JStreet, a pro-Israel group fighting to end the so-called “Israeli occupation” of Palestinian territories, is urging the Democratic party to also take on the fight ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
This week, the group held it’s annual national conference in Washington, D.C. The speaker lineup included several 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls and prominent lawmakers.
Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, an organization promoting a strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel, rejected the notion that Israel “occupies” Palestinian land.
“They’ve stolen someone else’s sovereign land,” Klein told this reporter. “Of course, Judea and Samaria and Gaza were never Jordan or Egypt’s sovereign land. They captured it illegally in 1948. There’s never been a state called Palestine. This was not anyone’s sovereign land.” Moreover, the Jewish people, he said, “have a greater religious, political, and legal claim on this land than the Arabs.”
“Promoting this type of platform ignores the fact that the Palestinian-Arabs have been offered a state seven times since 1937 on that land and three times in the last 19 years alone,” Klein explained.
Most of the event’s guest speakers rejected Klein’s argument saying Israel, in fact, does illegally occupy Palestinian land. The anti-Israeli politicians and pundits called for an end to Israel’s occupation policies.
Rep. Jamila Jayapal (D-WA) said she undoubtedly supported the new J Street platform.
“I think it’s essential. We have to take it on strongly,” Rep. Jayapal said.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 30, 2019
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) went a step further, telling conference attendees he would withhold foreign aid to Israel until it improves its relationship with the Palestinians.
“My solution is to say to Israel, you get $3.8 billion every single year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.” said Sanders, “In fact, I think it is fair to say that some of that $3.8 billion should go right now into humanitarian aid in Gaza.”
The Democratic party has yet to announce its new platform and hasn’t indicated whether it would support the platform change. The J Street petition asks the party to correct its ‘silence on the rights of Palestinians, Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution and the need for security for both peoples.’
The Democratic National Committee could not be reached for comment.
Asked about our new campaign urging @TheDemocrats to #ChangeThePlatform so it includes clear opposition to the occupation, @RepJayapal says, "I think it's essential. We have to take it on strongly."#JSt2019 pic.twitter.com/axS9S8KaIx
— J Street (@jstreetdotorg) October 29, 2019
The offers for statehood included the majority of land in Gaza, in Judea and Samaria, and in East Jerusalem however, Klein said, “they turned it down every time making it clear that Israeli control over the West Bank, Judea and Samaria has nothing to do with peace.”
To this day, Palestinian leaders refuse talks with Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a recent offer by the U.S. to sit down with the Jewish state. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly this year, Abbas blamed it on the U.S. alliance with Israel and the Trump Administration’s support for a two-state solution. Abbas further attacked Israeli settlements calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “arrogant” for taking land that isn’t his.
“This is all a propaganda lie. This issue, Israeli occupation, is a propaganda lie, which the left has been successful in convincing even many Jews of this lie,” Klein said.
“The reason there’s no peace is because the Arabs will not accept Israel is a Jewish state and the Arabs will not accept not allowing the so-called refugees to move into Israel.”
ZOA has taken to Capitol Hill talking to Democrats, however, it’s been a battle for the group as, Klein said, “almost all” Jewish groups are “criticizing” the Israeli occupation making it difficult to educate lawmakers. “The major Jewish groups are significantly responsible for allowing this propaganda myth to persist and I will also blame the Israeli leadership, they’ve also allowed this propaganda myth to persist without explaining that it’s a lie,” Klein concluded.