There Are Many Ways to Be “Pro-Israel” — Supporting a Nightmarish One-State Scenario Is Not One of Them
There are many ways to be “pro-Israel” — but supporting a nightmarish one-state scenario is not among them.
Yet, shockingly, promoting a “one-state solution,” in which Israel absorbs the territories it won in 1967 and the Palestinians who live there, has become the platform of a handful of American politicians led by Congressmen Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Allen West (R-FL) in what should be called the “One-State Caucus” of Congress.
These positions may resonate with right-wing billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Irving Moskowitz, and some extremist Christian Zionists like televangelist John Hagee. But they are not pro-Israel and run counter to the long-term interests of both the United States and the state of Israel.
The two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict enjoys broad, bi-partisan support in the United States. Successive administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, have pressed for a peace agreement grounded in a vision of two states for two peoples.
The two-state solution has achieved virtual national consensus in Israel, as well. Barely a day goes by without some prominent Israeli leader — in politics, security, diplomacy or intelligence — making the urgent case that Israel’s survival as both a democracy and a homeland for the Jewish people depends on achieving a two-state solution, now.
Unfortunately, in American politics, Israel is more a political football than a serious policy issue. Candidates for office strive to win Jewish and evangelical support by staking out ever-more hawkish positions.
In an effort to win this dispiriting race to the bottom, West, Walsh and their allies have now broken with long-standing, bipartisan American foreign policy.
They are urging Israel to erase its international border permanently, annex the Palestinian territories unilaterally, and offer the Palestinians living there a truncated set of minority rights.
If these politicians think such positions will gain them broad support among Jewish Americans, I have bad news for them. American Jews are just like other Americans. We vote on a wide range of issues, and Israel plays only a limited role when we walk into the voting booth.
And, even if a majority of American Jews did vote on Israel, every poll over the last two decades makes abundantly clear that they would vote against the likes of West and Walsh and the entire One-State Caucus. Indeed, an overwhelming majority of American Jews supports U.S. efforts to advance a two-state agreement.
The majority of American Jews understand what West and Walsh fail to see: Building a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel is the only way to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish homeland and a democracy. Achieving a peace agreement establishing two states is in the best interests of the state of Israel and the Palestinian people, and it advances America’s own national interests.
The proposals put forward by the One-State Caucus also run counter to the views of the majority of the Israeli people, and of successive Israeli governments (including those of Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Benjamin Netanyahu). Perhaps worst of all, they ignore the imperatives of basic democratic and Jewish values.
The pro-Israel community must not hesitate to reject the fever dreams of politicians jockeying for power and recognition. No one should be allowed to burnish their right-wing credentials at Israel’s expense.
There is only one path to protecting Israel in the long term: an agreed-upon two-state resolution to the conflict.
Only by building a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders — with mutually agreeable land swaps, an agreed resolution of the refugee issue, and a shared Jerusalem — will Israel and the Palestinian people know genuine peace and real security.
Anyone who says differently is putting his or her political interests ahead of the good of the Jewish homeland.
The time has come to confront the One-State Caucus and the billionaires who back them — and to call out the fact that what they are doing is not pro-Israel, and what they stand for would damage Israel’s chances for a secure future as a Jewish democracy.
To be pro-Israel demands nothing less.
Originally published here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-benami/there-are-many-ways-to-be_b_1666326.html