Democrats pandering on god and Israel


The Democratic convention ran into some problems yesterday when the Republicans noticed that the party platform did not mention their support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel nor did it mention ‘god-given’ when describing people’s potential, both of which were changes from the 2008 platform.

After the Republicans seized on this issue, it appears president Obama ordered the party to ram through changes restoring such language with a voice vote on the floor of the convention, which was dutifully done even though the required two-thirds majority seemed to be not there as measured by the considerable vocal opposition to the changes. Democracy in action!

This pandering to both the Israel lobby and the god crowd is not surprising. What is interesting is why those two mentions were omitted in the first place. Party officials say that it was “essentially a technical oversight” and while that is possible, it does seem a little strange. Like most documents that are periodically published, drafting committees use past documents as templates to save time, with any changes being the result of deliberate intent.

The issue of Jerusalem has always been a contentious one in Middle East politics and the official line of US governments has been that its status should be decided as part of a full-fledged final status talks on the whole region between Israelis and the Palestinians. But party platforms have taken a much stronger pro-Israel stand that is more reflective of the hardline Israel lobby in the US.

As for the lack of mention of god, maybe that too was the result of a desire to move away from overtly religious pandering, leaving it to just the ‘god bless America’ endings of speeches that have become as meaningless a measure of religious sentiment as saying ‘god bless you’ or ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes.

Despite the shameless railroading of the changes at the convention, what this episode indicates is that the Democratic party leadership views this language merely symbolically, as a means to pander to these two constituencies and not because it cares that strongly about either issue, and the party rank and file does not want it at all.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    Prof. Singham, as usual when it comes to things Israel, misses the point. The issue really is the location of the US embassy there. Currently it is located in Tel Aviv, where it has been for the last 60 odd years. At least for the last 30 years, every presidential candidate and every party platform has vowed to move the embassy to Jerusalem, which vow is soon forgotten when a president takes office and reality strikes. I would be willing to bet a sizable sum that, if Romney is elected, he too will forget all about it and the embassy will still be in Tel Aviv in 2016. Unless, of course, the Israelis and Palestinians bury the hatchet and come to an agreement. In the very unlikely event of that happening, presumably the embassy could be moved to Jerusalem without getting anyone bent out of shape.

  2. says

    presumably the embassy could be moved to Jerusalem without getting anyone bent out of shape.

    Presumably you’re just pretending really hard that all the non-jewish former inhabitants of Jerusalem – now that they have been “ethnically cleansed” they no longer qualify to get “bent out of shape.” It would be ironic if it weren’t so bestial.

  3. Kumbaya says

    Mr Singham, exucse my grammar i am from eastern europe and i never seriously studied english language, so i hope that you will accept my criticism.

    I am saddened to see so many “progressives” supporting ultra-religious and conservative muslims, instead a secular states like Israel.

    “Israel is nazi-state”, kinda harsh, considering the fact that Israel accept foreigners, while Palestine (and especially Hamas dominated – Gaza) don’t tolerate any different religion than Islam, where gays and non-muslims risk their lives. Where for possesion of Cannabis you can get 10 years in jail

    Nothing good will come from your tolerance to the extremist and conservatives. Nothing expect hatred and radicalization of jewish youths

  4. slc1 says

    Mr. Ranum is, apparently, rather deficient in his reading comprehension abilities, perhaps due to his zeal to find any excuse to bash Israel. He skipped right over the statement that an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians the would be required before such a relocation would take place. Presumably, if the two sides came to an agreement, the issue of Jerusalem would also be subject to that agreement. It is quite possible they they would agree to share East Jerusalem and the US embassy to Palestine would presumably then be located there.

  5. slc1 says

    Mr. Kambaya will notice that Prof. Singham and his commenters haven’t had much to say about the current events in Syria. Syria, for some odd reason, appears to be of little interest to the Israel bashers, particularly folks like Glenn Greenwald and Juan Cole.

  6. abio.mike says

    I imagine Singham, Greenwald and Cole would have as little to say about Israel as they do about Syria if their government wasn’t so busy shoveling their tax dollars Israel’s way.

  7. Nathaniel Frein says

    Unfortunately, the people they stand to alienate here are also the people smart enough to realize that

    A) The Democrats are still better than the Republicans
    and
    B) This election will be close enough that said annoyed people cannot simply vote third party to “make a point”.

  8. Synfandel says

    s1c1, everything you said is true, except this:

    Prof. Singham, as usual when it comes to things Israel, misses the point.

