Former State Dep’t official says Obama calls for human rights and democracy are ‘undercut’ by position on Palestinians

Israel/Palestine
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Anee Marie Slaughter
Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter served as director of Policy Planning at the State Department under Obama/Clinton until last year. Now she’s at Princeton. A week ago she spoke at J Street. Some of her comments:

I spent a lot of time on twitter. I have about 27,000 followers around the world. Because it connects me to people of many different countries and many different beliefs certainly beyond my community in this town, but also the global academic communities. I spend a lot of time following articles and messages, and videos and personal testimonies about Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. Whenever I send out a message about the suffering, the detention without trial, civilian deaths by armed force in all these countries, I now get messages back that say to me, What about the Palestinians?

I am not for a minute going to say that there are no differences between what’s happening in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen, in Egypt. There are many differences between those circumstances and what is happening between Israel and the Palestinians. There are many differences. But there are some similarities.

And when I hear back from voices that I can shut out here in Washington– I can shut them out in Princeton– but I can’t shut them out in an open forum where I reach out to the world, and the world answers me….

[The U.S. failure on the peace process] undercuts what we say everywhere else in the region. I am the first to know that perfect consistency or even primary consistency is impossible. We treat Bahrain differently than we acted in Libya… There are obviously different circumstances in all these case, but we cannot say as we have been saying for over a year, that we stand for democracy and human rights and basic justice for the people of the Middle East—President Obama and Secy Clinton and every representative of the administration have given speeches on democracy and human rights and justice across the middle east– we cannot be saying that unless we’re doing everything we can to bring democracy and human rights and justice to the Palestinians….

I grew up in non democratic America. Virginia in the 1960s. All people were not able to vote, and we did not deliver on the promise of our values….

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