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Get ready, Kerry will go where no American leader has gone before — Ben-Ami

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Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street

Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the leader of the liberal Zionist organization, J Street, attempted to sell John Kerry’s peacemaking efforts at the Jewish Community Center in New Haven on Tuesday night. He told a crowd of 50 people– scarcely one of whom was under 40 and all of whom were warned to be polite– that we are on the verge of a new discussion of the core issues in the conflict that we’ve never had before, and Kerry will force both sides to “confront” compromises.

Ben-Ami suggested that the Israelis won’t be able to accept Kerry’s framework proposal and go on to serious negotiations:

Now it’s possible, I might say likely, that one or both of the parties isn’t going to be able to say yes to the secretary. I would still say that the secretary has pursued the right path.

Ben-Ami hinted that he knew John Kerry’s thinking from conversations with associates of the secretary of state, and maybe Kerry himself. Here were some of his comments:

“Today we are on the verge of seeing whether or not the secretary is going to be able to move this process where it has not gone before. In the coming weeks, the secretary will go further than any American leader has ever gone and been willing to go to lay out an American framework for dealing with the core issues of the conflict, from borders to security, from settlements to refugees, from Jerusalem to water. He intends to take on all the contentious issues. He’s even going to offer a formula for addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand for recognition of a Jewish connection to the land of Israel and perhaps even bring in compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab countries…

“He’s going to put together a package for the sides… At that point a critical moment of truth for the two-state solution is at hand. The secretary will put these parameters on the table, and he’s going to ask the parties to say yes or no to continuing serious negotiations over the remainder of this year to reach a deal based on those parameters.

“[Even if Kerry fails, I think] it is better to pose the question, and let the argument begin in both societies over whether or not they are willing to accept the compromises and sacrifices necessary than spending all the time engaged in a blame game over whether one side or the other was willing to come in the first place to the table…

“That approach is now fomenting a very serious political argument inside both Israeli and Palestinian societies…. These choices need to be confronted, debated and resolved.

“So over the coming weeks and months, get ready, because I think we’re going to have a front row seat to watch these debates play out,  and the outcome is likely not only to shape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for years, possibly decades to come, but the shape of the Middle East and the shape of US-Israel relations.”

Ben-Ami then answered the “Ma nishtana” question, Why is Kerry’s plan any different from previous ones that failed? He explained that Kerry did not expect to be secretary of state– Susan Rice was getting that job, till the Benghazi affair—and so he had thought about the peace process in a detached, nonpoliticized way in the years before he ended up in the position. A few things about his approach were different:

“Number one, bring in the Arab countries.” When Yassir Arafat was asked to make the “fundamental compromise” on Jerusalem on behalf of 1 billion Muslims, “the weight of that on one stateless Palestinian who was a freedom fighter and not a global statesman, it was just too much, he didn’t feel that he had the backing of the broader Arab world,” Ben-Ami said. The Arab countries then got involved, and in 2002 put together the Arab Peace Initiative. “For the last ten years that offer has been sitting there, unengaged. And one of the first things Kerry did was to go meet with the Arab League, and got them to re-up their offer. They expanded their principles to include the swaps around land.” And Arab leaders are now engaged every step of the way. When Kerry leaves a meeting with Abbas and Netanyahu, he flies over to meet Arab leaders.

“Issue two, what are the carrots? How do you change the dynamic?” The carrots are, one an extra security package for the Israelis: guarantees by the U.S. for Israel’s security, possible including NATO involvement. And two, an economic investment package for Palestinians in the West Bank. The deal means limited Palestinian sovereignty:

“The security guarantees include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state… The Palestinians have a security force, but they won’t have an army, a navy and an air force.”

“I think the third big difference is frankly also that it is not Arafat. Arafat was a revolutionary leader who could not fully embrace the change that he needed to make in order to make these decisions, Ben-Ami said. Mahmoud Abbas is not charismatic, but he has been engaged in “peace, diplomacy and negotiation” for all his life.

“Getting to yes on this is the culmination of Abbas’s life, whereas leading the revolution was the culmination of Arafat’s life.”

Ben-Ami then said, “A lot of people look at the track record of failure,” and say, “Why bother?” He said, “That’s a terribly self defeating attitude.”

“I agree there’s a lot of failure when I look in the rear view mirror. But we’re driving forward, right– and the future is ahead of us, and to condemn kids and grandchildren and generations to come and continue on this path because of the failures of prior efforts and generations I think is an irresponsible act of leadership…. I understand the failures and I think so does the secretary.”

