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Sunday, September 09, 2012

J Street partnering with the Arab American Institute

From an account by Adam Kredo of a speech by James Zogby to a luncheon of Muslim delegates on the sidelines of the Democratic National Convention.
Zogby slammed Obama and the Democratic Party for reconsidering its exclusion of language in the party platform that specifically referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a policy declaration that appeared in both the 2004 and 2008 iterations of their platform.

The omission of several pro-Israel passages from the Democratic Party’s official platform led to widespread criticism this week, forcing party leaders to offer an amendment explicitly referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—a routine action that devolved into a floor fight among many delegates who opposed the pro-Israel measure.

Zogby, cofounder of the Arab American Institute, also dubbed the Republican Party as “the guys who want to blow up the earth and bring Jesus back.”

During his speech to Muslim leaders at the lunch, which was hosted by Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), Zogby went on to chastise the Democratic Party for capitulating to pro-Israel interests.

“When you read the language of the platform [regarding Israel] it’s inconsequential,” he said. “This is language that means almost nothing if you look at it up close.”

Referring to reports that Obama viewed the disputed platform prior to the convention, Zogby was indignant.

“When they tell us the president did it, … this guy is way to smart to do something so dumb,” Zogby said.

Zogby referred to the contentious floor fight over Israel as a net positive for Muslim Democrats.

“We got so much attention,” he said, dubbing the incident, “this Jerusalem thing.”

“When I hear all the boos, … [it] means we’re not isolated on the margins of American politics anymore,” said Zogby, who also praised the liberal fringe group J Street as his organization’s partner.

“Barack Obama shouldn’t pay the price for the blunder” of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who led the contested floor vote.
In fact, the Arab American Institute and J Street did partner to sponsor a policy forum at the Democratic National Convention. If you find anyone pro-Israel on this panel, please let me know. (You won't. The two representatives of the 'Israeli' side of the panel were J Street founder Jeremy Ben Ami and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn)).

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