Last Saturday afternoon, the California Young Democrats Jewish Caucus convened in the San Diego Convention Center to hold board elections and discuss issues relevant to California’s Jewish Democrats. The meeting, one of many events during the 2018 California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego, focused on women’s issues, standing up to hate and resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The Jewish Caucus is one of several caucuses under the auspices of the California Young Democrats, a youth branch of the California Democratic Party that organizes Democrats between the ages of 18 and 35.
Featured speaker Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, the leader of ongoing investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct in the California legislature, spoke on the need to support female candidates for elected office, promote affordable housing, and protect the environment.
Re-elected caucus chair Joshua Baum, a second-year urban planning graduate student at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, expressed the caucus’s goal of opposing all forms of bigotry and, in light of the historical oppression of the Jewish people, standing up for marginalized groups.
Baum insisted that, despite growing concerns about antisemitism and anti-Zionism in the California Democratic Party, there is still a place for Jewish involvement and advocacy.
Baum acknowledged that some Jewish colleagues feel uncomfortable advocating in progressive circles of the California Democratic Party because of their unpopular support for Israel but suggested that Jewish Democrats should encourage dialog on the Israel-Palestine conflict and not shy away from publicly supporting Israel.
Baum argued that the Jewish community ought to re-frame the issue away from the binary of “pro-Israel” and “pro-Palestine” and work to prevent one-issue Jewish voters from switching to the Republican Party.
Because supporters of Israel have so far been unable to form an approved caucus under the banner of the California Democratic Party, Baum expressed his desire to organize an unofficial state-wide Democratic Jewish federation to advocate on behalf of the US-Israel alliance.