Ben-Ami was dealing with a rightwing audience, many of whom see him as betraying Israel because he seeks withdrawal from some settlements and portions of East Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders who introduced him repeatedly cautioned the audience to be civil. They were. Though Ben-Ami catered to anti-Arab prejudice when he spoke to the Connecticut audience about the prospect of “sharing” Jerusalem:

Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem will be the capital of the new state of Palestine… You’ve been to Jerusalem, you know where the Arab neighborhoods are and you know where the Jewish neighborhoods are. And really the two people don’t spend a lot of time in each others’ neighborhoods.

The Holy Basin, one square kilometer, will be under some form of international jurisdiction, Ben-Ami said, before quoting Michael Oren or Dennis Ross (both of whom he praised): “Perhaps the answer is to say that the sovereignty over that land is God’s.”

Barring the religious flash or two, Ben-Ami’s presentation was straightforward and largely unemotional. But fear was ever present: the fear that Israel will become a pariah state, the fear that Israel will lose the Zionist dream that his father had fought for, as a member of the Jewish terrorist force, the Irgun. And the talk unleashed some fears on the part of the audience. A liberal Zionist stood to echo Ben-Ami’s warning, saying, We are in danger of losing the Jewish state if we don’t urge the creation of a Palestinian state, and all Jews should regard this as an emergency. Later I chatted with this man, and he expressed concern about the rightwing shift in Israeli society. (When I said that this was the inevitable product of Zionism, and that American Jews have prospered because of the separation of church and state, a lightning bolt sundered the JCC roof, and he shrugged.)

Subsequently in the parking lot, I eavesdropped on a conversation led by a man who identified himself as an official of a Jewish organization. He said his greatest concern was Jews fighting among ourselves. “That is how we lost Jerusalem.” This was presumably a reference to ancient times: We were standing on a largely-wooded ridge in a very nice section of suburban New Haven. But this man fears liberal Zionists coming out against rightwing Zionists, openly, in the sight of non-Jews who will want a say over Jerusalem.

This man also said that even with security guarantees, a Palestinian state was likely to break out in civil war akin to the one in Syria and Iraq. He offered this as an argument for continuing Israeli military occupation. Expect more such arguments in months to come, from the rightwing.

As for leftwing Jewry, it does not exist in this universe. Ben-Ami never referred to non- or anti-Zionists in the Jewish community. As far left as he goes is Peter Beinart, who uses the same white-out.

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74 Responses

  1. Ellen
    Ellen
    February 7, 2014, 12:45 pm

    What exactly is a ” liberal Zionist?” What does that expression mean?

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      February 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

      boy oh boy Ellen many of us have brought this up over and over again here at MW. A person cannot be a real “liberal” and a “zionist” at the same time.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        February 7, 2014, 1:18 pm

        Well, we know what a Zionist is and self-identified Zionist know their ideologies.

        But what the heck is a “liberal?” These kind of labels are inane. “Liberal Zionist” takes the cake for a phony meaningless blather.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      February 7, 2014, 1:07 pm

      It’s a person who supports racism and injustice against Palestinians when it benefits the Jews in Middle East but who wants to pretend that he’s not a person who supports racism and injustice against Palestinians when it benefits the Jews in the Middle East.

    • American
      American
      February 7, 2014, 1:08 pm

      A liberal zionist is a zionist who wants to pretend they are ‘moral’ and have ‘values’.
      They claim that the “moral imperative’ of a Jewish homeland in Palestine is paramount—–although they do ‘so regret’ that 700,000 Palestines had to be displaced and just want peace and justice if only the Palestines would accept their moral obligation to the greater good of the Jews and be satisified with whatever stolen land Israel wants to return to them.

    • Ecru
      Ecru
      February 7, 2014, 1:20 pm

      What exactly is a ” liberal Zionist?”

      A Zionist who graciously claims empathy with you as they, grinning, stick in and twist the knife.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 7, 2014, 3:30 pm

        To my mind a liberal Zionist is one who believes, in the first place, that there should be both a Jewish and a Palestinian state in the Holy Land, the liberalism being in the idea that Jewish claims are not total, merely pre-eminent in some sense, so that Palestinian needs are to be met only when Jewish needs are already satisfied. Secondly – what is needed to make a practical difference in comparison with strict Zionism – liberal Zionists believe that Jewish needs are reasonably satisfied already, so that there is no need to deprive the Palestinians of what little they still have, ie most of the WB and Gaza: as an act of grace and generosity, they should be given these minor territories. Such is liberal Zionism, I think.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 7, 2014, 5:17 pm

        İ cried when they shot Medgar Evers
        Tears ran down my spine
        I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
        As though I’d lost a father of mine
        But Malcolm X got what was coming
        He got what he asked for this time
        So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

