Four years ago, South Carolina Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) went to the Republican National Convention as a delegate on the Credentials Committee.
Today, he says it was a "watershed moment" for him.
Clemmons' love of Israel goes beyond his biblical understanding. He also has lifelong friends in the Jewish homeland, some of whom serve in its top legislative body, the Knesset.
And, as a member of the Israel Allies Caucus, he is among the top legislators in the country when it comes to supporting Israel. The bill he crafted in the South Carolina House of Representatives has become a model for similar bills across the country.
He wanted to see similar language added to the national GOP platform.
"I arrived a few days earlier to be a spectator and to assist some of my fellow South Carolina delegates on the Platform Committee with language that would provide strong support for Israel," he said. "But, while attending the subcommittee, it became painfully obvious very quickly what was happening."
Operatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee were simultaneously advancing their own language that had the opposite aim, advancing ideas espoused in the 1994 Oslo Accords and the "Two State Solution." The language Clemmons sought to advance, biblically based on the Abrahamic Covenant, lost out that day.
But it didn't lose out Monday.
"It went very well today," he said. "It's been a long time in coming—I've been looking forward to this day for four years."
Clemmons' language advanced by a 14-2 vote in the subcommittee and was scheduled for a vote by the full Platform Committee on Tuesday. That language states:
Like the United States of America, the modern state of Israel is a country born from the aspiration for freedom, and standing out among the nations as a beacon of democracy and humanity. Beyond our mutual strategic interests, Israel is likewise an exceptional country that shares our most essential values. It is the only country in the Middle East where freedom of speech and freedom of religion are found. Therefore, support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans' strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel. We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state, and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law.
We reaffirm America's commitment to Israel's security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries. We support Israel's right and obligation to defend itself against terror attacks upon its people, and against alternative forms of warfare being waged upon it legally, economically, culturally and otherwise. We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier, and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel. Therefore, we call for effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner.
The U.S. seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peach in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region. We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so. Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.
"I believe this language is more in keeping with the base of the Republican Party and its support for Israel," Clemmons said. "There were some amendments offered to soften the language up to be a little less supportive of Israel, in my opinion—by the two who voted against it—but they were quickly dispensed with."
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