Three weeks ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren visited the University of New Hampshire and Nooran Alhamdan, a Palestinian-American UNH student (who buttonholes presidentials), asked her a three-part question. The first two parts were easy. “Will you make sure that the free speech rights of BDS supporters are protected?” Yes, Warren said. “Would you restore funding to UNRWA?” Yes again.
Then Alhamdan asked about human rights abuses by Israel that the U.S. has given a pass. “Will you actually hold Israel accountable for its continued human rights violations?”
Warren didn’t answer that question. She wanted to talk about the two-state solution and Palestinian “dignity.”
This– I want to describe this way. I think we start with a statement of our values. Israel is entitled to security and Palestinians are entitled to dignity and self-determination. I believe the way we get there is a two-state solution. Netanyahu has clearly indicated he is headed in a different direction. He has made his case now with extremist right wing groups that push both Israel and the entire region I believe in a far more dangerous direction. I believe that as a good ally to everyone in the region that we should be pushing hard back toward a two state solution and toward insisting on both parts, that is, security for Israel and dignity and self-determination for all of the Palestinian people.
Warren is at the left of the Democratic presidentials but she is reflecting the official Democratic position here: the two-state solution is threatened by Netanyahu/Trump. Yesterday, Rep. Eliot Engel, a rightwing/AIPAC Israel supporter, met with J Street, to affirm his support for two-state solution. “Very important to advance the two state solution and support the US/Israel relationship.” Rep. Gerry Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, said the same:
Congress must work to preserve the truly pro-Israel solution: one that recognizes that a two-state solution is the only way to ensure a secure and democratic Jewish state and recognizes the political and human rights of the Palestinians.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky too. This is almost funny: “Great discussion on the #twostatesolution with @janschakowsky with @RabbiLondon @jstreetdotorg”
“There’s anxiety in the region that [the two-state solution] is slipping away,” Murphy said. “Yet I don’t know that there’s a better answer.”
Nine Democratic congresspeople are supporting a J Street style bill to enforce US adherence to the two-state solution. Jewish Insider reports.
“This bill is critical because I believe it is painfully obvious that both the U.S. and Israeli administrations are taking a step back from a two-state solution,” Rep. [Alan] Lowenthal wrote in an email to Jewish Insider. “This retreat from a two-state solution in the U.S. runs counter to the policies of presidents of both parties over the past several decades.”
So, again: a leader on economic justice issues, Warren is very much in the Dem mainstream on this question. The issue clearly frightens her as a potential wedge in the left-liberal base. You may remember that in 2014 she ran from a reporter who asked her about the Israeli assault on Gaza that killed more than 500 children. At that time Bernie Sanders abstained on giving Israel another $225 million in armaments, but Warren supported the gift. And she said at a town hall: “America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”