Perhaps it’s already old news in the fast-moving 5-second sound byte news cycle of American mainstream journalism, but when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa announced to the Democratic National Convention that delegates had approved, by a two-thirds voice vote this past week, the inclusion of God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the Democratic platform this past week, there was something left indelibly in the minds of those of us who still have a little respect for democratic process.
Anyone who listened to the audibles of the vote both aye and nay could barely distinguish any difference at all between them, and Villaraigosa’s bold-faced tyranny in ramming through this change in the Democratic platform is simply icing on an old cowpie that has long been recognized by most of us as the long dead and decaying corpse of the Democratic party. One delegate was so enraged that he left the convention and said he was joining the Occupy movement. It would have made me want to move to another country.
Villaraigosa naturally laid responsibility for this decision at the feet of our illustrious President, Barack Hussain Obama. “The president of the United States and the leader of my party asked me to do this, and so I’m proud I have a president who believes God and Jerusalem should be in the platform, and so do I,” Villaraigosa said. “Wow.’ He informed us the president told him, ‘You showed why you were speaker of the California Assembly,’” Villaraigosa added “The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that.” Decisive and corrupt, perhaps?
Such a change requires a two-thirds vote by delegates. Before declaring the amendments approved, Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, called for a voice vote three times. When challenged by reporters that they could hear no marked difference between the two votes, he said, “That’s nice to know. I was the chairman and I did, and that was the prerogative of the chair.”
Any delegate, he said, who objected to the process could have made a formal challenge within 10 minutes of the vote and obviously did not. I think that should raise some eyebrows about just how orchestrated this whole charade is, indicating that however much they disapproved of the inclusion of these clauses in the platform, it’s apparent that they had all been intimidated into following orders. In addition, one could easily infer from all of this that Villaraigosa was following prompts directly from an audio signal jammed in his ear. The violation of the two thirds rule was a significant risk that could have created a major brouhaha for the convention.
United States acting State Department deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell was later asked by a reporter: “Which city does the U.S. Government recognize as the capital in the – Israel?
Well, as you know,” Ventrell answered, “longstanding Administration policy, both in this Administration and in previous administrations across both parties, is that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. So that’s longstanding Administration policy and continues to be so.”
In an article in the Daily Beast entitled, Hurricane “Jerusalem” Hits the DNC, Daniel Seidemann writes, “45 years after the Six Day War and 12 years after Camp David, the only place that Jerusalem remains the eternal, undivided capital of Israel is in the fantasies of the ideological right in Israel and the United States.”
This collision of official U.S. state policy with Obama’s alleged personal ideosyncrasies is nothing more than a gambit for political gain and nothing more than that. No one expects this to shape U.S. foreign policy toward Israel or affect ongoing negotiations, and an undivided Jerusalem would be even greater provocation towards Palestinians It’s an attempt to pander to U.S. Zionist tastes with no intended impact upon the real state of U.S. involvement in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Writer Ben Shapiro wrote, ” President Obama has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and neither has his spokesperson or State Department. He has never taken a public position against the so-called “right of return,” which would destroy Israel as a Jewish state. And he has publicly stated that Israel should use the 1949 armistice lines as the baseline of any future negotiations. This was obviously a political move designed to prevent disillusioned Jewish voters from leaving the Democratic voters in droves. If Jews are smart — and if they watch this tape — they’ll realize that the base of the Democratic Party simply does not support Israel, even if the DNC quashes their votes.”
It is believed that Democrats will reinstate their 2008 language, which reads:
The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.
Shapiro is far more cogent in saying, “Listen to all of you fools taking the bait on this one. You sound like a bunch of kids for crying out loud. You’re worried about Jerusalem? Why not worry about Camden, NJ or Detroit, MI or Chicago, IL? No, no no, lets worry about whether the word Jerusalem gets uttered by a Democrat.. I bet the bulk of you couldn’t find Jerusalem on a map. Now lets get to the other part, the word God. Who gives a flying about whether they use the word or not? Keep your eyes on the prize folks; NDAA, Patriot Act, Fast & Furious, SOPA, PIPA, Internet kill switch, Al Qaeda working alongside NATO in the middle east, drones being used domestically, etc, etc, etc. You have your priorities mixed up pretty bad.”
Little can be added to that, which fundamentally explains very clearly why Progressives have become so alienated from Democrats in general. It’s time for Americans on the left to weigh seriously their third party options.
Paul Barrow is US based writer, activist and founder of a policy group www.unitedprogressives.org.
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