The Republican Party’s Platform Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved proposed language that drops any reference to the party’s longstanding support for the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the 2016 platform.
“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier,” the platform’s language on Israel, introduced by GOP delegate Alan Clemmons, 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.”
As first reported by Jewish Insider on Monday, the platform rejects the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) as “anti-Semitic in nature” 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.”
The Republicans also recognize Jerusalem as “the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state,” and calls for the American embassy in Tel Aviv to be moved to Jerusalem “in fulfillment of U.S. law.”
On Tuesday, during the second day of the Republican Party platform committee’s meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, members adopted the amended language by a unanimous vote.
“Today, we send a clear message to the tens of millions of pro-Israel voters, who must see that our party stands on faith and principle,” said Clemmons. “Our Republican support for Israel’s well being is of a paramount concern, and will not be sold out or dumbed down for the sake of petty interests, ever again.”
Clemmons insisted that the platform “does not foreclose any possible solution to the conflicts Israel faces, including the two-state proposal” if the Israeli government sees it fit “in her own superior judgment.”
Watch video of the vote here
The National Jewish Democratic Council derided the Republican platform as an effort to make Israel a wedge issue in the 2016 presidential election. “When it comes to Republican rhetoric on Israel, they can’t even find themselves to be inline with the rhetoric of the prime minister of Israel when it comes to a two state solution,” the NJDC said in a statement. “But as the GOP platform over compensates to the right on Israel, the Republican nominee still has a less than impressive pro-Israel record. As they antagonize the Jewish left and the Jewish right at the same time, Trump and the GOP have quite an unproductive marriage — at least for our community.”
J Street called the language “dangerous and irresponsible,” which would “embolden the Israeli settler movement and those who wish to annex the West Bank” and “weaken Palestinian moderates and strengthen extremists advocating violence.”
The pro-peace and leftist group also objected to the language designating the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. “Though J Street opposes the BDS Movement and recognizes that some of its members and supporters have expressed anti-Semitic attitudes and policies, we also believe that this language is far too broad and would unfairly brand many people as anti-Semites, simply because they endorse economic pressure to end the occupation,” J Street said in a statement on Tuesday.
Read the full text of the approved Israel language below:
Our Unequivocal Support for Israel and Jerusalem
“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 (“BDS”) 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.”