        I go to civil rights rallies
        And I put down the old D.A.R.
        I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
        I hope every colored boy becomes a star
        But don’t talk about revolution
        That’s going a little bit too far
        So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

        I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
        My faith in the system restored
        I’m glad the commies were thrown out
        of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
        I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
        as long as they don’t move next door
        So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

        The people of old Mississippi
        Should all hang their heads in shame
        I can’t understand how their minds work
        What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crain?
        But if you ask me to bus my children
        I hope the cops take down your name
        So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

      • irishmoses
        irishmoses
        February 7, 2014, 8:22 pm

        I think liberal Zionism is (or should be) in the tradition of Martin Buber, Judah Magnes, and others that felt that the only solution was a bi-national, federated, democratic state in which all people would have equal civil rights and protections.

        The problem with liberal Zionism is that it’s inconsistent with the Zionism that springs from the psychology of trauma that Avigail Abarbanel speaks so eloquently about.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/02/oppression-consensus-israeli-democracy.html

        I think the so-called liberal Zionists, the wishy-washy sort often criticized on MW, try unsuccessfully to keep one foot in each camp: a foot in the Israel as the last bastion of the eternally persecuted Jew, and the other foot in the camp of liberal enlightenment equal rights values. It simply doesn’t work. The two camps are irreconcilable.

    • peterfeld
      peterfeld
      February 7, 2014, 4:18 pm

      “Liberal” Zionism is like “humane” foie gras.

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        February 7, 2014, 6:08 pm

        That’s good!

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      February 7, 2014, 4:58 pm

      What exactly is a ” liberal Zionist?” What does that expression mean?

      it is a koan. Some simply call it an oxymoron. It is up there with profound questions like ‘can I desire to be free of desire?’

  2. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 7, 2014, 12:52 pm

    “We are in danger of losing the Jewish state if we don’t urge the creation of a Palestinian state, and all Jews should regard this as an emergency. ”

    And in that statement lies the essence of why so many more Jews have become involved in this issue. Not necessarily out of real compassion for the Palestinians but because of the reality that the one state solution has come very close to being the only solution. One person, one vote. And that the very foundation of a racist state will be exposed. I think this reality is what has driven Ben Ami, Peter Beinart and others.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      February 7, 2014, 4:16 pm

      The preferred solution is a hidden colonialism, an eating away of the moral fibre of the occupied until its will to resist withers; military occupation cannot due this, only minority rule through ‘one dollar, one vote’. The PA is just ingratiating for a better share on the way out.

      ‘One dollar, one vote”
      http://ourfuture.org/20100109/will-supreme-court-rule-for-one-dollar-one-vote

      • Whizdom
        Whizdom
        February 7, 2014, 5:56 pm

        More properly, the crypto-colonialism

        It is a corrosive eating away of the occupier, until they become which what they once hated, and the whole thing collapses

  3. eljay
    eljay
    February 7, 2014, 12:52 pm

    >> What exactly is a ” liberal Zionist?”

    A “liberal Zionist” is a kinder, gentler Zio-supremacist.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      February 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

      bingo

    • Ecru
      Ecru
      February 7, 2014, 1:22 pm

      @ eljay

      I have to disagree. A “liberal Zionist” is one who claims to be a kinder, gentler Zio-supremacist while in fact being exactly the same.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 7, 2014, 2:00 pm

        Right wing Zionist would be the ones insisting, killing, stealing for a Greater Israel. “Liberal” Zionist willing to go with the land legally and illegally confiscated behind 67 border.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        February 7, 2014, 3:40 pm

        @ Kathleen

        “Liberal” Zionists have shown themselves all to willing to go along with the ordinary Zionists campaigns of murder and theft, defending the worst crimes all in the name of the Jewish volk.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 7, 2014, 2:06 pm

        >> I have to disagree. A “liberal Zionist” is one who claims to be a kinder, gentler Zio-supremacist while in fact being exactly the same.

        Right – they’re both Zio-supremacists. I don’t dispute that.

        But while the hard-core Zio wants a “Greater Israel” supremacist state and seems prepared to kill or to expel all “Arabs” from it, the liberal Zio says he’s content with a “Medium-sized Israel” supremacist state and prefers excising troublesome demographics (i.e., re-drawing borders and stripping non-Jewish Israelis of their citizenship) to killing and cleansing.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        February 7, 2014, 3:37 pm

        @ eljay

        …while the hard-core Zio wants a “Greater Israel” supremacist state and seems prepared to kill or to expel all “Arabs” from it, the liberal Zio says he’s content with a “Medium-sized Israel” supremacist state and prefers excising troublesome demographics (i.e., re-drawing borders and stripping non-Jewish Israelis of their citizenship) to killing and cleansing.

