According to Fox News, a draft resolution set to be discussed over the weekend at the California Democratic Party State Convention accuses the Israeli government of consciously “aligning with the virulent Islamophobia” of white supremacist groups throughout the United States. It also indirectly links Israel to the Oct. 2018 massacre of 11 members of the synagogue in Pittsburgh.
This resolution could create a dramatic debate at the convention if the Resolutions Committee decides to put it on the table. Particular members of the party, such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have faced criticism from members of their own party for comments that have been perceived as anti-Semitic. This past March, in response to their comments the House passed a resolution that condemns various forms of bigotry. The document is just one of several secretive, unpublished proposals that are up for debate. A total of 14 Democratic hopefuls are set to appear at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Among them include Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris.
A few of the draft resolutions would direct Democratic officials to work to “nullify” Trump’s pro-Israel policies. One of the documents directs officials to take a subsidized trip to Israel only “if they undertake to devote an equal amount of time to visiting Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Temporarily titled “Commending the House for resolving to fight all racism and bigotry and for resisting the false conflation of support for Palestinian rights with antisemitism,” the resolution was written by David Mandel, an elected state Assembly delegate and progressive attorney who has said that he holds dual U.S.-Israel citizenship and lived in Israel for 10 years.
The document described the October synagogue shooting as “the culmination of an alarming re-emergence of virulent antisemitism that is a core element of historical and currently resurgent white supremacism in the United States and around the world.” The “Israeli government, along with some of its U.S. backers,” the resolution continues, “welcomed support from Christian fundamentalist and ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted antisemitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia.”
Mandel, while speaking to Fox News, said that it would be “far-fetched” to state that the resolution “directly” puts blame on Israel for violence against Jews. He also suggested that officials from Israel did hold some indirect responsibility for anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic violence. Mandel said: “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.” Mandel continued by saying: “What we’re saying is the Israeli government is aligning itself with right-wing governments around the world, including in this country, and those right-wing groups — a core tenet of their ideology is antisemitism.”
The resolution is just one of many that will go before a Resolutions Committee, which has a large amount of control over of which resolutions are adopted and debated. Mandel said: “Most of the 3,000 or 4,000 delegates at the convention will agree with us, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to succeed in passing the resolution.” Mandel has also explained that many of the delegates haven’t seen the specific text of his resolutions, even though approximately 200 delegates have endorsed several of the resolutions that he will propose. Even if the committee attempts to suppress the resolution, delegates will have the option of obtaining 300 signatures to force a debate.
According to Fox News, Mandel said “we may do that,” pointing out that a “more conservative establishment” is dominant on the rules committee. In 2017, Mandel negotiated with the Rules Committee to secure passage of a resolution that condemned what it considered to be U.S. support for Israeli “occupation of the Palestinian lands.” Mandel’s new resolution shows praise to House Democrats for passing the resolution that opposed bigotry. In reference to Omar, the resolution adds that the “California Democratic Party opposes all efforts to stigmatize and suppress support for Palestinian human rights by falsely conflating it with antisemitism, whether in the unfounded attacks and even death threats against Democratic members of Congress or in the widespread efforts to shut down discussion and intimidate students on campuses around the country.”
Party officials have said that they wouldn’t discuss the private documents. While speaking to Fox News, California Democratic Party spokesman Roger Salazar said: “We won’t be commenting on resolutions that have not yet been finalized, debated or adopted.” Mandel also drafted the resolution that required party officials visiting Israel to spend time in Palestinian territories, as well. Mandel has said that the resolution was aimed at countering “Israeli-organized propaganda trips.” The resolution states: A “full, balanced understanding of the situation is crucial for officials responsible for shaping U.S. policy in the region or who might have such responsibilities in the future. The government of Israel and U.S. organizations that support it frequently invite members of Congress, state legislators and other public officials to tour Israel on subsidized trips that are clearly – and often admittedly — meant to cultivate sympathy for its policies, imparting only a partial view of the situation in Israel/Palestine.”
Another resolution states lamented the “untenable status quo – rocket firings into Israel from Gaza, regular air and artillery bombardment of Gaza neighborhoods, and sniper shootings of unarmed civilians at the fence, with hundreds of Palestinians killed and thousands wounded since March 2018.” The document “urges Congress and the administration to demand that Israel and Egypt end their blockade of the Gaza Strip in favor of immediate international involvement to restore a semblance of normal life for the area’s 2 million Palestinians while ensuring the security of all parties and advancing toward a political settlement in the region.” Mandel has said that “We need to pay more attention to this phenomenon,” referring to the rise of white supremacy. “It’s bigger than we thought,” he said.