The Boot On Their Necks: We Have To Be Able To Call It What It Is

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The mournful if logical conclusion to last week's sellout of many progressive stands - on health care, carbon tax, minimum wage, TPP, fracking - by a Clinton-surrogate-dominated Democratic platform committee was their dead-of-night refusal to condemn the Israeli Occupation, or even name it as such, despite its blatant, ongoing and  well-documented abuses of Palestinian rights. Following through on earlier indications that mainstream Democrats "wanted to make Palestinians go poof" in their platform, the vote on Israel was held last, close to 1 a.m., with little media attention. But newly surfaced video reveals the impassioned arguments by Sanders-named, Palestinian-rights members that came before.

Thus did Arab-American Institute president James Zogby argue for a host of Sanders-supported measures: To delete a pledge to oppose the "de-legitimization" of Israel by the U.N. or BDS movement, to remove a reference to Jerusalem as Israel's “undivided” capital, to call for the rebuilding of Gaza, the recognition that Palestinians “deserve security, recognition and a normal life free from violence, terror and incitement,” and “an end to occupation and illegal settlements so that (Palestinians) may live in independence, sovereignty and dignity.” "We have to be able to call it what it is," said Zogby. "It’s an occupation that humiliates people, that breeds contempt, that breeds anger and despair and hopelessness, that leads to violence.”

He was echoed by activist and BDS supporter Cornel West, who eloquently, persistently argued, "The Occupation is real." Noting that "I come from a people who’ve been hated,” he blasted a Party beholden to AIPAC that jumps to call out the racist xenophobia of Trump but ignores that of Israeli politicians, as well as the "unbelievable misery" their policies cause to Palestinians living under their thumb. Opposition to those policies, he stressed for the gazillionth time, is not the oft-cited bugaboo of anti-Semitism; it is "a struggle for justice."

Faced with a majority so Zionist-leaning that it refused to alter a by-now-surreal reference to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state” - and that left intact a U.S. pledge to subsidize Israel’s military machine - West argued in vain for members "take seriously the humanity of our Palestinian brothers and sisters” who have been "demeaned, devalued, dominated, exploited" by an Israeli Occupation to which they won't even give its rightful name. While he and the other Sanders members lost the vote, hearing them speak makes it clear they're on the right and lucid side of history. The Democratic Party, says West, "must tell the truth... We can never fully respect the Palestinians unless we can name (the) boot on their necks.”

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