        True that’s what they say but when it comes to it they happily and repeatedly justify all the killing maiming and ethnic cleansing that the ordinary Zionist is happy to commit. At least the ordinary Zionist gets points for being honest, the “liberal” Zionist can’t even manage that.

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        February 8, 2014, 6:49 pm

        @ecru, one could make the same kind of statement about Islam, by quoting Turkey’s Erdogan

        … it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.

        Zionism is the liberation movement for the Jewish people and liberal Zionism is only watering down true Zionism to appease the anti-Zionist gangs.

        Appeasement does not work as the opponents of Zionism want nothing less than its eradication, with the concomitant demise of the Jewish people.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 9, 2014, 4:09 am

        liberal Zionism is only watering down true Zionism to appease the anti-Zionist gangs

        So you agree with those who say that there is no such thing as a liberal Zionist. Interesting how extremes converge.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 9, 2014, 2:38 pm

        One perhaps should distinguish between “Zionists” willing to accept Israel within the Green Line, and fanatical Zionist-expansionists.

  4. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    February 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

    I agree, Kerry will go down on his knees for the donkey..

  5. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    February 7, 2014, 1:18 pm

    The deal means limited Palestinian sovereignty: “The security guarantees include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state… The Palestinians have a security force, but they won’t have an army, a navy and an air force.”

    What security threat would a small Palestinian military force present? A simple matter of national pride? This Israeli condition seems like a terrible humiliation to me; Palestinians still be treated as not equal, as inferior, as children.

    • American
      American
      February 8, 2014, 7:36 pm

      ”This Israeli condition seems like a terrible humiliation to me; Palestinians still be treated as not equal, as inferior, as children.”……. Sibiriak

      Zionist will never treat others as equals. They are the kind of people who can only be ‘big’ by making other people ‘small’.
      Its a soul sickness…. it will destroy them eventually.

  6. Walid
    Walid
    February 7, 2014, 1:35 pm

    “And Arab leaders are now engaged every step of the way. When Kerry leaves a meeting with Abbas and Netanyahu, he flies over to meet Arab leaders.”

    Nothing new, nothing ever changes as far as Palestinians are concerned. 94 years have gone by, and Arab leaders are still speaking on behalf of Palestinian people and making capital decisions on their behalf without their knowledge or consent.

    This whole J Street bullshitting blitz is about what everybody is willing or not willing to do but not a word about what the Palestinian people want. Ben-Ami is banking on the acceptance of a yes-man but this acceptance would be of zero value if it doesn’t meet with the acceptance of the 6 million Palestinians in the world.

  7. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 7, 2014, 1:40 pm

    “Get ready, Kerry will go where no American leader has gone before — Ben-Ami”

    Sounds like he’s going to go for ***the holiest of holies***.
    What movie was that?

  8. amigo
    amigo
    February 7, 2014, 1:58 pm

    “So over the coming weeks and months, get ready, because I think we’re going to have a front row seat to watch these debates play out,”ben ami

    I was just thinking of a term we have not heard for many months!!!.

    Preconditions.

    I bet nietanyahu is the first one out of the trap shouting , Israel is ready to come to the table without pre-conditions as he hands a list of objections a mile long to Kerry and then continues to approve more illegal settlements.Geez , I hope those days are not coming back again.

  9. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    February 7, 2014, 2:23 pm

    I love it the Palestinians have to make sacrifices and acknowledge and give up claims to the illegal settlements. And they will always be subject to invasion from the west. We know the US wants to protect Israel from the east…who will protect the Palestinians from the west?

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      February 7, 2014, 2:43 pm

      Palestinians should simply say the border does not change merely because Jews are living in the WB illegally.

  10. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 7, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Kerry apparently thinks if the new Palestine to come is bought off with a higher standard of living for those within it, via a capital investment paid for by US/EU, Israel will allow the presence of US led UN border troops, both to prevent bootleg arms into Palestine, and to serve as supplement to the local Palestinian police. Wouldn’t Israel be taking a chance the foreign military on the border might not like what they see about Israel? And wouldn’t it be harder for Israel to take the matter into its own hands (by force of arms) as it has always done? The plan’s vision of a new Palestine state looks to me like a bigger Gaza with more supplies and trade across its borders.

    How does compensation to Arab Jews who fled or willingly did ROT to Israel compare with how the Palestinians refugees will be dealt with?

    • American
      American
      February 7, 2014, 4:18 pm

      ”Wouldn’t Israel be taking a chance the foreign military on the border might not like what they see about Israel? And wouldn’t it be harder for Israel to take the matter into its own hands (by force of arms) as it has always done?..Citizen

      Yea, which is exactly why Isr has objected to it every time its been put forth by Palestine, the EU and various US military command over the past decade.

