Jewish PAC presses Republicans to call West Bank ‘Jewish homeland’

Iron Dome Alliance seeks recognition of area as ‘indigenous’ to Israel

The city of Ma'ale Adumim, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The city of Ma'ale Adumim, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

WASHINGTON — A Jewish political action committee is seeking to get the Republican Party platform to recognize the West Bank as an “indigenous” part of the Jewish homeland.

“The Land of Israel is the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people by right and by law and we oppose any measures to force, coerce or otherwise impose a security ‘solution’ or artificial borders on the Jewish state,” says the language proposed by Iron Dome Alliance. “We recognize an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Judea and Samaria as integral parts of the indigenous Jewish homeland.”

The “Land of Israel” generally refers to the State of Israel and territories it controls. Judea and Samaria are the biblical names commonly used in Israel to designate the West Bank, an area where Israel has expanded Jewish settlement over the decades but which it has never formally annexed. Israel has annexed Jerusalem and, unlike in the West Bank, has extended some rights conferred on Israelis to its Palestinian residents.

The Iron Dome Alliance released the language on June 16, offering it for incorporation into both major parties’ platforms. Its chairman, Jeff Ballabon, told the Forward Wednesday that its emphasis would be on the Republican Party, in part because the party is more attuned to conservative pro-Israel positions and in part because the presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is an iconoclast.

“Someone who likes to succeed won’t agree to go down the road of something that has failed and failed again and again,” said Ballabon, a longtime Republican activist in the Orthodox Jewish community, told the newspaper. “The idea of taking a new look at this is very important.”

The Republican Party currently favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, albeit in terms – like those in the current Democratic Party platform – that frame it as key to Israel’s security and well-being.

The Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee is grappling with proposals, backed by appointees named by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to make the language more sympathetic to Palestinian concerns.

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