Indyk tells US Jews to press ‘your Israeli family’ before two-state deal ends and ‘downward spiral’ begins

Israel/Palestine
on 24 Comments

Reading the tea leaves on the peace process, the signs are bleak. A news report says that the Israelis are refusing to talk about the borders of a Palestinian state. And US negotiator Martin Indyk struck a desperate tone in a speech last Monday night. He said that the two-state prospect will evaporate in a year, at which time a “dangerous” and “downward” spiral would commence. Therefore it is essential that liberal Zionist American Jews reach out to “your Israeli family” to cut a deal. And he called Obama a “prophet.” That doesn’t sound very good to me.

First the news report. Indyk met Friday with P.A. President Abbas in Ramallah to try and get the talks going.

The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper quoted Western diplomatic sources as saying on Tuesday that the peace talks had been halted due to Israel’s “refusal to engage in serious negotiations about borders, focusing instead on security.”

Israel is seeking to transform the peace talks with the Palestinians into periodic meetings between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Abbas, the report said.

The sources claimed that Israel has insisted over the past two months on talking only about security-related issues. “But in the face of Palestinian insistence, some meetings dealt with the border,” the sources said, referring to the secret talks held in Jerusalem and Jericho.

That certainly squares with Netanyahu’s appearance at the U.N. Tuesday, in which he said very little at all about a Palestinian state, and Roger Cohen bashed him for it. Maybe this time Israel is going to take the blame for the failure of negotiations.

Now here is Indyk, the chief US negotiator, speaking to the Israel lobby group J Street last Monday–and seeming to put an onus on the American Jewish community:

If there is one message I want to leave you with tonight, that is: we are looking at a very short time frame. By the time you convene again in Washington next year, the leaders will have had to decide whether they are going to go for a final peace deal or not. So what you do today and tomorrow and in the coming weeks and months is critical, you who want to see, who have dedicated yourselves to the purpose of achieving a lasting peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. The time for acting is now.

I thought this was over the top, and also revealing:

In this sense, President Obama and Secretary Kerry are visionaries, prophets — at a time when many on both sides have come to see the status quo as preferable to the alternative of supporting the wrenching compromises necessary to achieve an historic reconciliation, they both are sounding the tocsin.

Notice the stakes, in Indyk’s view, his repeated references to a dangerous spiral, and his all-but desperate call on the Jewish fan base to cheer for the process and reach out to “your Israeli family”– before Israel has to make a fateful choice between being a democracy and being a Jewish state:

think of the dangerous spiral and potential consequences if we don’t seize this moment. New actions by the Palestinians at the United Nations and Israeli retaliation for doing so could lead to a downward spiral, whose end could be renewed conflict. The continuation of the insidious campaign to delegitimize Israel, what the Secretary of State has said is beyond steroids. [sic] Increased settlement activity that makes a Palestinian state less and less viable is likely to occur. And eventually a fateful choice for Israel will have to be made, between a Jewish State and a democratic state.

To avoid these kinds of outcomes – that are all too real and palpable – we need you. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas cannot walk this very difficult road, climb this very steep and high mountain by themselves. …

America’s Jewish community and organizations such as J-Street have a vital role to play. Now is the time to stand up and tell your elected leaders that peacemaking has your support. That peace is vital both for America’s interest and for Israel’s security.

Now is the time to go back to your communities and engage the skeptics and those who have been disheartened by so many of the failures of the past. To tell them that peace is possible, that it is not a mirage, that this does not need to end badly. Tell them the peacemakers need their help. Israel needs their help. That if you just sit on the sidelines and lament the world that is, rather than work for the world that can be, we will never achieve peace.

Now is the time to send a message to your Israeli family and your Palestinian friends, colleagues, to reach out to them with a message that you support them and ask them why are they sitting on the sidelines, when their future is so much at stake. Tell them that you believe peace is possible and that they need to believe it too and they too need to work to achieve it.

Also I noticed that Indyk twice described Israel as “the Jewish state of Israel,” as in, “Prime Minister Netanyahu has… reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state, living alongside the Jewish state of Israel.” Maybe he’s throwing that bone to Netanyahu to try and keep him talking. Though describing Obama as a prophet? Isn’t that the tocsin of doom?

