Massachusetts Democrats reject anti-settlements plank


BOSTON (JTA) — An effort to amend the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s platform with language that calls Israel’s settlements in the West Bank “obstacles to peace” was ruled out of order at the state’s convention, ending a months-long effort to push through the controversial resolution.

The move by proponents to amend the party’s platform at the full state convention on Saturday followed a failed attempt last April to have the party adopt a resolution on “peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians” that singled out Israeli settlements in the West Bank without mention of Palestinian violence.

State party leaders and Jewish communal organizational leaders vehemently opposed the resolution, calling it unbalanced and one-sided. Its supporters, including leaders from Cambridge-based Palestine Advocacy Project, said their resolution was not a radical departure from the positions of past U.S. administrations.

The proposed resolution, submitted by a long-time party activist, stated that “Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security,” and cited a July, 2016 State Department declaration that opposed settlement activity. It called on the state’s U.S. Congressional delegation to oppose Israeli settlements in pursuing a negotiated peace.

“Today’s vote was an affirmation of the more balanced platform adopted by the National Democratic Party at its July 2016 convention,” said Rob Leikind, New England regional director of the American Jewish Committee, who applauded the vote by the state Democratic Party. In a statement, Leikind also said the resolution “would have done no more than pour more fuel on a simmering conflict.”

The resolution called for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors and declared that “Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.”

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