A few weeks ago US ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman upset the lobby when he said that Israel's actions were fostering anti-Semitism in Europe.
Well NY labor leader Stuart Appelbaum has adopted a similar argument, blaming the crisis of the two-state solution on Israel. He says that Arab contempt is being fed by Netanyahu's high-handedness. The NY Jewish Week's Doug Chandler reports on a speech to the Jewish Labor Committee last week by its president, Appelbaum, and the walkout by a Netanyahu gov't official. The occasion was a Human Rights Dinner:
Speaking before more than 350 guests, most of them from various trade unions, Appelbaum condemned what he called “new expressions of contempt for Israel within the Arab world,” a reference to the movement to delegitimize Israel. That contempt, he said, is at least partly rooted “in the conviction that Israel will never accept the right of the Palestinians to an independent state.”
But Appelbaum added that Israel was “cursed with a right-wing coalition government that’s regularly giving credence” to that point of view. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “talks a good game about a two-state solution,” he said, his administration “shamelessly” promotes “the construction of illegal settlements on the West Bank” — a policy that “severely impedes negotiations.” It’s a situation that Appelbaum likened to the employer “who comes to the bargaining table, telling us he wants a contract that’s a win-win for both sides, while, at the same time,” instructing his lawyers to work on petitions that would decertify the union.
As a result, he said, Hamas, which he branded a “terrorist” organization, is winning new support, while moderates who were once ready to negotiate peace are now backing away from that stance.
As Appelbaum concluded his remarks, calling on guests “to send a message” to the Israeli government in favor of “good-faith negotiations,” Shlomi Kofman, Israel’s deputy consul general in New York, rose from his table and walked out of the event. Meanwhile, the remarks seemed to elicit a lukewarm response, failing to win the robust applause that followed other speeches
Thanks to Meretz USA.