Sen. Bernie Sanders has begun pushing the Democratic Party toward a platform fight over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a departure from his core focus on domestic economic issues that would put pressure on Hillary Clinton to handle a growing divide within her party.
The Democratic Party has long had a policy of support for Israel and its government, but consensus on that subject has frayed in recent years.
Four years ago, the floor of the Democratic National Convention erupted into boos after delegates, acting at the behest of President Obama, restored language to the party platform sought by backers of Israel. The language had been left out of an earlier draft, but White House officials wanted it restored to avoid alienating pro-Israel voters.
Since then, tensions between the administration and Israel have grown and so has unease among liberal Democrats about Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
Despite those tensions, Clinton and many party leaders are loath to show any signs of weakening support for Israel, an ally that has long been central to America’s Middle East policy and that has deep political support in the top reaches of both political parties.