Schumer: Donâ€™t force Israel to make concessions
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised Democrats Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), former New York Mayor, Ed Koch, and New Republic Editor-in-Chief Marty Peretz for their courageous and forthright criticism of the Obama Administrationâ€™s pressure on and hostility towards Israel.
In a detailed interview, Senator Schumer said:
â€œI told the President, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk. Palestinians donâ€™t really believe in a state of Israel â€¦ If the U.S. says certain things and takes certain stands the Palestinians say, â€œWhy should we negotiate?â€ So thatâ€™s bad and that should change and we are working on changing it â€¦ When Biden was in Israel and there was this kerfuffle over settlements which is in Israeli Jerusalem 5 minutes from downtown and should never have been an issue to begin with, but they probably shouldnâ€™t have made the announcement when Biden was there. But Israel apologized and when Biden left, and Biden is the best friend of Israel in the administration everything was fine. But then what happened is the next day Hillary Clinton called up Netanyahu and talked very tough to him, and worse they made it pubic through this spokesperson, a guy named Crowley. And Crowley said something I have never heard before, which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends on the pace of the negotiations. That is terrible. That is the dagger because the relationship is much deeper than the disagreements on negotiations, and most Americansâ€”Democrat, Republican, Jew, non-Jew–would feel that. So I called up Rahm Emanuel and I called up the White House and I said, â€œIf you donâ€™t retract that statement you are going to hear me publicly blast you on this.â€ Of course they did retract it. Now whatâ€™s happened, and many of us are pushing back, some of the Jewish members will be meeting with the President next week or the week after, and we are saying that this has to stop. You have to have, in terms of the negotiations, you have to show Israel that itâ€™s not going to be forced to do things it doesnâ€™t want to do and canâ€™t do. At the same time you have to show the Palestinians that they are not going to get their way by just sitting back and not giving in, and not recognizing that there is a state of Israelâ€ (â€˜Schumer: Obama’s ‘counter-productive’ Israel policy ‘has to stop,’ Politico.com, April 22, 2010).
Former New York Democratic Mayor Ed Koch also recently wrote:
â€œI weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel. What makes these verbal assaults and distortions all the more painful is that they are being orchestrated by President Obama â€¦ I weep today because my president, Barack Obama, in a few weeks has changed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel from that of closest of allies to one in which there is an absence of trust on both sides. The contrast between how the president and his administration deals with Israel and how it has decided to deal with the Karzai administration in Afghanistan is striking. The Karzai administration, which operates a corrupt and opium-producing state, refuses to change its corrupt ways â€“ the presidentâ€™s own brother is believed by many to run the drug traffic taking place in Afghanistan â€“ and shows the utmost contempt for the U.S. is being hailed by the Obama administration as an ally and publicly treated with dignity â€¦On the other hand, our closest ally â€“ the one with the special relationship with the U.S., has been demeaned and slandered, held responsible by the administration for our problems in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The plan I suspect is to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israelâ€™s needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch. I believe President Obamaâ€™s policy is to create a whole new relationship with the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq as a counter to Iran â€“ The Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Muslim world which we are now prepared to see in possession of a nuclear weapon. If throwing Israel under the bus is needed to accomplish this alliance, so be itâ€ (â€˜A Dangerous Silence,â€™ New York Jewish Week, April 12, 2010).
Also, New Republic Editor-in-Chief Marty Peretz has written regarding the Obama Administration condemning Israel for announcing a program of Jewish construction in a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem and suggesting Israel was seeking to derail proposed proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA):
â€œâ€¦ on October 31, 2009, Hillary Clinton called Israeli forbearance on new building â€œunprecedented.â€ So what has changed? The Palestinians proved to be more recalcitrant rather than less, likely because they had quickly surmised that Obama was in their corner and would not push them much. Their surmise turned out to be correct â€¦ David Axelrod has now put an ugly political spin on this turmoil by suggesting that the Israeli move was designed to undercut the â€œproximity talksâ€ that had been planned. Whatâ€™s more, Axelrod argued, this was an â€œaffrontâ€ and an â€œinsultâ€ to the United States. Not to be outdone in inflammatory talk, ABCâ€™s Jake Tapper, who was questioning the political adviser to the president, goaded him further: â€œI hate to say this, but yes or no, David, does the intransigence of the Israeli government on the housing issue, yes or no, does it put U.S. troopsâ€™ lives at risk?â€ Axelrod declined to take the bait. The idea was already out there. Still, Axelrod, a strange guy to go out and comment on Obamaâ€™s foreign policy, was not just speaking for himself. Like Hillary Clinton, this kind of talk was a decision of the president himself. No one on the White House staff denies this. You donâ€™t have to ask about it. Almost everyone whoâ€™s anyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or in Foggy Bottom will volunteer the news: Obama is â€œrip shitâ€ with the Israelis. So how long has he been rip shit? I believe that he has been sitting in waiting for the opportunity to have others send the message: â€œThe president has blown his top.â€ When talks fail, which they inevitably will, he will present his own plan. Beware. Obama had gone out on a limb about Israel-Palestine. It was based on very faulty history or, rather, on a canny distortion of history â€¦ Obama seems to think that he is the superego of the conflict and that his function is to hand out dicta on how to end it. But he has no dicta for the Palestinians and plenty for the Israelis. The Jewish state has many conditions under which it would be prepared to give more rather than less. Alas, the president canâ€™t bring himself to publicly acknowledge this. The fact is that he does not particularly like Israelâ€ (Marty Peretz, â€˜Housing Bust: Why is Obama so upset with Israel,â€™ â€˜The Spine,â€™ New Republic, March 19, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, â€œIt is important that three formerly strong supporters of President Barack Obama have decisively spoken out against Obamaâ€™s Mid-east policies, now that they have recognized the strong hostility that he has shown towards Israel and the relative friendship he has shown towards the intransigent, pro-terror, anti-peace Palestinian Arabs. It is a significant development that these important leaders have decided that they dare not remain silent any longer. We strongly commend Senator Schumer, Mayor Koch and Mr. Peretz for their powerful statements highlighting the reality of President Obamaâ€™s troubling antipathy towards the Jewish state. We urge others to join them and to forcefully speak out against Obamaâ€™s policies which only make a true peace even less likely.â€