‘Peace Now’ and ‘Breaking the Silence’ leader call on Americans to oppose peace talks (Netanyahu is ‘anathema to peace’)

on 15 Comments

The new Israeli government is deadset against a two-state solution– as Allison Deger and the Institute for Middle East Understanding have both documented. And yet the other day the New York Times promoted a fantasy: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wants to enter into negotiations.

Two voices from the liberal Zionist camp are saying flatly that Netanyahu is full of it, and the U.S. should oppose such talks because they will only give Netanyahu and the occupation cover.

Americans for Peace Now issued an emphatic statement saying that Netanyahu or his aides are lying, the Israeli government is “anathema to peace,” and the United States should not give it any cover. “There can be no further debate”– neither Netanyahu nor this government “is a partner for peace.”

“This week, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly announced his readiness to negotiate with the Palestinians over settlement ‘blocs.’ The United States and international community must reject this transparently cynical bluff. New negotiations now – or pressure on the Palestinians to go back to talks with a Netanyahu government – would be futile and counterproductive, further discrediting diplomacy and U.S. leadership. They would provide cover for further Israeli government policies and actions that are anathema to peace. They would further undermine the already diminishing Palestinian support for the two-state outcome and feed international boycott-divestment-sanctions efforts.

“In the wake of the recent Israeli election campaign, during which Netanyahu proudly touted his pro-settlement credentials and unabashedly vowed that no Palestinian state would be established while he is in office – and in the wake of his formation of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history – there can be no further debate: neither Netanyahu, nor this government, is a partner for peace – not for the Palestinians, not for supporters of the Arab Peace Initiative, and not for the United States and broader international community..”

The Peace Now statement says the U.S. should not enter into any negotiations with Israel but go to the United Nations now to push a two-state solution along the lines of the Arab Peace Initiative:

“the United States and international community must set aside, for now, the long-pursued objective of fostering Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

“The time has come for the U.S. to focus on restoring the credibility of its own policies and, in the process, the credibility of the two-state outcome. To achieve this, we urge the Obama Administration to reject Netanyahu’s hollow, self-serving calls for negotiations to legitimize de facto annexation of large areas of the West Bank. Instead, the U.S. should clarify and articulate U.S. policy vis-à-vis the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – in greater resolution and with greater resolve than has been done at any time in the past, by any administration. The era of ‘constructive ambiguity’ must definitively end, along with the era, dating back to long before the Obama Administration, of articulating U.S. policies regarding settlements that, when challenged by Israeli actions, are proven to be empty words.

“We believe that an Israel-Palestine two-state initiative in the United Nations Security Council, led by the Obama Administration, or formulated in cooperation with key international partners, would be a powerful vehicle for such an articulation… While the U.S. should of course continue to engage both parties, there must be no further efforts, public or private, to pre-negotiate text or positions with the Israeli government or the Palestinian leadership.

“By pursuing this course, the United States can re-assert and re-accredit U.S. leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian arena and beyond…”

I heard a similarly angry speech last night at the New America Foundation in New York from Avner Gvaryahu, the outreach director of Breaking the Silence. Though he made clear that he was expressing his own position, not that of his organization, he called on the U.S. and Europe to oppose peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians because they will be another sham like the last go-round with John Kerry and Tzipi Livni.

“We have to realize that this window of opportunity that we’re constantly talking about has closed. … This current administration is saying clearly… now that this idea of a two state solution is something that definitely the majority of the government is not supporting…

“The only optimism I have is that things are clearing up. If you’re going to be a supporter of this government, and you’re going to say, whatever Israel does, there has to be a reason, then you’re my enemy, because you’re maintaining the occupation and you’re making sure that generation after generation will be part of this suffering– victim and victimizers…

“If they will start another round of semi- or false negotiation, and maybe this will happen, because there will be big enough pressure from Europe and the States, then we [must not have people in the west] saying, Hurrah they’re in the room again. That’s exactly what happened a year and a half ago, with Tzipi Livni. I think it was clear from thousands of kilometers away that nothing was going to happen… but still there was this investment and support. But I think as things clear up, if this administration will come back and say, We are going to go back in the room, we have to oppose that. We have to say, go into the room only if you are going to do a, b, and c.”

