Why are Democrats afraid to say Israel is occupying the West Bank?

An Israeli soldier points his weapon during clashes with Palestinians in the village of Kafr Qaddum near the Jewish settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank on Aug. 2. (photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/ AFP /Getty Images)
Timid language doesn’t help the peace process.

By Nathan Hersh | Washington Post | Aug 5, 2019

This is not the first time Democrats have shied away from using the term ‘occupation.’

Last month, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) amended a resolution initially drafted by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) that supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The changes she made to the bill, H.R. 326, removed references to Israel’s occupation and West Bank settlement growth.

This is not the first time Democrats have shied away from using the term “occupation.” In 2016, the party rejected an amendment to its platform that would have condemned the occupation. More recently, the Democratic Majority for Israel, founded this year by major party veterans to reaffirm the bipartisan nature of support for Israel in Congress, fails to mention the occupation even once in its nearly 500-word mission statement. In response to a question about the occupation from the left-wing Jewish activist group IfNotNow, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke didn’t say the word “occupation” at all.

It took less than a week for Israel to prove why Bass’s amendments and the failure to openly name the occupation are dangerous mistakes: On July 22, Israel demolished the Palestinian community Wadi Hummus in the village Sur Baher, which was under construction east of the rest of the village and well within Palestinian territory. The occupation may be the status quo, but it isn’t static.

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