The 15 members of the Democratic National Committee’s platform drafting committee, named last week, include a diversity of voices surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from the steadfastly pro-Israel Wendy Sherman to Palestinian advocates James Zogby and Dr. Cornel West. Despite these differences, Sherman, a former state department ambassador who served as the lead negotiator in the Iran nuclear deal, said she is confident that the party platform will reflect the United States’ “unbreakable bond” with Israel and Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton’s support for a two-state solution.
“I think that sort of sentiment is widely held in the party, that a two-state solution is critical to ensure the security and recognize the borders of a Jewish state, Israel, free from terror, and that a Palestinian state can provide independent sovereignty where they can govern themselves in their own state,” she said.
The committee was appointed at the discretion of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but she gave candidates Clinton and Bernie Sanders six and five names respectively that they could put forward. Sherman was one of Clinton’s choices while Zogby and West were chosen by Sanders. Sherman said she thinks despite the divisions on the committee, the party will unify around Clinton’s views on the Middle East.
“I’ve known Jim Zogby for a very long time and I don’t know Cornel West well, but I do know him, and I think we will have a very good discussion,” she said. “But I think that the principles that I outlined a moment ago are really in the mainstream of Democratic Party politics and certainly the views of Secretary Clinton and I expect it will be those values that go into what is written.”
Sherman has worked in Democratic politics for more than 30 years, which includes diplomatic roles in both the Obama and [Bill] Clinton administrations in addition to prior work with the DNC during Michael Dukakis’s unsuccessful 1988 presidential campaign. She said her biggest concern this election season is Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lack of knowledge on foreign affairs, which she thinks would be “reckless and dangerous” for the country.
“He has criticized everyone from the prime minister of Great Britain to the president of Mexico, while at the same time saying that he has admiration for Mr. Putin and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, so it is very hard to know where Mr. Trump stands,” she said. “I don’t think he understands the Middle East. It’s not clear to me he understands the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel and I think that is what is most concerning as someone who has been doing national security and foreign policy for 25-30 years is that he thinks unpredictability is a good thing.