J Street initiative calls on Democrats to oppose 'occupation, annexation'

18 College Democrat chapters and 70+ College and Young Democrat leaders have backed J Street's calls for Palestinian rights to be enshrined in the Democratic Party platform.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during the AIPAC convention at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2020. (photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during the AIPAC convention at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2020.
(photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)
More than 70 College Democrat and Young Democrat leaders have supported a Jewish students organisation in calling for the Democratic Party to formally commit to upholding Palestinian rights within its manifesto, including clear opposition to what they describe as the "ongoing occupation" of the West Bank.
18 College Democrat chapters have also supported the initiative by J Street U, which further calls upon the Democratic Party to officially oppose plans by the Israeli government to unilaterally annex parts of Judea and Samaria.
"The actions of the Trump administration have upended decades of bipartisan US support for a negotiated  two-state  solution  to  the  Israeli-Palestinian  conflict.  They  have  provided  the  Israeli government with a green light to permanently reject Palestinian statehood, legitimize settlement expansion, entrench the occupation, and pave the way for annexation in the West Bank," reads the statement signed by the student leaders, which differs marginally in wording but not in message from that endorsed by the Chapters.
While past party platforms have been supportive of Israel's right to security, it continues, they have "also been 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.
"The 2020 platform should end this double standard by expressly stating both a commitment to Israel and its security and a commitment to Palestinian rights. It should include clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank."
The statement signed by the student leaders, addressed to the Democratic National Committee also adds: "We, the undersigned Young Democrats and College Democrats leaders, respectfully urge Democratic Party leaders to ensure that the Israel/Palestine section of the Party’s platform expresses support for the security and rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. United as young people by our commitment to progressive principles, we share the view of a majority of our party that the United States be an honest broker in the region. We ask the Democratic Party to make this a central element of its vision for the Middle East in its 2020 Platform."
The wording of the proposed platform has been formally voted on and endorsed by, among others, the College Democrat federations for the state of Florida and the District of Columbia and College Democrat chapters at campuses across the country including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, the University of Indiana, the University of Michigan, Princeton, the University of Washington.
In addition, student organizers also helped to secure the formal endorsement of the Democratic Parties of Yoho County, California, and Kings County, Washington.
“From coast to coast, young Democrats who represent the future of their party are speaking out to make clear that the time has come for the DNC to make sure their platform supports Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli security,” said Matan Arad-Neeman, President of the J Street U board. “It’s vital that the party make clear that it stands against occupation and annexation — which could move forward in just a few weeks.”
The introductory text to the Trump peace plan, titled Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People reads: "The principles set forth in this Vision for Peace, ... are designed for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis and the region as a whole. ... This Vision creates a realistic Two-State solution in which a secure and prosperous State of Palestine is living peacefully alongside a secure and prosperous State of Israel in a secure and prosperous region.
It adds: "The Palestinians deserve a better future and this Vision can help them achieve that future. Palestinian leaders must embrace peace by recognizing Israel as the Jewish state, rejecting terrorism in all its forms, allowing for special arrangements that address Israel’s and the region’s vital security needs, building effective institutions and choosing pragmatic solutions. If these steps are taken and the criteria set forth in this Vision are satisfied, then the United States will support the establishment of a Palestinian State."