“Bernie Sanders’ goal is to transform the Democratic Party, which is already a European style social-democratic party, into a full-fledged vehicle for socialism.” So says Ron Radosh, and I agree.
By running so well against Hillary Clinton, Sanders has made significant progress towards accomplishing this goal. As Radosh explains, “worried about keeping the support of Bernie’s people after her nomination is wrapped up, Clinton is being forced to tilt further to the left than she would like, making it much harder for her to shift back to the center in the general election campaign.”
The extent of this constraint is manifest not just from the five leftists Sanders has been able to place on the platform committee, but also from some of her own selections and those of Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Radosh provides the details.
What strikes me most about Sanders’ selections is their deep animus towards Israel, and support of the Palestinian Authority and even Hamas. Many decades ago, when Sanders worked at an Israeli kibbutz, socialism and Zionism were first cousins. Now, they seem incompatible.
Sanders placed James Zogby, Cornel West, and Keith Ellison on the platform committee. Here is Radosh on Zogby:
In 1996, Zogby’s group sponsored a rally at which protesters held signs saying: [Israeli Prime Minister Shimon] Peres and Hitler are the Same — The Only Difference is the Name.
In 2011, Zogby said the Palestinians are suffering their own “Holocaust.” Zogby supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), [note: a global campaign to delegitimize Israel]. He calls it “a legitimate and moral response to Israeli policy” and to Israel’s “bullying tactics.”
Zogby told the Washington Post that his aim is to draft a platform that meets the needs of both Palestinians and Israelis, but from his own work it is most clear he is an enemy of the current Israeli government. He is also a fierce critic of the mainstream view about which group in the Middle East is responsible for the failure of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis over the past few decades.
Cornel West is best known as a race man. But he’s also a leading BDS activist. He has said, inanely, that the Gaza Strip is “the ‘hood on steroids.” And in 2014, he wrote that the crimes of Hamas “pale in the face of the U.S. supported Israeli slaughters of innocent civilians.”
Power Line readers will be familiar with Rep. Ellison. A Muslim, Ellison is a ferocious critic of Israel.
Ellison undoubtedly will stand with Zogby and West in pushing to implement a strong anti-Israel stance in the official Democratic Party platform. They will be joined by Rep. Barbara Lee, whom Wasserman Schultz placed on the committee. Lee is virulently anti-Israel. Radosh reminds us that she spoke — along with Ellison — against a resolution condemning the horribly biased 2009 UN report on the Gaza war, a resolution supported by the Israeli government and the mainstream of the American pro-Israel community.
Radosh predicts that these anti-Israel zealots will carry the day in the platform committee on the issue of Israel. Whether they do or not, their views are, or soon will be, ascendant in the Democratic Party.
Clinton will probably try to distance herself from an anti-Israel platform plank, but this won’t be easy. And given Sanders’ strong showing, she can ill afford to distance herself appreciably from the inevitable domestic radicalism of the platform.
As Radosh concludes:
The forthcoming far-left platform might satisfy Bernie Sanders’ deluded young followers, but will assure a further loss of support for the Democrats from centrists and independents.