Sherman: Dem Platform Will Reflect ‘Longstanding’ Support for Israel

In response to comments from Rep. Luis Gutierrez, appointed to the Democratic Party’s Policy Platform Committee by Hillary Clinton, about joining appointees from the Sanders campaign in seeking changes to the party’s policy language on Israel, the Clinton campaign on Friday sought to reassure Jewish voters that the platform will reflect the “longstanding strong support for Israel.”

“The Democratic Party has always, in the platform, reflected longstanding, strong support for Israel. I don’t expect that to change,” Wendy Sherman, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and a foreign policy advisor to Clinton, told Jewish Insider on Friday. “I believe that everybody is in strong support for Israel’s security and I think that Secretary Clinton views about the importance of Israel’s security and the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel is something that is held by all Democrats.”

Sherman is a member of the party’s platform drafting committee and one of six members appointed by Clinton.

Two of Bernie Sanders’ appointees to the committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, are brewing for changes to the platform’s wording about Israel, a policy that shows more sympathy for the Palestinian side of the conflict. According to a report by the Chicago SunTimes on Friday, Gutierrez, a Clinton’s appointee, also stressed that there could be room in the platform for language that “elaborates more clearly the wishes, the desires, the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their hope for justice and for peace and equality.”

In an interview with Jewish Insider, Sherman maintained that there will be “discussion” within the party over its official approach to the conflict because “Democrats believe in robust discussion.” But in the end, the long-held views of the party and Clinton’s commitment to a two-state solution will “bring together” the party and be reflected in the final draft.

“Secretary Clinton’s views in support of Israel’s security and the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel are very well known,” Sherman said, pointing to her emphasis on the Palestinians’ rights for independents while strengthening Israel’s security in a speech she delivered at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, in December 2015. “Only a two-state solution can provide Palestinian’s independence, sovereignty and dignity and provide Israelis the secure and recognized borders of a democratic Jewish state,” Clinton said. “Israelis deserve security, recognition and a normal life free from terror and Palestinian’s should be able to govern themselves in their own state in peace and dignity.”

“The Democratic platform has always, always shown incredibly strong and longstanding support for Israel,” Sherman stressed. “Secretary Clinton has been very forthright about what she believes about her support for Israel’s security and the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel. And, as she said in the Saban speech, she has laid out the importance of the two-state solution because the two-state solution ensures that Israelis have secure and recognized borders in a Democratic Jewish state – which is critical and fundamental – and it can provide Palestinians independence, sovereignty and dignity.”

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