Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Democratic Party’s New Pro-Hamas Platform


How bad would a second Obama term be for Israel? Really, really bad.

The campaign is generally not the time that crucial voting groups get thrown under the bus, but the Democratic Party’s new platform gives us a peek at what the next four years will be like if Israel’s best friend in the White House since Jimmy Carter gets another four years.
There were significant rumors of backdoor contacts between the Obama Administration and Hamas all along. Still Obama did not openly cross that threshold in Term 1. In Term 2, it’s another story.
The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.
That’s from 2008′s platform. It’s completely absent from the current platform where the word Hamas does not appear. Period.

And let’s be clear here, Obama has not had any problem breaking campaign promises. Hamas not being mentioned in the platform means that the next term will see open contacts between the United States and Hamas.

Here is what the language from the 2008 platform becomes in the 2012 platform. “We will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.”

“Any” partner is significant. The standard assumption was that the Palestinian Authority under Fatah was the default partner. That’s gone now. The generic “partner” represents an end of exclusivity for the PA and a shift to Hamas. The language is a blank space into which any “partner” can now fit. The old language for Hamas has now become the default language for a Palestinian “partner”, yet to be named, but clearly meant to be Hamas.
The three demands, right to exist, rejection of violence and adherence to existing agreements, sound reasonable, but they’re meaningless. The US decided that Fatah met all three, even though it spent a decade violating all three. “Existing agreements” rather than “Past agreements” is also a significant goal-shift.

Language about Jerusalem remaining the capital of Israel and no Right of Return has also disappeared from the new platform, which means that the new Obama paradigm is Israel being pressured to negotiate with Hamas over the status of Jerusalem while accepting at least half the so-called refugees.

The most significant differences, once you strip away all the rhetoric, comes in terms of specific commitments. The 2008 platform had a number of specific commitments. The most significant ones were “Peace-Supportive Commitments”, assurances from the United States that limit the scope of concessions that Israel will be asked to make.

For example when the 2008 DNC platform said, “l understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. ” This was a way of reassuring Israel that if it continues negotiating, it will not lose its shirt.

These commitments were almost meaningless and destructive, because the United States did not actually abide by them. But removing them is a signal that Obama 2.0 will not make any commitments to Israel in return for continued negotiations, besides some of the usual joints arms development and sales that are popular with Congressmen and Senators with defense industries in their districts.

The new platform has some soothing language for the pro-Israel crowd, but few specific commitments. It’s all wordplay. And if this is what’s in the platform, imagine how bad the reality will be.

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