June 11, 2013
Vocally Support the American Effort to Reach a Two-State Solution Now
Those who say that PA President Abbas' constant refusal to sit down with PM Netanyahu without preconditions to restart negotiations for a two-state solution is an indication that he and the Palestinians are not able or willing to make peace is not the entire story.
When Israeli government leaders like Likud MK Danny Danon make statements that the government of Israel does not support a two-state solution, we have to understand that the Palestinians can legitimately argue that Israel too (at this point) is not a real partner for peace despite Bibi saying he is for a two-state solution.
Further, When PM Netanyahu insists that the Palestinians accept Israel as a "Jewish state" (which raises all kinds of problems internally including what "Jewish" means and who decides, and that such a designation excludes 20% of Israel's non-Jewish population) as opposed to the "Democratic state of the Jewish people" (which includes all Jews and every other non-Jewish citizen) Palestinians can legitimately argue that he is throwing obstacles in the way of finding a two-state solution.
Remember that no Israeli Prime Minister before Bibi ever made the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state." The PLO and PA have recognized the state of Israel, but not with any more specificity than that - and why is it even necessary if a secure two-state deal can be reached? Israel will define itself. All that is necessary from the outside is that it recognize Israel - and that has already occurred and it will be affirmed when a two-state deal is made.
The Palestinians claim that they have no partner for peace in the Israeli government. Some Israelis claim they have no partner for peace among the Palestinians. There is truth in both claims. It is a mistake to lay all the blame on one side.
There has been a powerful silence among all American Jewish organizations in support of the Obama-Kerry mission except the Union for Reform Judaism and J Street. Why is that? I suggest that far too many of our organizational leaders are being led by cynicism and fear.
That negativity will not bring us closer to a secure two-state solution, which is in America's best interest, Israel's best interest, and the Palestinian's best interest. Rather, we need to be supporting Secretary Kerry vocally, letting the Obama administration as well as our senators and congressional representatives know of our support (call and email them all) and let the American effort take its course. Indeed, we will know in the next 2 to 4 weeks what success, if any, this American effort will have.
Even former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that Israel cannot afford for this American diplomatic effort to fail.
I ask that those who have already decided that a two-state solution is not possible to ask themselves what is the alternative - one state that loses Israel's Jewish character or an endless occupation that loses Israel's democratic character?
Time is not on Israel's side, and the only way to secure Israel's future as a democracy with a Jewish majority is in a two-state solution. If you love Israel as a democracy and the state of the Jewish people, this is the ONLY alternative.
Let your representatives know how you feel and support everything the American government can do to promote a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to this age-old conflict that results in two states for two peoples.