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Democrats for Israel Elects New Board, Honors Congressman Schiff and Carpenter’s Union Political Director John Hanna at Garden Party Fundraiser.   Democrats for Israel held its 26th annual Garden Party event at Lantern House in Venice in September. Over 50 attended the event which saw the election of a new board including Andrew Lachman as President, Rami Frankel as Vice President, Michelle Elmer as Vice President and election of a board including Ryan Hughes, Leeor Alpern, Nitzan Harel, Amanda Mintz, Micha Lieberman, David Turkell and Brandon Abraham, Sunny Zia and Max Kanin.  We thanked outgoing President Ryan Hughes, Vice President Elise Weinberg and past President Paul Kujawsky for their dedication and service to the board.

California Democratic Party Update –  CDP Passes Resolutions reiterating support for two state solution, calling for Israel, Palestinians to return to the peace table and condemning Racism and Anti-Semitism in Charlottesville.  At the August California Democratic Party Executive Board Meeting in Anaheim, CA, the party passed two Democrats for Israel sponsored resolutions.  The first reiterated the party’s support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and called for both parties to meet their obligations and return to the table to discuss peace.  It passed despite efforts by Jewish Voices For Peace and pro-BDS activists to deny that the Palestinians had any responsibility or role in moving peace forward.   The second resolution was a better example of how things could be if the parties worked together.  Democrats for Israel, the California Democratic Party African American Caucus and the California Democratic Party Arab American Caucus joined together to draft a resolution “Condemning Racism, White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism And Islamophobia At The “Unite The Right Rally” in Charlottesville.”    The final versions can be found here. Democrats for Israel also commends norther California activists for drafting and helping to pass a resolution that condemned both Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as hate speech at the November meeting.

Palestinians/BDS Advocates Make Poor Choices for Heroes – Glorifying Teenager, Mother That Assaulted Soldiers.  It has been said that the Palestinians never lose and opportunity to lose an opportunity – whether it was overplaying their hand with President Obama or walking away from the peace table at Camp David in 1999.  The allies for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement show the same lack of judgment.  In their efforts to build support for Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391, a bill that would bar the spending of U.S. aid to Israel on detaining Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank BDS activist chose to make a hero of “Amed Tamimi” a 16 year old arrested for badgering and then slapping an Israeli Defense Force soldier near her home. Despite the fact that the teenager instigated an unprovoked attack on law enforcement,  Anti-Israel websites like Mondoweiss, published blogs painting her as the victim because she was taking the action in response to the injury of her cousin who was throwing stones at soldiers earlier in the year and claiming Tamimi was hit first, claiming she engaged in the “relatively gentle pushing.”  However, the video they posted to support their point clearly shows Tamimi instigating the attack aggressively.  Tamimi’s history of taping her attacks goes back several years, engaging in a pattern of antagonizing IDF soldiers trying to get them to attack her or other children on video.  To be clear, children are often mistreated and used as pawns in international conflicts.  There may be genuine need for greater accountability by police forces, including the IDF regarding their treatment of children.  However,  making a hero of a teenager who repeatedly engages in acts of violence against others is not the best way of making this argument, just as the same BDS activists tried to make a victim out of a Palestinian mother who detonated gas canisters at a checkpoint while shouting terrorist slogans as part of a misinformation campaigninstituted by disaffected Palestinian youth activists who are understandably frustrated at the lack of progress for peace by their own corrupt leadership.

On the Recognition of Jerusalem by President Trump. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for some time.  The Knesset, located in the western portion of the city, has been there since 1966 and the Kotel has been an integral part of Israeli identity since it was liberated for Jordanian control in 1967.  However, we also realize that there are parts of Jerusalem that are an integral part of Palestinian identity as well, including neighborhoods surrounding the northern and eastern parts of the Old City that are still predominately Arab in population, character and identity.  The decision regarding what is Jerusalem and which parts should be allocated where were supposed to be a part of a peace negotiation, and the U.S. decision was authorized in legislation in order to promote that discussion.   While the Trump announcement does not foreclose such a negotiation or draw final borders, the symbolism in a region where symbolism often takes on more importance than substance can make moving such a process forward more difficult.  Democrats for Israel supports the right of Israel to determine where it’s capital is, but also prefers to see both sides undertake real commitments to peace over meaningless symbolic gestures at the behest of non-Jewish communities with an interest in the region other than that of peaceful co-existence.