  11. James Canning
    James Canning
    February 7, 2014, 2:42 pm

    The 2002 Arab Peace Iniative or Saudi Peace Plan was the obvious way forward, in my view. GW Bush was too ignorant and lazy to comprehend this fact.

    • Walid
      Walid
      February 7, 2014, 3:43 pm

      James, the 2002 initiative would have been a bad deal. A few years later it was modified and made worse and still Israel did not accept it. For as long as it keeps refusing it or any other offer, it will continue expanding its facts on the ground that could not be undone in any final agreement. What was the settler population in 2002 and what is it now?

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 7, 2014, 6:34 pm

        Bad deal for Palestine (2002 Saudi Peace Plan)?

      • Walid
        Walid
        February 8, 2014, 11:50 am

        Yes, James, the initial 2002 plan called for 67 borders and the postponement of talks about the return of Palestinians to their homeland to an undetermined time in the future and worst, at conditions acceptable to Israel. The proposal would have forced Israel to determine its final borders.

        The same proposal was again floated by the Arabs in 2007 , but regrettably done the day after the Passover bombing-massacre of Natanya , so it went nowhere as because of the incident Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians worsened.

        It was again taken out of mothballs in 2012 but containing the worse condition that the Arabs (notice how the term “Palestinians” is never used) would ready to consider swaps that would permit the substantial settlements to become part of Israel. Currently, Israel is floating proposals of its own about the swaps and it involves swapping Palestinian villages located in the “triangle” within the current Israel to be transferred to the new Palestinian state.

        And still no talk about the 2 million stateless refugees living in the camps of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 8, 2014, 2:01 pm

        Walid, I think an assumption behind the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan was that there would be no right of return, save for a tiny minority of refugees.

        Pre-1967 borders, for Palestine, were likely acceptable to most Palestinians.

      • southernobserver
        southernobserver
        February 7, 2014, 8:16 pm

        Dear Walid,
        Thank you for summing up the central problem, so briefly. I do not see how the Palestinian’s can very break even. The original proposal for 22% of a Palestine state was not clearly viable. The one state + multiple open air prisons solution that is being proposed as a huge concession from Mr Kerry clearly is nonviable, and even that is being fought tooth an nail.

        I don’t see a way forward. I believe the testimony here that the ICJ has already been altered, and is choosing not to be involved. The prison state solution is presented as full resolution of BDS. That is, if the campaign was successful, the Palestinians’ would remain grossly oppressed.

        Is our only choice to shrug or to boycott Israel for ever?

      • Walid
        Walid
        February 8, 2014, 12:11 pm

        southernobserver, to employ a despicable term used by Israelis in 2004 just before the bogus Israeli pullout from Gaza, the peace process with the Palestinians has been effectively and permanently frozen in “formaldehyde” by Israel. A few years later, Netanyahu bragged how he had succeeded in sabotaging the Oslo and how they’d never get out of the Valley.

        Combine that to the backhanded manner the Arabs have been treating the Palestinian conflict and you can clearly see that the Palestinians are heading towards one huge disappointment with no real friends to rely on.

        BDS, like foreplay, isn’t the real thing. Palestinians have to shake off (yountoufoudo) their current leadership and their reliance on the Arabs and take their destiny in their own hands.

        In case you missed it, the 2004 Israeli master plan involving Gaza and the West Bank and the evil machinations of the Zionist mind:

        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/top-pm-aide-gaza-plan-aims-to-freeze-the-peace-process-1.136686

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 7, 2014, 10:09 pm

        Walid:

        For as long as it keeps refusing it or any other offer, it will continue expanding its facts on the ground that could not be undone in any final agreement.

        True, but it appears we are entering the endgame now–a qualitatively different stage of the so-called “peace process” (i.e. expansionary Greater Israel project). The Wall is up and is not going to be moved to take more territory; the major settlements are in place; further new settlements would meet too much international opposition, and so on. Israel now can get the maximum out of a two-state settlement; beyond this there is no two-state settlement. The international community is driving that point home vehemently. Israeli leaders likely realize this. The Kerry deal will give them almost everything they could ask for in a 2SS. There is a very good chance that Israeli leaders go for it–in stages of course.

      • Walid
        Walid
        February 8, 2014, 12:33 pm

        Sibiriak, real estate-wise, the 10% stolen as additional area by the snaking wall on top of the 5% already stolen by the settlements that constitute where the evil wall has been built isn’t much if you just look it from a square meters perspective. But it’s the overall dimension that must be taken into account involving that wall such as how it has cut off Palestinian farmers from their lands and water wells, (Palestinians are basically farming people, not bureaucrats) and how it has cut up what’s left of the WB to make it nonviable. Most importantly, all the settlements have been built to maintain control over the WB aquifers that are supplying half of Israel’s water needs. Israel will never walk away from those.

