In one fell swoop on Tuesday, a quarter century of standard language about Israel by either party was tossed out and new GOP platform language adopted which places Republican Party squarely behind the unity of Jerusalem, against BDS and in favor of removing the label of “occupier” from Israel.
The pro-Israel amendement, presented by South Carolina delegate Alan Clemmons, was adopted with a standing ovation by the Platform Committee and tears from some of those in the audience.
The new platform language keeps a previous reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but not as a shared city. The new wording emphasizes that “we recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state, and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law.”
The platform does not mention a “two-state” solution or a Palestinian state and strongly rejects the approach to Israeli policy taken by the Obama administration with strong language:
“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier,” the platform reads. “Support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel.”
It also recognizes that the “BDS movement is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel” and calls for federal legislation “to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner.”
In introducing his proposal, Clemmons made an emotional speech in which he said that “the platform we present today places our support squarely behind Israel’s sovereign right to decide her own future with G-d’s help. It does not foreclose any possible solution to the conflicts Israel faces, including the two-state proposal. Instead it affirms that we will be here to support our greatest ally in solving her challenges as she sees fit in her own superior judgment.”
Clemmons continued: “Today we send a clear message to the tens of millions of pro-Israel Republican voters who must see that our party stands on faith and principle — our support for Israel’s wellbeing is of paramount concern, and will not be sold out or dumbed down for the sake of petty interests ever again.”
Political consultant and pro-Israel activist Jeff Ballabon, who helped write the new platform, told The Jewish Star that “this is a huge victory and an historic moment for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
“A major party has finally rejected the lie that Israel is an occupier and has lifted the brutal ultimatum that conditions America’s support for Israel on the creation of a terror state in Judea and Samaria. G-d Bless America,” Ballabon said.
This is the full text of the Republican Party platform position on Israel:
Like the United States of America, the modern state of Israel is a country born from the aspiration for freedom, and standing out among the nations as a beacon of democracy and humanity. Beyond our mutual strategic interests, Israel is likewise an exceptional country that shares our most essential values. It is the only country in the Middle East where freedom of speech and freedom of religion are found.
Therefore, support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel. We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state, and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law.
We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries. We support Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself against terror attacks upon its people, and against alternative forms of warfare being waged upon it legally, economically, culturally and otherwise.
We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier, and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel. Therefore, we call for effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner.
The U.S. seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region. We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so. Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.
Jeff Dunetz’s column this week, on page 6, deals with the pending Democratic Party platform positions on Israel.