As the Democratic party regroups ahead of the next election cycle, it would be wise for its leadership to examine areas where the Clinton campaign diverged from the party’s base. Israel-Palestine is one of those issues.
The number of Americans who support imposing sanctions on Israel over its defiant settlement policies has shot up to 46 percent, the same percentage of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election.
That number has shot up nearly 10 percentage points over the past year, according to a national poll published by the Brookings Institute on Friday, on the sidelines of this week’s Saban Forum, “an annual dialogue between American and Israeli leaders.”
Among Democrats, a 60-percent majority “supported imposing some economic sanctions or taking more serious action” in response to Israeli settlements, the poll found. A much smaller number of Republican respondents (31 percent) support sanctions.
The United States, like most countries in the world, opposes the existence and expansion of Israeli settlements — both in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Golan Heights. Despite that opposition, however, Washington has rarely set any consequences for Israel’s settlement policies or actions.
Out of step with the people
One of the three demands in the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), is an end to Israel’s military occupation, a step many believe would require the dismantling of the West Bank settlements.
The Brookings poll seems to indicate that nearly half of Americans, enough to elect a president, support that Palestinian demand and want their government to take action along those lines, at least with the “S” part of BDS.
Perhaps demonstrating how out of touch decision makers are with the electorate on the matter of Palestine and Palestinian rights, momentum in American government — local and national — seems to be toward limiting the tools Americans have to leverage their own economic and political power to end the occupation.
At least 22 U.S. states have legislation that punishes companies for answering the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Just this past week, the United States Senate passed a bill that includes in its definition of anti-Semitism, “[a]pplying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
Those legislative measures, meant to limit the public’s legitimate protests and discourse on Israeli human rights violations...Read More