        You are saying that it can’t get worse as the international community would never allow the settlements to grow. That community is already too late in trying to fix the problem. You’re comfortable with the fact that it can’t get worse; I’m uncomfortable with what the Palestinians will have to live with.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 8, 2014, 12:38 pm

        Walid:

        You’re comfortable with the fact that it can’t get worse; I’m uncomfortable with what the Palestinians will have to live with.

        I’m not comfortable with either prospect. But I do know that history doesn’t end there.

        I don’t fault anyone for holding on to the hope that some 2 million refugees will be able to return to Palestine en masse and that substantial settlements won’t become part of Israel, etc. I do think that’s a false hope.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 8, 2014, 2:21 pm

        Why not insist the wall be relocated to the Green Line?

  12. talknic
    talknic
    February 7, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Israel will stall and do everything in its power to ensure a POTUS in favour of the US UNSC veto vote is installed, maintaining the occupation and the continued illegal acquisition of non-Israeli territory.

    The only way to bring about peaceful change is to bring Israel to its knees thru boycotts and sanctions against the state and investors in the illegal settlements at every level while informing the world precisely why according to the law and UN Charter. The alternative while the rogue state is being Governed by people who appear to be insane is simply too ghastly to contemplate.

  13. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 7, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Is there any conceivable candidate who would not as things stand fit that bill?

  14. American
    American
    February 7, 2014, 4:08 pm

    Palestine needs to do some pressuring of their own and just indicate right now that if Kerry’s plan is not acceptable to them they will go straight to the ICC…and start working on the steps to do so and make those steps very public for the US and Isr to see.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 7, 2014, 10:13 pm

      American:

      Palestine needs to do some pressuring of their own and just indicate right now that if Kerry’s plan is not acceptable to them they will go straight to the ICC

      What kind of ICC ruling would they hope for? How would it be enforced? How would it end the occupation and/or forestall unilateral Israel annexation of settlement blocs?

  15. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    February 7, 2014, 4:22 pm

    I disagree with the tone of the “What is a liberal Zionist?” discussion. Liberal Jews have been at the forefront of the American civil rights movement, strong supporters of the ACLU, by far the most active ethnic group in terms of philanthropic giving. The one moral failing has been to suspend the values which motivated these actions when it comes to the State of Israel. Witness Scarlett Johansson. But Jews aren’t unique here. Devote Catholics will work in clinics fighting the aids epidemic and then pressure politicians not to distribute condoms. They will march for women’s rights but not to be priests. They will set up inner-city clubs to keep kids out of trouble then, to protect the Church, hide the actions of priest perverts leading to the rape of kids. And of course most parents, when faced with some hideous crime by a child of theirs, will hire the best lawyer they can’ to get the child off. None of this excuses anything. But it does recommend caution against residing too comfortably on the moral high ground.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      February 7, 2014, 5:13 pm

      John Douglas,

      It is not about being comfortable on the moral high ground, it is about calling a thing by its rightful name. If one calls himself “liberal,” he can’t suspend that liberalism when it comes to his own ethno-religious group.

    • American
      American
      February 7, 2014, 5:48 pm

      @ John Douglas

      Do you see any of us Indian killing , slave trading, bigot, anti semite,imperilist Americans on here claiming the moral high ground or crediting ourselves with the superior morality you are ascribing to the Jews in their ‘one moral failing’?
      No you dont.
      So thank you for the ‘caution’ but its totally unnecessary.

    • Abu Malia
      Abu Malia
      February 8, 2014, 10:45 am

      “None of this excuses anything. But it does recommend caution against residing too comfortably on the moral high ground.”

      Not at all John, the progressive outlook of liberal Zionists (wrt domestic US policies)is in no doubt – that is why we call them PEPs (progressives except Palestine). Only problem is, you can’t say you’re a Vegan but only eat meat on Thursdays!

  16. Patrick
    Patrick
    February 7, 2014, 4:42 pm

    “I eavesdropped on a conversation led by a man who identified himself as an official of a Jewish organization. He said his greatest concern was Jews fighting among ourselves. ”

    Indeed, I think this is a widespread fear, and one that’s shared by the Gov’t in Israel. As I’ve mentioned before in this forum, the prospect of a civil war in Israel over evacuating the settlements was raised by none other than Shimon Peres with members of the British Parliament, back in 2008. If he’s raising this matter publicly, you can imagine that this sort of scenario is taken very seriously in Israel.