We’ve heard nothing like these statements from the liberal Zionist group J Street.

J Street demand of Netanyahu

J Street demand of Netanyahu

Three weeks ago, it called on the Israeli prime minister to prove his commitment to a Palestinian state:

Netanyahu should immediately clear up any ambiguity about where the new government stands. Vague statements and aspirations will not be sufficient. He must demonstrate through concrete action that his government endorses a two-state solution, abandoning the destructive policies of settlement expansion that his coalition partners will surely demand, and committing to the difficult compromises that peace requires.

The prime minister has a narrow opportunity to prove that he is a partner for peace. We strongly urge him to take it.

So that was 23 days ago, and the Defense minister has now called for segregated buses in the West Bank, and an adviser to Netanyahu has said that Pope Francis’s recognition of a Palestinian state is akin to “the latest attempt to nail the entire Jewish people to the cross.” And Netanyahu has appointed Silvan Shalom to head negotiations with the Palestinians, but Shalom has said: “We are all against a Palestinian state, there is no question about it.” And the Deputy Foreign Minister says God gave the Jews all the land between the river and the sea; and Netanyahu’s Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel has thumbed his nose at Obama:

@POTUS welcome! Happy Jerusalem Day! in case u didn׳t hear PM Netanyahu: “Jerusalem won’t be divided again, we build all over the city”


View of the Israeli government from Peace Now Israel

View of the Israeli government from Peace Now Israel

It sure seems as if J Street’s “narrow” opportunity is over. J Street has had no follow up.

J Street loved Obama’s speech at the Washington synagogue a week ago, and seemed to glimpse the possibility of U.S. pressure in it–

As his administration presses Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new government to demonstrate a commitment to a two-state solution, and works to finalize a deal that would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the President should know that the vast majority of American Jews supports him and hopes that he succeeds.

But there’s no sense that J Street is willing to do anything concrete to try and end the occupation.

By contrast, Peace Now’s demand that the U.S. treat Israel as “anathema to peace” suggests the prospect of liberal Zionists calling for US sanctions if Israel doesn’t respond. Like this this call by European diplomats several years ago for “consequences.”
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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15 Responses

  1. Bornajoo
    May 29, 2015, 4:21 pm

    “By contrast, Peace Now’s demand that the U.S. treat Israel as “anathema to peace” suggests the prospect of liberal Zionists calling for US sanctions if Israel doesn’t respond”

    I’d love for that prospect to come true!

  2. Krauss
    May 29, 2015, 4:55 pm

    And if Herzog would have been elected, would Peace Now say the same thing?

    Yariv Oppenheimer, the head of Peace Now, just began his stint as an IDF reservist in the Apartheid territories a few weeks ago.

    Phil, you know you are guilty of ridiculous optimism, bordering on delusion, from time to time. These people will not change. Change can only come from the outside. It’s time you accepted that.

    • JLewisDickerson
      May 29, 2015, 11:13 pm

      JOEL KOVEL (1-20-13):

      [EXCERPT] . . . As with everyone I know of in official political culture, [Thomas] Friedman assumes that Israel is a rational actor on the international stage who will obey the calculus of reward and punishment that regulates the conduct of normal states.
      The presumption is that if you tell it the truth, and even pull back US support, it will get the message, reflect, and change its ways. But Israel is not a normal state, except superficially. It will make adjustments, pulling back here, co-operating there, making nice when necessary, crafting its message using a powerful propaganda apparatus employing the most up-to-date social science. But this is simply tactical and no more predicts or explains the behavior of the Zionist state than an individual sociopath can be explained by the fact that he obeys traffic signals while driving to the scene of his crime. . .

      SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/israel-nominaton-hagel.html

  3. JWalters
    May 29, 2015, 8:01 pm

    Completely agree with the Peace Now statement and Avner Gvaryahu. It’s time to drain the cesspool of financial corruption that rots our financial infrastructure, finances this ongoing war, suppresses the truth, and destroys democracy.

