It is not any great secret that this administrations attitude towards Israel is luke warm at best downright chilly at its worst. The relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama has been even colder. So I am not surprised when I found out that the Democratic platform contained no mention of Israel anywhere in the political document.
That should have really been a non event. After all George W. Bush and the Republican 2000 platform simply stated, “The United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its Embassy and Ambassador in Jerusalem. Immediately upon taking office, the next Republican president will begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.” Which never happened. Then in 2004, “Republicans continue to support moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.” Either hardly a glowing claim of support for Israel.
What is news was the way the Democratic Party tried to correct it. With the hall almost empty Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Chair Antonio Villaraigosa walked out to the podium and attempted to get those there to vote on the changes. Three times he asked for the vote and each time the “Nays” out voiced the “Yeas.” Finally he said the Yea’s have it and the changes were passed. All of this in front of dozens of media personnel and their cameras. It was obvious that the vote had been decided before Villaraigosa even walked out to the podium. Embarrassed and amid a loud chorus of “Boo’s” he quickly walked off the stage.
If this had been done with a lot more tact and compassion, in front of a house full of delegates, this again would have probably been a non event. But to try and sneak it past everyone and then to get caught with their hands in the cookie jar is a very embarrassing moment for what till then had been a stellar convention.
Just to keep the record straight it was the Democrats who first mentioned Israel in their party’s platform in 1972 saying, “Recognize and support the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with free access to all its holy places provided to all faiths. As a symbol of this stand, the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” It took Republicans till 1980 to mention Israel by stating, “Republicans believe that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city with continued free and unimpeded access to all holy places by people of all faiths.”
Again it is not the content or lack thereof, that should have made the evening news but it was the way it was handled that has left a very bad taste in most people’s mouths, Republican and Democrat alike. Sadly though this sort of behavior has become the normal way to do business in today’s political arena.