    As far as I can see, you haven’t contradicted anything he said; you’d supported it all.

  9. Synfandel says

    The people whose votes might be influenced by whether God and Jerusalem are in the platform are generally the ones who want to see it there. Most of those who don’t want to see it there or don’t care wether it’s there have bigger policy fish to fry.

    So, while it appears that a lot of the delegates—perhaps a majority—don’t want to see them in the platform from a policy perspective, they’re clearly smart things to have in the platform from an electoral political perspective.

  10. Chiroptera says

    I am saddened to see so many “progressives” supporting ultra-religious and conservative muslims, instead a secular states like Israel.

    Well, sometimes the “conservative muslims” do have legitimate interests that need to be considered and protected, and sometimes the “secular state” engages in policies that are unnecessarily abusive and counter-productive to even its own legitimate goals.

  11. slc1 says

    Shorter Chiroptera

    It’s OK to murder 20,000 of your own citizens if you’re not getting any foreign aid from the US.

  12. says

    I haven’t had anything to say about Syria because there haven’t been any threads about Syria and I’m not into thread-jacking.

    If you care: I suspect that the rebellion there is a CIA put-up job to at least a certain degree and that the “non-involved” countries are feeding the rebels weapons. I.e.: the strategy that worked in Libya is being tried again. It’s stupid because you generally wind up with another tyranny after a rebellion; I think that stronger engagement with the Assad regime would have made sense, except the US has already painted itself into an anti-Assad corner (since Syria is a Russian client-state)

    I think the US has no moral basis for any of its involvement in the middle east, at all. That includes interfering in arab states and supporting Israel. US support for Israel has already made us complicit/participants in horrible things including genocide and nuclear proliferation.

    I am not an “Israel-basher” – I am generally anti-theocratic, anti-war-criminal, anti-proliferation, anti-genocidaire. That Israel happens to be all of the above is Israel (and your, apparently) problem, not mine.

  13. says

    I would support UN resolutions against Israel, including a blockade, for building undeclared nuclear weapons and proliferating nuclear technology to South Africa, as well as committing ethnic cleansing. So, no, it’s not “OK.”

    I think it’s a horrible crime that there are so many vocal nutbags in the US that promote their insane tribal interests above common humanity. It is unfortunate that Israel has so many such supporters, including yourself.

    I don’t care if it’s a swastika or a star of david, totalitarianism and genocide are horrible things that should be opposed, Mr “fix Iran with a 10mt nuke” genocidal monster.

  14. says

    . He skipped right over the statement that an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians the would be required before such a relocation would take place.

    I didn’t skip it. I ignored it. What you’re proposing is tantamount to expecting the Nazis to agree to give the Warsaw ghetto back to the Jews, after they had gotten rid of them all. It’s monstrous.

  15. abio.mike says

    Shorter slc1: It’s OK to kill innocent Gazans by the hundreds. If anyone complains we’ll accuse them of “Israel-bashing”.

  16. slc1 says

    I haven’t had anything to say about Syria because there haven’t been any threads about Syria and I’m not into thread-jacking.

    Mr. Ranum just made my point, although he’s too stupid to realize it. The fact that Prof. Singham hasn’t seen fit to comment on the situation in Syria, while commenting profusely on the situation in Israel and the PA is proof positive of my position.

    By the way, I find it amusing that Mr. Ranum blames the situation in Syria on the US. In 1982, a similar situation occurred in Syria when the current dictator’s father surrounded the City of Hama with several hundred artillery pieces and commenced a bombardment that lasted several days, killing upwards of 20,000 people (dubbed Hama Rules by NY Times columnist Tom Friedman). It would appear that Assad fils is about to surpass his father in brutality, although he’s doing it on the installment plan. But, I suppose, Mr. Ranum will blame that on the US also.

    I find it quite telling that Mr. Ranum favored dialog with the Assads, all while applauding the downfall of the Shah and Mubarak. The Shah and Mubarak were angels compared to the Assads.

  17. Kumbaya says

    And you are ready to ignore the ethnic cleansig of non-muslims in middle-east… because?

    Iran has also a “messianic” ideology – the arrival of the islamic leader (Mehdi). But… the tricky thing is, in order for his arrival and the establishment of world islamic caliphate, Israel and the jews need to be destroyed.

    In Iran, non-muslims are second-class, in Israel… they are treated as ordinary immigrants (just like in USA)

    Xenophilia – hatred for your own culture can lead to a tolerance of much worse and conservative people, think about that

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