Israel, Politics

J Street: Tell Congress that peace is an American security interest

J StreetA public service announcement from J Street: There is a letter in Congress led by Reps. Bill Delahunt (MA), Ron Kind (WI), David Price (NC), and Vic Snyder (AR) supporting J Street’s positions which is near a critical mass of co-signers. It is positively framed in support of negotiations and the role this conflict plays in the region as a whole. As the Jewish establishment portrays the Jewish community as against Obama, this is the time to call Congress and say we support two states and we support negotiations now.
All it takes is one minute to make the call. Full text of letter below the jump.

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As steadfast advocates of the unbreakable U.S. commitment to the security of Israel, we write in support of your strong commitment to a Middle East peace process that results in Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.
Distinguished leaders with decades of military service in both the United States and Israel have concluded that the continued lack of resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict threatens the security interests of both countries. General David H. Petraeus, Commander of U.S. Central Command, presented compelling testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March on the impact that, in his words, “insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace” has had on American security interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Specifically, General Petraeus stated that “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance [U.S.] interests in the [region]…. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment…Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas.”
Senior national security leaders in Israel have expressed similar views. Former Prime Minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel’s most decorated military leader, has stated that “The lack of a solution to the problem of border demarcation within the historic Land of Israel…is the most serious threat to Israel’s future.” In the words of Defense Minister Barak, “the reality is that there is a profound need, which stems from Israel’s interests to ensure its future and its identity. We have an interest in drawing a border line which includes a solid Jewish majority for generations, and beside it an economically and politically viable Palestinian state. The agreement on this line will come hand in hand with protecting Israel’s security interests.”
As legislators tasked with safeguarding America’s security – and as friends of Israel committed to our ally’s survival and prosperity – we share the views of these decorated military leaders and urge you to continue your strong efforts to bring U.S. leadership to bear in moving the parties toward a negotiated two-state solution. A just and sustainable end to this conflict will not only secure Israel’s future as a democratic, Jewish homeland – it will also enhance our ability to confront the threats posed by Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other actors in the Middle East, and advance critical U.S. security interests in the region more broadly.
Thank you for your time and attention, and we look forward to your response.

33 thoughts on “J Street: Tell Congress that peace is an American security interest

  1. Was it J Street’s thinking that even a perfunctory acknowledgment of the humanity of Palestinians would be a nonstarter for U.S. congressional representatives? We live in Sodom.

  2. Eric,
    Considering the fact that the US has been facilitating the conflict for decades, I consider it long past time to start doing the opposite. What are you holding out for?

  3. I agree with Kyleb. The US has spent decades facilitating violent Palestinian nationalism. Abbas and Fayaad have no legitimacy or credibility to make a deal, as they showed in September 2008, much less enforce one, with or without Dayton’s boys. The odds are 50/50 they’ll both be hanging by their necks in Mughrabi square before the year is out.

  4. You don’t agree with me, as while I’m opposed the violent nationalism on both sides, you’re obviously intent on waving your finger at one side while excusing the other.

  5. You’re right, kyleb (yet another point of agreement between us!). So, I don’t agree with you, as I consider violent Palestinian nationalism to be the main problem, but then you agree with me that violent Palestinian nationalism IS a problem.
    For the record, I also don’t think there can be peace until Palestinian women stop treating their Russian maids as slaves.

  6. We both know we disagree with each other on these matters, and I’d appreciate if you you could refrain from your compulsion to misrepresent me by suggesting otherwise. Is that too much to ask?
    Regardless, singling out one side as if they constitute an independent problem, rather merely a part of problem, is absurd. It’s doubly absurd to point the finger at Palestinians here, as were it not for the Zionist movement having set it’s sights on the region, they’d surely have gotten their independence long ago, just as the rest of the League of Nations mandates did. But again, I understand that you have to engage in such absurdities to cast blame on one side while excusing the other, just as the extremists on the other side do.

