Democratic Convention disasters prove Obama’s party cannot lead on Middle East peace process

The DNC controversy has proved it cannot be trusted on matters concerning Israel and the Middle East peace process

Angry convention attendees scrutinise amendment text
The Commentator
On 6 September 2012 10:44

Against the backdrop of the largely successful Republican National Convention, the Democratic Party of the United States had a lot of work to do this week.

With Michelle Obama leading the clarion calls for the ‘love of her life’, her husband Barack, to be returned for four more years, ominous signs leading up to the convention were at first thought to be nothing but opening night jitters.

But yesterday, in amongst the perfunctory and unremarkable speeches on the floor in Charlotte, North Carolina, came a bizarre moment where the party showed how at odds it is with itself over Israel and the Middle East peace process.

In 2008, the Democratic Party platform stated, “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel”, yet in 2012, the language, and position resulting from it, was suspiciously absent.

Liberal commentators have been quick to defend President Obama, insisting that it was the President’s preference to include the previous terminology. But the fact that the DNC is at war with itself on this issue proves it will command little sway on this and cannot be trusted to lead on the matter.

President Obama likely understands the full implications of upsetting the pro-Israel lobby in the US, having previously been rebuked by audiences at the AIPAC. Democratic strategists will also be fully aware of appearing unsupportive to Israel as an attack on Iran becomes more likely.

Analysts have noted that the DNC’s cowardice and confusion is a result of the breadth of the views within the party base on the issue. In the video above, delegates wearing “Yalla Vote” t-shirts and brandishing “Arab American Democrat” placards are some of the most vociferous opponents to the amendment proposed to reinstate the omitted text.

Effectively, what this proves is not that the Democratic Party have sinister motivations behind their approach to the Middle East conflict, but rather, that they are a party torn on the matter – and therefore cannot be trusted.

When the Chairman of the convention called a vote from the floor to approve the amendment, there was, for most people present and watching, no two-thirds majority (required) on the matter.

The vote had to be repeated twice more, at which point the Chairman decided that, despite it being unclear as to whether there was indeed a majority, the amendment would pass.

Following the decision, the convention floor echoed with boos and jeers, a reflection that in reality, the Democratic Party is unable to decide either way as to whether it remains a strong ally of Israel that believes in Jerusalem as its capital – or whether they are hedging their bets to placate a large number of Democratic Party voters who are either pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, or simply unsympathetic to the Jewish state.

Perhaps they’ve been reading too much of the BBC’s reporting.

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