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Sanders returns Palestine to the centre of the political debate in the US

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Last month, leading Israeli journalist Tal Schneider told a teleconference hosted by Americans for Peace Now that the issue of the occupation and Palestinian rights has almost vanished from the Israeli political conversation. In previous years, it loomed heavy over nearly every election campaign.

The shift in Israeli politics has had a direct impact on America, where the issue of Palestinian rights, the occupation and peace based on compromise — the “two-state solution” — has also been marginalised or framed merely as an aspect of alleged anti-Semitism, or even the action against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.

Powerless Israel facing BDS – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

This week, Bernie Sanders announced that he would again seek the Democratic Party nomination for President in 2020, and that announcement alone ensures that the issue of Palestine will return to centre stage. The question is, are Palestinian activists prepared or even capable of exploiting that eminent refocus to turn it into gain?

The US Senator from Vermont is Jewish and was pushed out of the Democratic primary contest for President in 2016 in an orchestrated Party takeover led by rival Hillary Clinton with the support of the Democratic National Committee. Many of Donald Trump’s supporters at the time were independents and even conservative Democrats who back Sanders, and were angry with the way in which Clinton manipulated the election to cripple the Senator’s candidacy.


© Middle East Monitor