Now Sanders has placed Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby and Princeton professor Cornel West, described by BuzzFeed as two of the “left’s most vociferous Israel critics” onto the committee responsible for drafting the official Democratic Party platform toward Israel.
Zogby has a long history of anti-Israel rhetoric. Recently, Zogby stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “shameful” and that his time as Prime Minister has been “malevolent.” He has also compared “the plight of the Palestinians” to the Holocaust:
“As our polling has consistently demonstrated, Palestine is not merely an issue, it is an existential concern that not only unites Arabs, it defines their sense of common history and their deepest feelings of betrayal by and their vulnerability in the face of Western machinations. In a real sense, the plight of Palestinians is to the Arabs, what the Holocaust is to Jews world-wide. To ignore this reality is to invite disaster.”
Cornel West has also launched repeated attacks at Israel, especially related to its ability to defend itself. West stated that Israeli actions in 2014 were a “crime against humanity.” Like Zogby, West directed tremendous vitriol at Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that there was “much blood on the hands of Prime Minister Netanyahu.” West has also been a long-time supporter of the BDS movement aimed at Israel.
While pro-Israel policies has long been one of the rare bi-partisan traditions in American politics, Sanders’ actions on the DNC platform committee shows cracks may be forming. Zogby and West’s placement in such a prominent position within the Democratic Party highlights the changing face of the Democratic Party.