Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | March 8, 2018 | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) commends the California Democratic Party for supporting free speech, the rights of Palestinian children, and an equitable approach on Palestine and Israel in their 2018 Platform, which was approved in San Diego on February 25, 2018.
California Democrats rejected a draft that would have had the state party “join the national Democratic Party in opposing . . . the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement [BDS].” In contrast to many national Democrats who have joined Republicans in trying to criminalize BDS through the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Californian Democrats upheld the constitutional right of Americans to protest Israeli occupation.
California Democrats endorsed Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, which would prohibit “U.S. assistance to Israel from being used to support the military detention, interrogation, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law.”
While the platform falls short of condemning Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem – a draft that was supported by the party’s Arab-American, Progressive and Veterans caucuses – it does state that “the decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem should not remove it from final status negotiations” nor foreclose that “the Palestinian capital could exist in East Jerusalem if the Palestinians desire.”
Too many Democrats speak only of security and rights for Israelis followed by demands that the Palestinians oblige their occupier with no mention of reciprocal guarantees or equal rights; California Democrats bucked that trend when they recognized that “Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians and Israelis should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity,” and “the equal rights of Israel and Palestine.”
The platform’s progressive stance was made possible through the activism of Californian Arab-Americans who contacted their state party leaders, educated them on the issues, and demonstrated their commitment by showing up in San Diego. The following months will see many more Democratic and Republican state party conventions and platforms. These events are nearly always open to the public. ADC encourages Arab-American to get involved with both political parties and make their voices heard!