  7. Huh. You said you hold violent Palestinian nationalism responsible, at least in part. However, you only mention the “Zionist movement having its sights on the region” as the cause of Palestinian statelessness. Interesting. So, both sides are to blame, but really it’s the Jews, right? Sorry, the “Zionists”.
    I mean, let’s be honest here, you’ve never offered a single criticism of the Palestinian Authority on Jewschool. Is that really so much to ask? I don’t know a single Palestinian that holds the PA blameless, at least for something. Yet, for you, it’s the Zionist “sights on the region”, and no one else, that’s at fault.
    But again, I understand that you have to engage in such absurdities to cast blame on one side while excusing the other, just as the extremists on the other side do. As a certain three year old that I know would say, “yucky”.

  8. If not for “the Zionist movement having set it’s sights on the region” there’d be no such thing as a Palestinian people, and certainly not “Palestinian independence”.

  9. Anonymouse,
    Both sides share blame in the conflict, but the Zionist movement setting its sights on the region started the conflict. Also, the vast majority of Zionists, both then and now, are WASPs rather than Jews.
    Just the fact that they weren’t called Palestinians then does nothing to change the fact that they’ve been living in the region long before the Zionist movement set its sights on it.

  10. If not for “the Zionist movement having set it’s sights on the region” there’d be no such thing as a Palestinian people, and certainly not “Palestinian independence”.
    Well we’ll never really know now, will we?
    But had there been no large scale Zionist movement to the region the Ottomans, and later the British, called Palestine, yes, there would have been an independent Palestinian people. “Palestinian people” would have likely have been defined differently (much like Arizonan defines any resident of the land currently called Arizona). But there’s no reason to believe that this particular locale would have remained under British control indifinitely, had it not been for the Jews.

  11. Rather, had it not been for the Zionist Jews, and multiple times that number of Zionists WASPs who also supported the movement; Palestine would surely have gained it’s independence much like the other League of Nations mandates did. It seems many aren’t aware of the fact that when the Zionist movement first set it sights on Palestine, the vast majority of Jews weren’t Zionists, and the vast majority of Zionists weren’t Jews. Also, many seem oblivious to the fact that the latter holds true even today.

  12. the vast majority of Zionists, both then and now, are WASPs rather than Jews
    Why is that a problem for you, kyleb? The Bedouins aren’t Levantine, but they get to write blank checks to sponsor violent Palestinian nationalism (after themselves denying it until 1964).
    As a sidenote, I always found people who deal with Zionism as an ongoing ideology to be stuck in the past. The goals of Zionism have been achieved in full. The ideology has run its course. By conflating the historical Zionist movement with the myriad political and religious movements in Israel, one distorts the reality of the situation, as you’re doing now.

  13. Here in reality, there are tens of millions of Zionists around the world today, with the ongoing goal of further colonization of the West Bank. Also, the fact that most Zionists aren’t Jews isn’t a problem for me, but rather its a problem for the “it’s the Jews” nonsense you attempted to strawman me with. Why is honesty such a problem for you, Anonymouse?

  14. Further “colonizing” an area smaller than Delaware? That sounds like one heck of a “colonization” program. Next thing you know they’ll be “colonizing” a tomato garden. Or nudist colonies.
    But just you wait, I tell ya’ — the second those crafty Zionists get free, they’ll start “colonizing” Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Belgium, the Philippines and then…..the WORLD!

  15. Further colonizing a region inhabited by millions of people who’ve been denied civil rights for decades now as that colonization has progressed. I take it you get some sort of deranged pleasure out of the situation, eh?

  16. Who is denying Palestinians civil rights in Gaza? Who is denying Palestinians civil rights in Ramallah? You’re really not in touch with reality, kyleb.

  17. Uh, the right to life? The right to buy chocolate and build homes without being approved through a foreign border control? Anonymouse, you have a very limited view of rights. Hamas has plenty of culpability for squelching civil and human rights.

