Leaked DNC email: Sanders’ attempt to moderate Israel stance “disturbing,” Clinton campaign used it to “marginalize Bernie”

“The Israel stuff is disturbing,” wrote Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a DNC email released by WikiLeaks

Published July 22, 2016 4:30PM (EDT)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (AP/Lynne Sladky)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (AP/Lynne Sladky)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, called the attempt by the Bernie Sanders campaign to moderate the party’s stance on Israel “disturbing.”

A top DNC official also noted that the Hillary Clinton campaign used Israel “to marginalize Bernie.”

This is according to an email released by Wikileaks. The whistleblowing journalism organization released approximately 20,000 DNC emails on Friday.

dnc email israel disturbing

In one of the messages, from May 19, DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda sent Wasserman Schultz a link to the Washington Post article “DNC to offer Sanders a convention concession.” The piece revealed that the Sanders campaign was going to push the party to adopt “a more balanced position regarding Israel and Palestinians.”

The Post report noted that Sanders’ push for a more “even-handed” stance on the illegal Israeli occupation “has made some of Clinton’s backers nervous.”

“The Israel stuff is disturbing,” Wasserman Schultz wrote in response to the article. The DNC chair is a longtime Clinton ally, and served as co-chair for Hillary's 2008 presidential campaign.

Miranda replied noting Hillary for America, the Clinton campaign, “specifically pushed that part of it.” He said this seems to be the case based on what the Post reporter told DNC Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach, who was also cc’ed in the message.

Wasserman Schultz asked a question of clarification. Miranda explained: “The Israel plank… they see it as an ideal issue to marginalize Bernie on.”

In a follow-up message, the DNC chair also linked to an op-ed in the Post titled "Sanders’s scorched-earth campaign is a gift to Trump." This piece accuses Sanders of carrying out "scorched-earth attacks against the Democratic Party," which "will succeed in only one thing: electing Donald Trump as president." Wasserman Schultz did not comment on the article; she simply sent the link to Miranda.

In the debates over the Democratic platform in June, the members of the drafting committee appointed by Clinton opposed efforts by Sanders’ surrogates to adopt language calling for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of and settlements on Palestinian land.

James Zogby, a Sanders appointee, emphasized in regard to Israel, “The treatment of people of Arab descent just going there is discriminatory, the people who live there suffer horrific discrimination. We have to be able to call it what it is. It’s an occupation that humiliates people.”

Scholar and activist Cornel West, another Sanders’ surrogate, slammed the platform for refusing to condemn Israel’s illegal activities. “It is an occupation, occupation is evil,” West stressed.

By Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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