    See: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/video-peres-warns-evacuation-of-settlers-may-lead-to-civil-war-1.257547

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      February 7, 2014, 6:41 pm

      Perhaps the huge numbers of illegal Jews living in the west Bank should simply be told they will end up living in Palestine?

      • Patrick
        Patrick
        February 8, 2014, 7:08 pm

        Yes, and the settlers could stay where they are and pay taxes to Palestine. I think that this idea has been proposed before. But it would probably be unacceptable to many settlers on a number of levels, i.e., security, loss of privileges, connection to Israel, etc. Also, it’s not just the settlers. Their supporters within Israel proper, in particular those within the IDF, that could revolt against removal of the settlements.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 8, 2014, 7:11 pm

        If the settlers are allowed to remain, there of course would be no “removal” of settlements or settlers, apart from the many who might relocate west of the Green Line on their own accord.

        And yes, problems with the Israeli army could be expected.

      • American
        American
        February 8, 2014, 7:48 pm

        Well if those settlers stay in the West Bank Palestine would be right to seize the property they are living on and return it to the rightful Palestine owners.
        Anyone who thinks that settlers literally living on stolen property that belongsto some Palestine still in Palestine could continue to live on it as a Jewish Palestine citizen and never return that property to the rightful owner is crazy.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 9, 2014, 2:33 pm

        There indeed would be substantial compensation issues needing to be addressed.

  17. American
    American
    February 7, 2014, 5:19 pm

    The question we havent asked is if Kerry’s efforts fail will the US wash its hands of it or not?
    And what would the US washing its hands of I/P actually mean?
    Would it mean letting Israel keep on doing what its doing and still give it billions in aid and UN vetos or not?
    Would it mean encouraging the EU on the quiet to put sanctions on Israel?
    Would it mean aid but no vetoing of UN resolutions/actions against Israel?
    Turn it over to the EU and Arabs and promise not to interfer with their efforts to settle I/P by protecting Israel from any of their actions?
    Would the EU or Arabs just kiss off the Palestines and let Israel have its way?
    I think the US would have to make some adjustment unfavorable to Israel if we did or face the ultimate humilation of having to hoist the Isr flag over the WH for real.

    UK’s Hague: ‘Dark time’ awaits region if talks fail | The Times of Israel – http://www.timesofisrael.com/uks-hag

    “British foreign secretary predicts rise in international pressure, praises Kerry’s peace efforts”
    “British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Thursday night that failure to forge a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians would lead to “terrible consequences” for both sides, and significant international pressure on Israel.”

    “I have warned Israeli leaders, as well as Palestinians, that much of the world will see this as the last chance at a two-state solution,” said Hague during an interview on the BBC HARDtalk program. “I really pay tribute to [US Secretary of State] John Kerry and to the energy and commitment that he has put into this. And many observers will say if it doesn’t work, that if John Kerry, with all the weight of the United States, all his experience and standing in the Middle East and the world, cannot bring the two sides together to reach final-status agreements, then who can?”

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      February 7, 2014, 6:29 pm

      I would expect more foolish American support of illegal Israeli colonisation programme in the West Bank, if no deal is reached. And more foolish efforts by the US to protect Israel on the international scene etc etc.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 7, 2014, 9:50 pm

      American:

      The question we havent asked is if Kerry’s efforts fail will the US wash its hands of it or not?

      Absolutely not.

      Would it mean letting Israel keep on doing what its doing and still give it billions in aid and UN vetos or not?
      Would it mean encouraging the EU on the quiet to put sanctions on Israel?
      Would it mean aid but no vetoing of UN resolutions/actions against Israel?

      Israel, Israel, Israel– don’t rule out the possibility that it will be the Palestinians that reject the generous Kerry plan and the Palestinians get the major blame. This could lead, eventually, to unilateral Israeli annexation of settlement blocs, backed by the U.S.

      • American
        American
        February 8, 2014, 11:35 am

        Sibiriak says:
        ‘This could lead, eventually, to unilateral Israeli annexation of settlement blocs, backed by the U.S.”>>>

        I dont think so. After 65 years of the US officially calling the settlements illegal I dont think we gonna ‘back’ an Israelis annexation of settlements. Israel might do it in violation of all international law but the US wont ‘back it”.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 8, 2014, 12:13 pm

        American says:

        I dont think so. After 65 years of the US officially calling the settlements illegal.

        The U.S. calls them “illegitimate” now, and usually talks about new settlements being an “obstacle to peace”. You don’t here the word “illegal” any more.

        I dont think we gonna ‘back’ an Israelis annexation of settlements.

        The annexation I’m talking about would be settlements that the U.S. itself will propose go under Israeli sovereignty.

