards the plight of the 850,000 Jewish refugees violently expelled from Arab nations in the 1940s and 1950s, many of whom had nowhere to go but the Jewish state. The call to return the Golan Heights, which are of tremendous strategic importance for Israel, to Syria is irresponsible. Bashar al-Assad’s crimes against humanity and the horrific Syrian Civil War demonstrate that the entire region is safer with Israel in control of the Golan Heights. The resolutions should instead reflect the fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that safeguards free speech, an independent judiciary, and the civil rights of minorities and the LGBTQ community.”

Other Jewish groups have publicly spoken out against the resolutions. Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) Executive Director Halie Soifer said in a May 31 statement, “We urge the California Democratic Party not to fall into the trap of letting Republicans divide us on Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism,” adding that “the Democratic Party remains staunchly pro-Israel.” She then pointed out that the 2016 Democratic Party platform maintained “Israel’s right to defend itself” and denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“We strongly urge the delegates at the California Democratic Convention to oppose and defeat any resolution that is not consistent with the Democratic Party Platform on 2016 as it relates to Israel,” Soifer said.

Similarly, the Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party told Jewish News Syndicate, “These six anti-Israel resolutions divide us rather than bring us together. They give no care for the human rights, self-determination, and safety of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland. As they all demonize Israel and hold Palestinian leadership completely harmless, one resolution even calls for the destruction of Israel as the Jewish state.”

Zioness launched a petition on May 30 calling on the California Democrat Party to reject the resolutions.

“These resolutions are perceived by American Jews as an attack on our community, which has seen a terrifying uptick in anti-Semitic attacks in America and around the world; which overwhelmingly supports the progressive agenda; and which has stood on the forefront of social justice movements in this country since their inception,” the petition states. “Anyone who wants to see these movements succeed understands that we must reject these attacks on the Jewish community by rejecting the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. By doing so, we protect the integrity of our progressive spaces and recommit ourselves to equality and human dignity for all people, including the Jewish people.”

David Mandel, a state Assembly delegate who co-authored one of the resolutions, told Fox News, “The Israeli government and its supporters here seem to be embracing the right-wing and not caring what they say about anything else — Islamophobia, dog whistles for anti-Semitism. That, I think, does indirectly lead to some of the violence.”

California Democratic Party spokesman Roger Salazar told Fox News, “We won’t be commenting on resolutions that have not yet been finalized, debated or adopted.”