I’d point out that Indyk’s urging at J Street is utterly consistent with what Josh Nathan-Kazis reports at the Forward, speaking of the failure of the sclerotic Jewish organizational leadership:

When Secretary of State John Kerry asked American Jews to help push the Israelis to agree to enter negotiations with the Palestinians last June, American Jewish leaders balked.

 

Only a handful of left-wing groups advocated on Kerry’s behalf. The rest demurred, telling the Forward that it wasn’t the Israelis who needed to be pushed to the table, and that the onus lies entirely on the Palestinians.

 

American Jews don’t seem to share that view.

It is now liberal conventional wisdom to blame the lobby for being out of step. Is it possible that the lobby will take the fall for the breakdown of talks? And that Kerry and Indyk will lash out at it?

24 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    October 6, 2013, 11:49 am

    Where does this 1-year deadline come from? the all-powerful PA? Al-Qaida threatening USA and Israel but giving them 1 year? The EU laying down a last-and-best offer before doing something desperate itself? Russia threatening?

    Or is this “1 year” thing a strategy of the USA? we cannot say the words “international law” but we can threaten the end of 2SS and beginning of downward spiral?

    Downward? for whom? Hasn’t last 23 years (since Madrid) been pretty darn “downward” for Palestinians?

    In other words, what gives?

    • seafoid
      October 6, 2013, 6:15 pm

      Maybe people are just sick of them, Pabelmont. Maybe the oil wealth is working behind the scenes. Maybe it’s American decline. Maybe people are telling Obama time’s up on the clowns. Maybe Europe is getting organized. Maybe the ICC is a real option. Maybe it’s related to the post Arab spring mess in the region. something to do with Syria or Egypt ? Maybe history is turning for justice.

      Or is it something to do with multipolarity ? Could it be a bad time for vocal minorities with leveraged power that doesn’t reflect their size ? Or has war in the region gone out of fashion ?

    • Hostage
      October 6, 2013, 7:30 pm

      Where does this 1-year deadline come from? the all-powerful PA?

      There is a nine-month deadline before they will pursue actions through the ICJ and ICC. Multiple cases in the ICJ over the status of occupied South West Africa/Namibia were part of the downward spiral and international sanctions for the Union of South Africa. The ICC Prosecutor is facing growing resentment from the non-aligned members and the legal community that she and her predecessor have deliberately avoided flagrant cases, including the illegal Israeli settlements for purely personal political reasons.

      Prof. John Dugard has been crafting a General Assembly request for an ICJ advisory opinion on the questions of illegal Israeli occupation, colonialism, and apartheid since 2007. The latest volume of the European Journal of International Law is devoted to a debate on the subject, with follow-up articles on the EJIL Talk! blog, e.g. Apartheid in Occupied Palestine: A Rejoinder to Yaffa Zilbershats link to ejiltalk.org

  2. HarryLaw
    October 6, 2013, 12:26 pm

    “Is it possible that the lobby will take the fall for the breakdown of talks? And that Kerry and Indyk will lash out at it?” The lobby may be partly to blame for the breakdown of talks, in my opinion the Israeli Government will be a lot more responsible after all it is they who call the shots, and as for Indyk and Kerry lashing out at the lobby, that is wishful thinking of the highest order, no US politician will lash out at the lobby, not if they wish to continue with their political careers.

  3. Ira Glunts
    October 6, 2013, 12:28 pm

    The Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported in its print edition that Netanyahu told a group of Jewish leaders (Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations?)before leaving the US last week that the peace negotiations were going nowhere. He disingenuously blamed this on the fact that the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    I think I saw this item picked up in the English language press but I am unable to find a link.

    What struck me about the MKs panel at JStreet was the declarations of the panelists that the present negotiations would succeed and there would be peace soon. It seems to me obvious that none of these politicians believe that, but they are politicians and like politicians they were telling their audience of JStreeters what they wanted to hear.

    • DICKERSON3870
      October 6, 2013, 4:28 pm

      RE: “I think I saw this item picked up in the English language press but I am unable to find a link.” – Ira Glunts

      MY REPLY: Damn, I’m good! I deserve the black belt of Googling!