  18. The right to life? Chocolate is a fundamental right now? KFJ, you must mean the right to a fun life, and last I heard, there was no shortage of chocolate in Ramallah, or bread in Gaza. We’ve had this conversation before. There are huge Palestinian villas being built in Yesha. There is building going on all over the place. There is an entire new city that is being built near Sinjil.
    Why do you single out Hamas? You think Fatah does not jail, torture, execute, beat and use its bureaucracy to destroy lives? The new city being built, Rawabi, is built on private Palestinian land. I know one family who owns a large part of that land. The PA hounded them for years to sell it. They put pressure on them like you wouldn’t believe, denied the entire family access to services, schooling, construction, documents, threatened to kill people, to judge against the family in clan disputes. And who is going to live in this city? Are they resettling poor Palestinian from Balata there? Ha! It’s an American suburb for PA bureaucrats and their families, so they don’t have to be contaminated living in dirty Ramallah or nearby villages.
    The PA works hand in hand with the Military Administration to screw normal people over. There is no difference between them. Fatah is building a normal Arab country, like Egypt or Jordan, based on repression of people by an upper crust of society. And you, KFJ, support this outcome, human rights fighter that you are.

  19. “Further colonizing a region inhabited by millions of people who’ve been denied civil rights for decades now as that colonization has progressed. I take it you get some sort of deranged pleasure out of the situation, eh?
    —kyleb · May 6th, 2010 at 4:14 am”

    Well kyleb, I think all reasonable and decent people would concur that anybody who disagrees with kyleb must be deranged. Really, how else would it be possible for them to disagree with kyleb?

  20. Chocolate is a fundamental right now?
    No government that denies chocolate is a friend of justice. The Nazis denied my people chocolate during the Holocaust. Never again, never forget.

  21. It’s been an interesting week regarding Israel-Palestine:
    David Makovsky has put out something on possible borders, and he discusses among other things the idea of expanding Gaza. Gaza could easily be tripled in size by expanding its borders southward into the Sinai, which would provide it enough room to build a seaport, airport, and million-person city.
    Nothing about Palestine leaks?
    Well, they are revealing for a few reasons:
    (1)It shows that there are people out there who we might be able to make a deal with Israel–ie, Abu Mazen and his coterie.
    (2) Tzipi Livni discusses the idea of moving the border in the north at some points. That’s the logical move in a partition–swaths of the north, the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and maybe even parts of the northern Negev should become part of Palestine.
    (3) Livni also says at one point: “We are giving up the Golan, so we have to keep Betar Illit.”
    @Victor: Is Betar Illit really more strategically valuable than the Golan? Is this what Gush Emunim has wrought?

  22. It’s what Livni has wrought. Thank G-d the Knesset passed the recent law making any cessation of territories contingent on a public referendum. I think there are three main lessons in Palileaks:
    1) When the Israeli government stands firm, such as by making Maale Adumim non-negotiably part of Israel, or rejecting any restrictions on building in Jerusalem, the Americans accept this.
    2) Anyone who cares about the future of Jewish communities in Shomron and Yehudah more distant from the Green Line, numbering some 100,000 Jews, needs to make themselves heard. The decision to destroy these communities in the context of a two state solution is being made by Israeli negotiators, not Palestinian ones. A two state solution may be inevitable, but the destruction of these communities is neither inevitable, nor necessary, and the relevant decision makers are, so to speak, in our hands.
    3) Transferring sovereignty over Israeli-Arab communities hugging the Green Line, from Israel to a Palestinian state, long thought to be a diabolical ethnic cleansing project of Avigdor Lieberman, in fact has support across the right-left Israeli political spectrum.

  23. Add to that a couple more:
    4) There are no Jewish traitors. Israeli negotiators – yes, even Olmert and Livni, misguided in some respects as they may be – are tough SOBs that understand the issues, drive hard for Jewish interests and have the strength to reject unacceptable Palestinian and American demands which infringe on Jewish security and sovereignty.
    5) The Palestinian Authority has squandered two decades in not preparing its people, Palestinians in the diaspora or the wider Arab “street” for fundamental strategic concessions to Israel on Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, refugees, a demilitarized state, and so on – matters that harass the root of Palestinian, as well as Arab and Muslim identity.

