Christie steps in deep doo-doo, promptly apologizes to Adelson. Whew!

Israel/Palestine
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Chris Chstie and Sheldon Adelson (photo: Getty)

Gov.Chris Christie and Sheldon Adelson (photo: Getty)

All heck broke loose at the Adelson 2016 Primary in Las Vegas yesterday when Chris Christie, the embattled New Jersey governor still immersed in the bridgegate scandal, uttered the words “occupied territory” during an otherwise enrapturing speech in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Morton Klein, President of Zionist Organization of America (Photo: screenshot  Zionist Organization of America )

Morton Klein, President of Zionist Organization of America (Photo: screenshot Zionist Organization of America )

A hush fell over the crowd. Politico reports that ZOA president Morton Klein was aghast and confronted Christie after the speech and reported the incident to Adelson. (Read Klein’s lecture here.)

And so later, in a private session in Adelson’s office in Venetian Casino where GOP’ers are shuffling in an out this weekend for a slice of his billions, many vying for the presidential anointment, Christie apologized.

Politico’s got the story: Chris Christie apologizes for ‘occupied territories’ remark

Not long after his speech, Christie met with Adelson privately in the casino mogul’s office in the Venetian hotel and casino, which hosted the RJC meeting.

The source told POLITICO that Christie “clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.”

Instead, the source said, Christie made clear “that he misspoke when he referred to the ‘occupied territories.’ And he conveyed that he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel, and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement.”

Oh to be a fly on that wall.

Meanwhile, Politico, in an attempt to educate its readers about the depth of the infraction, goes on to say this:

The term refers to lands in which Palestinians live where Israel maintains a military presence, including the West Bank.

Excuse me? Perhaps Politico is not aware the term refers to lands designated “Occupied Territory” under international law. The US State Department also considers the West Bank occupied. And the UN describes Gaza as occupied, as well. Why? Because it’s under military control. Israel disputing that doesn’t turn it into disputed territory. These are legal terms and cannot be changed at the whim or will of an occupying regime. Maybe Politico is kowtowing too.

More of Politico’s story of the incident:

Christie stepped on a fault line in highly fraught Middle East politics, when he referred to the “occupied territories,” a term Zionists eschew….

Morton Klein, president of the hawkish Zionist Organization of America, was less forgiving. He confronted Christie after his speech about his use of the term, telling POLITICO he explained to the New Jersey governor that “at minimum you should call it disputed territories.”

Klein said he mentioned the issue to Adelson, who promised he’d raise it in private with Christie.

Christie was non-committal, said Klein, who concluded afterwards that the governor “either doesn’t understand the issue at all, or he’s hostile to Israel.”

(Hat tip Icarus Verum)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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