        So, yes, the U.S. may very well back it’s own proposal, or acquiesce to it, if rejected by the Palestinians.

      • American
        American
        February 8, 2014, 12:49 pm

        @Sibiriak

        Well in a settlement deal the US obviously would do just that.
        But I took your comment to be suggesting what the US would do (afterward) if it a peace deal failed and the US”washed its hands” of the whole I/P problem.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 8, 2014, 2:03 pm

        Many Aipac stooges in the US Congress would welcome Israeli “annexation” of parts of the West Bank, no matter how much damage this did to US interests.

  18. piotr
    piotr
    February 7, 2014, 7:39 pm

    John Douglas: I disagree with the tone of the “What is a liberal Zionist?” discussion.

    I am sure that John has a valid point. It is good to be bold and self-assured, but after overdoing it a reader may get an impression that “good Zionist is a dead reprogrammed Zionist”.

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      February 8, 2014, 11:52 am

      I’m with you Piotr. Lots of folks have contradictions. I find it to be a glaring contradiction, and a sore one, but it’s the name they use for themselves, in the American context they are in a liberal position (including support at NYRB and the Nation); and God isn’t finished with them yet.

  19. American
    American
    February 7, 2014, 10:23 pm

    I dont believe for a second that Ben-Ami is in tight with Kerry or knows jack shit more than what has already been bandied about on the settlement details. He is just another zio posturing and sucking up oxgyen and trying to pretend to the Jews that both I lobbies didnt get the shit kicked out them and they are still in control.
    I can promise you Obama didnt get this ditty from either lobby…..

    ”Let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

    I dont know what gave Obama the balls to utter the words…’for the sake of OUR national security’–it certainly wasnt J-Street or AIPAC or any I-First Dem party donors — but that is what sent all the rats scurrying back into their holes on Iran.

    He could say the same thing…’for the sake of OUR national security’ about Israel’s occupation of Palestine and really panic the rats.
    I am sure both J-Street and AIPAC have thought about that nightmare possibility.

  20. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 8, 2014, 12:48 am

    J Street’s Dead End http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2014/01/28/j-streets-dead-end/

    Well written and excellent analysis of J Street and the limits of its functional nature.

  21. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 8, 2014, 12:49 am

    Kerry’s Ridiculously One-sided “Framework Agreement” is DOA http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2014/02/01/kerrys-ridiculously-one-sided-framework-agreement-is-doa/

  22. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 11, 2014, 8:17 pm

    Latest data, a summary from APN translation of Israeli newspaper–looks like Kerry’s definitely working for Israel:

    Maariv/NRG Hebrew’s Eli Bardenstein reported that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu won’t see US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework agreement until Netanyahu visits the White House early next month, but Bardenstein shared many interesting details:
    1. It would include Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
    2.”The Palestinians accept the demand to annex the settlement blocs.”
    3. Another “victory” for Israel: “Negotiations will be conducted on the basis of the ’67 borders with land swaps, taking into account the demographic changes in the West Bank.” Israeli sources said that the Palestinians rejected this sort of formulation because it is not possible to draw a line for a border based on it. Abbas demanded that the wording would be “’67 lines with land swaps and the settlement blocs”… so that it would be clear where Israel can continue to build (in the blocs) and where it cannot (outside the fence).” But Netanyahu refused Abbas’ formulation because it would be possible to draw a map from it and Kerry apparently accepted Netanyahu’s position.

    Bardenstein writes that despite the agreement on various issues, there are still major disputes, particularly over the issues of Jerusalem and security. While the Palestinians demand East Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of the Palestinian state, Netanyahu is only willing for the Americans to recognize the aspirations of the Palestinians to view Jerusalem as their capital. On security, the Palestinians are willing to allow an Israeli presence for up to five years in the Jordan Valley, while Israel demands ten years. In any case, neither Israel nor Jordan is willing to accept the Palestinian proposal that NATO forces be deployed in the land after the Israeli withdrawal.

    Meanwhile, the Europeans are not so excited about the US framework agreement and have said they are not on board unless changes are made, Bardenstein reported. In messages transmitted by European officials to Washington, it appears that the European Union will not rush to adopt the American document if it involves the EU withdrawing from positions it has stated in the past. This is especially true regarding the issue of East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. European messages also indicated that the issue of Right of Return should have wording that leaves the Palestinians the right, but will not allow the actual return. Europeans also want that the formulations be presented as parameters for negotiations and a permanent settlement and not as an obscure paper that is not binding. The Europeans also noted that the US document presently appears biased in favor of Israel, and if changes are not made to it, there is no way Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can accept it. In recent days, Kerry spoke several times with Prime Minister Netanyahu and yesterday lower level contacts were made between Livni and of senior American officials.

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