The Democratic Party and the Betrayal of the Jews

There are few people on the planet more prone to self-delusion than progressive-left Jews. A glance at the Democratic Party platform changes on the subject of Israel between today and 2008 is highly instructive. It tells us that the Democratic Party has, for all intents and purposes, betrayed the Jewish people, yet progressive-left Jews will continue pretending that nothing has changed.

The Elder of Ziyon has a comparison between the Democratic Party platform of 2008 versus the platform of today and the differences are very significant. Let’s go through them, shall we? I will highlight what was written in 2008, but deleted in 2012.

our strongest ally in the region

In 2008 the Democrats considered Israel to be our strongest ally in the region, but do so no longer. I wonder just who is America’s strongest ally in the region? Is it Egypt? Is it Saudi Arabia? By “strongest” they mean friendliest and most dependable. So, now, just what country in that region is a stronger ally to the US?

Whatever country deserves that designation, the Democrats have decided that Israel is no longer it. Don’t you think that this might mean something? Don’t you think that it might mean something to Jewish Democrats to know that their political party no longer considers Israel to be America’s strongest ally in the region?

right to self defense

The 2008 reference to Israel’s right to self defense was deleted in the 2012 version. What can this possibly mean? Does it mean that the Democratic Party no longer believes that Israel has a right to self-defense? I find that rather difficult to believe, yet they removed that reference from the current platform.


In my experience wandering throughout the progressive-left blogosphere and news media it is very clear that many, many progressives conceive of Jewish self-defense as a form of aggression. Is this attitude now spreading into the Democratic Party as a whole? It’s hard to know, but there must be some reason why the Democrats have removed that reference to Israel’s right to self-defense.

The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.

It’s not particularly surprising that the Democrats no longer wish to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism. Barack Obama, after all, helped usher the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt and the Brotherhood is the father organization of Hamas. In other words, Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza and the Democrats are now informing us that they no longer wish to isolate that organization.

It’s good to know, because we need to understand just who we are voting for and just who we may be voting against. The Democrats sat down in committee and removed the above language from their 2012 platform.

Again, why?

Does the Democratic Party no longer consider Hamas a terrorist organization and, if not, shouldn’t the Jewish people be made aware this? Or, if I am mistaken and the Democratic Party still considers Hamas a terrorist organization then why has the language above been removed from the platform?

should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.

Can anyone possibly explain to me just why the Democrats would remove this language? Do they honestly now believe that millions of Palestinian “refugees” should be allowed to flood the Jewish state of Israel? And if not, why did they change this part of the platform? What are we to make of this? Or are we simply to ignore it?

Whatever the reason behind this reversal it clearly demonstrates that the Democrats are rethinking their fundamental relationship with, or stance toward, the Jewish state of Israel.

Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.

This was taken out and then put back in above the will of Democratic Party delegates who clearly did not give its reinstatement the two-thirds voice-vote necessary to do so. The party bosses stuck it back in out of electoral practicality.

It should seem obvious to any but the most blind political partisans that when a major American political party changes its platform in ways that are both fundamental and negative toward Israel, that this has meaning for the relationship between the party and that country.

It tells me very clearly that the Democratic Party has, at least in some measure, betrayed their Jewish constituency.

What I still do not understand, really, is just why so many Jewish liberals or “progressives” just absolutely fail to acknowledge what is before their very eyes. Over the last few years, as I have developed my criticisms of the left, I have usually been sure to suggest that the problem was with progressive-left activist and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic Party.

I now have to start wondering if the anti-Zionist / Israel Hating trend is not burrowing its way into the party more generally.

The changes in party platform would certainly indicate, sadly, that this is the case.  We have to acknowledge the obvious.  I may come out of the progressive-left in the United States, but I will not allow either political partisanship, nor ideological predisposition, from blinding me to the obvious fact that my former political home is becoming more and more hostile to Israel, if not to Jews, more generally.

‘Tis a shame.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at