Over 30 Christian clergy and lay leaders in the United States sent letters to the National Committees of the Democratic and Republican Parties (DNC and RNC), expressing their dismay that the platforms of those parties have “been silent on the rights of Palestinians [and] on Israeli actions that undermine those rights.” The letters called for both parties to include in their platforms “clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank.”
These letters went out in May as the world prepared for the looming threat of formal Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank in the summer of 2020, and six months before a presidential election, a period when so much scrutiny is given to these parties’ platforms.
The text of the letter to the DNC is below and an identical letter was sent to the RNC.
Download this letter with all signers names
We the undersigned Christian leaders, as part of a broader interfaith effort1 respectfully urge Democratic Party leaders to ensure that the Israel/Palestine section of the Party’s platform expresses support for the security and rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. United by values common to both Jewish and Christian faith traditions, we share the view of a majority of our communities that the United States should be an honest broker in the region. We ask the Democratic Party to make this a central element of its vision for the Middle East in its 2020 Platform.
Date: June 2020
To: The Democratic National Committee2
From: Christian Faith Leaders
Subject: Israel/Palestine in the Democratic Party Platform
The actions of the Trump administration have upended decades of bipartisan US support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have provided the Israeli government with a green light to permanently reject Palestinian statehood, legitimize settlement expansion, entrench the occupation, and pave the way for annexation in the West Bank. Past party platforms have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally, in addition to embracing a two-state outcome. Those platforms have, however, also been silent on the rights of Palestinians, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.
The 2020 platform should end this double standard by expressly stating both a commitment to Israel and its security and a commitment to Palestinian rights. It should include clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank.
We ask that the platform address these issues—each of which has been exacerbated under the current administration—to make clear what a comprehensive Israel/Palestine foreign policy looks like under a future administration, which includes a commitment to security, democracy, and human rights.
2 A companion to this letter is also being conveyed to the Republican National Committee.