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August 11, 2011

‘All hands’ needed in September, Oren tells Jewish Dems

http://www.jewishjournal.com/israel/article/all_hands_needed_in_september_oren_tells_jewish_dems_20110811

Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren addresses the annual Jewish Council for Public Affairs Plenum in Washington, March 6, 2011. (Courtesy JCPA)

Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren addresses the annual Jewish Council for Public Affairs Plenum in Washington, March 6, 2011. (Courtesy JCPA)

Israeli ambassador Michael Oren told Jewish Democrats that Israel needs “all hands on deck” ahead of a Palestinian push for statehood.

Oren, in a conference call Monday with the National Jewish Democratic Council leadership, also called for bipartisanship, saying it is in Israel’s strategic interest.

Oren said United Nations recognition of “Palestine” next month during the General Assembly “will not bring peace, it will bring more instability,” according to a readout provided by the embassy.

Such a resolution has no force without the backing of the U.N. Security Council, where the United States is certain to exercise its veto, but Israel fears that its introduction will nonetheless spur unrest in the West Bank.

The resolution likely has the support of a majority of nations, but Israel and pro-Israel groups hope to mitigate its effect by persuading the most influential nations – especially in Europe – not to vote for it.

“We hope the United States will use its influence to try and persuade other delegations to oppose the resolution,” Oren said.

David Harris, NJDC’s president, said rallying the Jewish community to oppose the resolution was Oren’s key message.

“He told us that what’s coming up in September is deeply troubling and it’s all hands on deck,” Harris said. “He stressed the need for us to echo this message loudly from the rooftops.”

On achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace Oren acknowledged “tactical” differences between the United States and Israel, according to the embassy readout, but “substantially we share the same goal: two states that can only be achieved negotiation mutual recognition and security guarantees.”

There was considerable diplomatic tension between Israel and the United States in May when Obama called for negotiations based on the 1967 lines, although Israel has reportedly now accepted the premise.

Oren criticized the use of Israel as a partisan wedge, saying support for Israel by both parties was in the Jewish state’s “strategic national interest.”

He thanked the Obama administration for funding Israel’s short-range anti-missile program, Iron Dome, a cooperation that officials of both countries have touted in recent days.

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