      SEE – “Netanyahu: The Peace Talks Are Going Nowhere”, By Elad Benari, IsraelNationalNews.com, 10/04/13
      Netanyahu, during meetings with the heads of the American Jewish organizations, reportedly said that the peace talks are stuck.
      LINK – link to israelnationalnews.com

    • Dutch
      October 6, 2013, 6:03 pm

      I think the signs are clear, and there will be many more to come: these nine months will be used by Israel to build, build and build. I think it was yesterday that Israel’s Minister of Housing made a revealing statement from Ariel: we won’t give up one square meter of the WB. Mind you, this is during negotiations.

      BTW, I thought Indyk was derailed by the Israeli’s as head of negotiations. Wasn’t the news that he had only been allowed to attend one out of six meetings?

      • seafoid
        October 6, 2013, 6:06 pm

        Even if they build, what difference will it make?
        Cut off their foreign trade and they’ll roll over and beg.

      • Dutch
        October 6, 2013, 7:03 pm

        @ Seafoid
        ‘Cut off their foreign trade and they’ll roll over and beg.’

        We’re working on it.

  4. amigo
    October 6, 2013, 12:51 pm

    “Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas cannot walk this very difficult road, climb this very steep and high mountain by themselves. …”Indyk.

    He is joking , surely.It is Abbas who is walking the difficult road and it is nietanyahu who makes it difficult.

    • pabelmont
      October 6, 2013, 3:14 pm

      Not N’yahu who is climbing a steep mountain? Wrong.

      If he wants a just and lasting peace based on the green line, he will have to tell that to the settlers and there will be hell to pay. that’ll be very difficult indeed. If he is unwilling to do it, then he will get no-where. The PLO made its historic renunciation of its rights to Mandatory Palestine in 1988, and it accepted 22% in place of 100% or 50%. There will not be a retreat from the PLO. (Ask yourself — haven’t the PLO had 46 years time to take less than 22% and haven’t they always refused? Why is this afternoon different from all other afternoons?

      • amigo
        October 6, 2013, 4:01 pm

        “The PLO made its historic renunciation of its rights to Mandatory Palestine in 1988, and it accepted 22% in place of 100% or 50%. There will not be a retreat from the PLO. (Ask yourself — haven’t the PLO had 46 years time to take less than 22% and haven’t they always refused? Why is this afternoon different from all other afternoons?”pabelmont

        I think you answered your own question.

        I don,t think Abass is the problem here.It is the Zionist land grab .If Nietanyahu has shortness of breath trying to climb a steep mountain he himself helped to build and still is building, then tough luck.If the settlers give him the Rabin treatment, so be it.

        Bring on the 2ss and end the Aparthied regime.

  5. Eva Smagacz
    October 6, 2013, 1:30 pm

    I think that one year may refer to the changes in American public opinion, and the acceptance of position that Israel and not Palestinians are the baddies and that apartheid exists in Israel and in Occupied Territories. It takes only 10 percent of population to become convinced about something before that something enters “everybody knows” territory.

    If 10 percent of Americans were to be convinced that there Zionist Israel is a parasite body that is milking average american’s tax money for its use without as much as thank you, then this becomes common knowledge. If 10 percent of Americans were to accept that Israel is practicing apartheid, then it will become an accepted wisdom.

    This will also be a day when it will become safe for politicians to voice these ideas without being run out of town.

    10%. Its not that far – just read the comments after some of the articles in the media (and contemplate how many of them don’t allow comments)

    • W.Jones
      October 7, 2013, 9:41 pm

      Not to disagree entirely. However, have you looked at what US polls say? i think if we are going by public US pressure on the government to change the situation it will be more than 1 year.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2013, 6:29 am

        Not to disagree entirely. However, have you looked at what US polls say? i think if we are going by public US pressure on the government to change the situation it will be more than 1 year.

