Stateside,  Vote 2016

On Cornel West and the Democratic platform

Whatever respect and admiration I had for Bernie Sanders (for, among other things, putting the issues of wealth and income inequality and excessive corporate and financial-industry power front and center) is rapidly disappearing.

I’m not sure what was behind his selection of the egregious Cornel West to serve on the Democratic platform-writing committee. West has made a name for himself in recent years by denouncing Barack Obama as a war criminal and as America’s first “niggerized” president. He criticizes prominent African-Americans who support Hillary Clinton as “neoliberal politicians,” which he defined as “a politics that proceeds based on financializing, privatizing and militarizing.” He calls Clinton herself a “milquetoast neoliberal.”

Strangely enough West called Republican Sen. Rand Paul “our dear brother” when the senator appeared on a radio show he co-hosts.

What is especially disturbing to supporters of Israel (critical and otherwise) is West’s endorsement of the anti-Israel BDS campaign.

The good (or at least reassuring news) is that West will be only one of 15 members of the Democratic platform committee. And while party platforms give people who care about them a lot to squabble over, traditionally they have no detectable impact on policy.

Best of all, the chair of the platform committee is Elijah Cummings. The African-American Congressman from Baltimore is a solid friend of Israel. He founded the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel, which provides an opportunity for mostly African-American young people to spend a month in Israel and “to further historic African-American and Jewish bonds.”

The alarming suggestions that West will single-handedly write the Democratic platform are way over the top.