  24. @Victor:
    The law dealt only with the Golan and Jerusalem, but I realize that’s not your point.
    There is no real reason not to try to transfer “Israeli” Palestinian areas from Israel to Palestine, other than a unusual notion of racism (moving the border at Uhm el-Fahm is racist, but at Abu Dis it is to further peace?)
    We’re going to have to give up Ma’ale Adumin, btw. And Ariel too, and maybe even Efrat, and Har HaBayit.
    I’d be willing to give up on the Kotel and the Jewish Quarter, if that would be the price for a treaty that did not have a right of return, and moved the borders so that we could ensure a state of Israel with an overwhelmingly Jewish population, for generations.
    Had we been smarter after 1967, things could have been different–but we weren’t smart.
    Are there really Jews in Judea and Samaria who would be willing to live in Palestine, by the way? I’ve never really heard of such people, but you say there are tons of them.

    1. There is no real reason not to try to transfer “Israeli” Palestinian areas from Israel to Palestine, other than a unusual notion of racism (moving the border at Uhm el-Fahm is racist, but at Abu Dis it is to further peace?)
      The residents of Umm el-Fahm have Israeli citizenship, so if the border is moved there (which I think would be acceptable), they should be given the option of staying put and getting Palestinian citizenship, or retaining their Israeli citizenship and being resettled in Israel (as the Gaza settlers were and the West Bank settlers will be). Revoking their citizenship without their consent is unacceptable.

  25. I specifically mentioned the referendum law because you spoke of the Golan. Sometimes you sound so defeatist, but I know your heart is in the right place. The Kotel will never again be in Arab hands, and neither will Maale Adumim, and the Palestinians will figure out a way to live with that reality, or they won’t live.
    Every year that goes by Israel grows stronger and the Palestinians get weaker. In 1990, the Israeli economy was 20 times the size of the Palestinian economy; today, it’s 50 times as large. The demographics are rapidly inverting, with the Palestinians in free-fall, like the rest of the Arab world, and Jewish growth rates ascendant.
    Yes, there are such Jews in Judea and Samaria, and with our support, none of them will have to leave their homes, and all of them will be able to participate in the political and economic life of a Palestinian state, if it’s even established.

  26. @BZ. That’s where we differ. It is acceptable to me.
    Along those lines, another concern is what is going to happen if we agree to cede sovereignty over the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem (which I support), and those Israeli citizens/permanent residents attempt to move into other areas of Israel. That will basically defeat the purpose of ceding control of those areas, and the security risks we would be taking.
    If I had the answer to that problem, I wouldn’t be here right now. We’re just going to have to figure out a way to disenfranchise hundreds-of-thousands of people in the north, in Jerusalem, and in the northeast Negev. Otherwise, we’ll just find ourselves in the same predicament in another generation-and-a-half–ok, not exactly the same, but we’ll have a big problem on our hands, which BZ acknowledges by stating that he thinks it would be acceptable to move the border, under certain circumstances.
    We’ve just made too many mistakes since 1967 really.

  27. Sometimes you sound so defeatist, but I know your heart is in the right place.
    In a sense, you are correct that I am defeatist, regarding the Palestinian problem.
    But, on the other hand, I do live in Israel–so that must say something.
    Like I keep saying, though, I wish we could just go back to 1967 and be smarter.

  28. BZ, you call that a choice? We can give 20,000 people the choice to be displaced from their homes and lands, without permanent housing or employment for half a decade, much like the Gaza settlers, or they can stay in their homes and communities and receive Palestinian passports?
    Ok, they can have that choice, but what does it say about how much they don’t want to be Palestinian citizens if they’re literally willing to evacuate their village and become indigent refugees to remain in Israel?

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