Democrats Poised for Heated Debate on Israel, Free Trade at Final Platform Meeting

Sanders and Clinton supporters continue to disagree on key issues.

— -- Democrats are gearing up for a final showdown over the party platform on Friday, where a committee will meet to approve a draft that will outline the party’s goals for the next four years. All signs are pointing to a contentious meeting, specifically over positions on free trade and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Zogby said that a proposal to revisit the platform’s language is likely to come from the floor. Zogby also added that if a certain threshold is met after such a proposal goes up for a vote and fails, it is possible for the minority to submit a report to the national convention. He said that he is not sure whether the Sanders campaign would want to submit a report if such a scenario arises, however.

The Platform Drafting Committee’s most recent draft states 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.” The words “settlements” and “occupation” do not appear in the draft.

“This issue has been with us for many years. And it’s not going away,” Zogby said to ABC, discussing where he sees the debate going in the future. “I think it will be with us for a while."

“There’s a discussion about it. That’s the important part,” Zogby added.


Rather than oppose or support the agreement, the platform draft states that “On the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), there are a diversity of views in the party. Many Democrats are on record stating that the agreement does not meet the standards set out in this platform; other Democrats have expressed support for the agreement.”

The fact that stronger language on the TPP did not make it into the platform draft was an unexpected result for members of the Platform Drafting Committee. “We were surprised it didn’t pass at the platform meeting in St. Louis,” Zogby said to ABC, referring to a St. Louis meeting of the committee where language on the platform draft was finalized. “We thought that this was an area where both campaigns agreed.” Zogby speculated that opposition to stronger language on the TPP reflected a desire from the Clinton campaign to align with President Obama’s position on the deal. “They didn’t want to embarrass the president,” Zogby said.

The Sanders campaign is rallying opposition to the TPP in these last few days before the meeting. In an opinion piece published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 3, Sanders doubled down on his opposition to both the TPP and to the platform draft’s current equivocation on the matter, writing “the Democratic Party must go on record in opposition to holding a vote on this disastrous, unfettered free-trade agreement during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond.”

ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks contributed to this report

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