        Well if you look at the letters of assurance supplied by the US during the Madrid and Oslo era, then you can figure out that Abbas probably got a quid pro quo on opposition to actions in the UN, i.e. US abstention from the Security Council vote on Palestine’s membership application, and no more requests for delays on accession to treaties and referrals to the ICJ and ICC and treaty enforcement bodies.

        link to palestine-studies.org

  6. seafoid
    October 6, 2013, 1:43 pm

    “Therefore it is essential that liberal Zionist American Jews reach out to “your Israeli family” to cut a deal”

    They didn’t have mobile phones back in 1915 but imagine Mr X in Maine ringing his cousin in Georgia telling him this Jim Crow stuff looked really bad in the Northeast.

    “Sorry cuz. We are just stringing up a N**** right here with the monthly lynching and the crowd is really loud. I’ll call you back later”

    Israel is just as bad.

  7. seafoid
    October 6, 2013, 1:53 pm

    Indyk wants to bring David Guetta to Tel Aviv to sing to the bots

    “Yeah you’ve fucked up for the last time,
    You think you got Galut figured out.
    You’re living in a glasshouse,
    Cause everything’s shattering all around.
    Now tell me what you’re mad about
    I’m tired of all of the nonsense.”

  8. James Canning
    October 6, 2013, 2:25 pm

    Indyk apparently thinks Israel could be coerced into annexing portions of West Bank with large numbers of non-Jews. Doubtful, in my view.

    • seafoid
      October 6, 2013, 6:36 pm

      There is something particularly ludicrous about Indyk indicating that there is still time to save the 2 state solution.

      link to youtube.com

      The sheer awfulness of changing American opinion and a 46 year old Israeli project based on the assumption it would never EVER change. How do you tell the parents ?

      I look forward to Zippy Livni appearing on network TV in the US and telling the merkin people that she doesn’t believe in international law.

  9. just
    October 6, 2013, 2:53 pm

    Indyk speaks the words of a criminal enabler of the Zionists.

    yech.

  10. dbroncos
    October 6, 2013, 4:50 pm

    Obama is less like a prophet and more like Pontius Pilate in that he seems to have washed his hands of the I/P conflict. In spite of sending Kerry in to fix the problem in 9 months, Obama doesn’t believe for a second that this is going to happen. Instead, he’ll watch the fruitless extrusions of peace processing fall into the hands of Netanyahu, his American friends and the next President. He sees the post Oslo “downward spiral” as an inevitabilty and as someone else’s problem.

  11. W.Jones
    October 6, 2013, 10:25 pm

    Indyk encourages people to tell policymakers (and I don’t necessarily mean elected officials) that peace is possible.

    In the conflict, both “sides” are perfectly aware that “peace” is possible. The Palestinians agreeing to “peace” would be a moral act of agreeing to dispossession.

    As for the Israeli “side”, I don’t think they would agree with the Arab peace plan because they might consider it a small step down. They have preferred to have nonexistent “borders”. Of course, they are perfectly aware that the Arab peace plan is a possibility.

  12. yonah fredman
    October 7, 2013, 1:47 am

    My theory on the one year time frame: Currently Hamas is sidelined, squeezed by Israel and by the Egyptian coup leaders and so Abbas can agree to something without any input from Hamas. This situation will not last forever, although a one year time frame sounds a bit narrow.

  13. bilal a
    October 7, 2013, 6:17 am

    It seems inevitable that if Christians and Muslims are denied their right to self determination that so too will Israelis lose their Jewish state to be replaced by the London model; a dominant ethnicity in the key positions with the repletes and worker ants staffed by Bulgarians , Romanians ( one state solution). This model maximizes the utility of the elite ruling clique globally, while crushing any wage benefit gain temptations. The actual political dynamics may be justified on universalist grounds, but the underlying logic is economic. The one stater moralists are useful in this regard. One wonders who initiated the trans border settlements that doomed the Jewish state’s long term viability; defintely not friends of the Jewish state.

    London: There will be No Restrictions for Bulgarian Workers

    The embassy, however, stated that in parallel with the disappearance of this temporary employment scheme, the work restrictions on citizens from Bulgaria and Romania in the UK will disappear altogether. This decision is scheduled for December 31. Following that, the British labor market will open up for all for Bulgarians and Romanians, British Ambassador in Bulgaria Jonathan Allen noted

    link to standartnews.com

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