  4. talknic
    May 29, 2015, 9:37 pm

    I can’t believe that no one has honed in on the actual problem Israel and the international community faces. Perhaps it’s because it involves vast sums of money and one mustn’t mention money in the same sentence where Jews are concerned lest one be labelled antisemitic.

    Israel has to enter into negotiations or forever be a rogue state pouring millions of dollars into maintaining a veto vote in the UNSC by one of the five permanent members. Even if a veto vote is successfully maintained, it only allows the frog to stay in the pot.

    Without a veto vote at the UNSC and left to the laws Israel agreed to uphold, Israel is required to withdraw from all non-Israeli territories outside its actual Internationally and only recognized borders of 1948, pay 67 years of reparations for its illegal facts on the ground, while attempting to repatriate and re-house millions of completely disillusioned Israelis from non-Israeli territories. Unless of course they agree to take Palestinian citizenship.

    The repatriation process would very likely end in an Israeli civil war fought predominantly in non-Israeli territories. Think about the implications. It would be absolutely catastrophic.

    Left to the law, Israel would lose access to all the resources it has for 67 years been illegally exploiting and it would be required to pay for all the resources it has thus far illegally exploited. The costs alone would be astronomical. Furthermore, Israel would lose all the investment it now receives for its illegal profit making expansionist policies.

    An agreement with the Palestinians is the only legal avenue Israel has available to extricate itself from 67 years of illegal facts on the ground and prevent itself from becoming a failed state WITH NUKES!

    • michelle
      May 30, 2015, 1:15 am

      one wonders are the nukes within Israel (1948)
      G-d Bless

      • Walid
        May 30, 2015, 2:16 am

        “one wonders are the nukes within Israel (1948)” (michelle)

        Some of those are underwater in German-supplied submarines roaming all over the world’s seas. Nobody is safe from these crazy maniacs, not even the US.

      • talknic
        May 30, 2015, 8:59 am

        @ Walid / michelle

        A state’s vessels in that state’s territorial or in International waters are considered to be the sovereign territory of that state.

      • Kay24
        May 30, 2015, 9:03 am

        If Israel did NOT have nukes it would have signed NPT agreement. It would have also agreed to a nuclear free Middle East region, which it has objected to recently.

        At the rate Israel wages wars with it’s neighbors, it is more dangerous than Iran.

      • Citizen
        May 30, 2015, 9:27 am


        Apparently Israel’s nuclear-armed submarine force is handicapped because those German submarine gifts are diesel powered: http://nationalinterest.org/feature/nukes-the-high-seas-israels-underwater-atomic-arsenal-11434

      • Walid
        May 30, 2015, 11:56 am

        Citizen, maybe not nuclear powered but it can still remain underwater for 30 days and has a refueling range of 9,000 km carrying 6 nuclear cruise missiles that have a range of 1500 km. The initial nuclear powered Nautilus could stay underwater for only 2 weeks. Can still do a lot of damage, especially in the hands of crazed Zionists. The Arabs have their nightmare with ISIS and the rest of the world has an equal problem because of the Zionists it has to deal with.

      • Boo
        May 30, 2015, 4:32 pm

        Yes, unfortunately the latest generation of diesel subs — with costs that rogue states can afford — really can’t be compared to the WW1 and 2 versions. The powerplant isn’t sexy, but hull and propellor designs as well as electronics are all state of the art. Not to be sneezed at.

  5. RockyMissouri
    May 30, 2015, 12:06 pm

    Excellent article… And the comments are brilliant. Thank you.

  6. Pretext
    May 31, 2015, 10:56 am

    Does J Street actually realize they are “useful fools” for the settlers or is giving them a fig leaf actually a conscious strategy?

  7. spencerhr
    May 31, 2015, 4:25 pm

    Good to see this. It is clear to anyone with a brain that Netanyahu does not want peace and that “negotiations” cannot bring pretty much anything.

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