J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, welcomed today the release of a new letter in which 32 leading US foreign policy professionals urge Democratic leaders to ensure that the party’s 2020 platform includes an explicit commitment to Palestinian rights alongside Israeli security, and explicit opposition to ongoing Israeli occupation and potential unilateral annexation in the West Bank.
This important and timely letter comes as a new Israeli governing agreement has likely opened the door to illegal, unilateral annexation in the West Bank — with the approval of the Trump administration — as soon as July 1. It asks that the 2020 Democratic platform “expressly state a commitment to a resolution of the conflict that ensures both Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state with equal rights for all its citizens, as well as Palestinian rights, including self-determination, security and freedom” and that it include “clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank as well as clear opposition to violence, terrorism and incitement from all sides.”
The letter’s signers include former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, former Deputy National Security Advisors Avril Haines and Ben Rhodes, former US Ambassadors to Israel Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer and many other distinguished veterans of previous administrations, as well as Democratic presidential campaigns. They write that while past platforms “have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally,” they have “also been nearly silent on the rights of Palestinians, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.”
J Street launched a campaign in October 2019 – led in part by its college arm, J Street U — urging the Democratic Party to make these updates to its platform. The campaign has garnered widespread support from College Democrat chapters, local Democratic parties and over 230 Jewish clergy and communal leaders.
“Demonstrating strong support for the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians is both smart policy and politically popular — that’s why it’s rapidly becoming a consensus position in the Democratic Party,” said J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami. “As these leading foreign policy experts make clear, it’s time for Democratic leadership to fully embrace these positions in the party platform. That can help pave the way for the next administration to successfully promote peace and to undo the tremendous damage wrought by the Middle East policies of President Trump.”