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Asked about Palestinian human rights, Elizabeth Warren offers talking points on two-state solution

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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”

Dick Durbin echoes. Sen. Chris Murphy just returned from a visit to the Middle East, and said:

“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.”

Philip Weiss

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

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25 Responses

  1. eljay on May 1, 2019, 11:16 am

    … Rep. Gerry Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, said the same: …

    Congress must work to preserve the truly pro-Israel solution …

    The American politicians’ pledge of allegiance.

  2. mondonut on May 1, 2019, 1:28 pm

    It is truly shocking that all these Democrats express a policy that is actually the policy of their own political party.

    • bcg on May 1, 2019, 2:54 pm

      @Mondonut: what I find even more shocking is that the two-state solution isn’t really the policy of Israel any longer.

    • Donald on May 1, 2019, 9:18 pm

      The policy is to state that they support a 2ss. Pressuring Israel to stop settlement activity is not part of the policy. Obama did nothing for 8 years except increase aid to Israel and many Democrats in Congress thought he was too hard on Israel.

      Posturing is the policy.

      • wondering jew on May 1, 2019, 10:48 pm

        Donald- If a Democrat is elected president in 2020, do you think he/she will be in a position to pressure Israel to stop the settlements or freeze the settlements? Probably not. But the dynamics of Israel/Palestine becoming the premiere foreign policy issue of the left wing of the democratic party changes the dynamic.

        As I said, trump will run against two democrats: against whoever the dems nominate and against Ilhan Omar. I betcha that ilhan omar is unpopular in key precincts in pennsylvania, michigan and wisconsin.

        If Obama had his druthers he’d have done more, I believe. I don’t think the financial underpinnings of the democratic party allowed him to do more.

        By the way, I blame Hillary Clinton’s run for the senate for the delay of seriousness by Bill Clinton in 2000 in getting down to brass tacks in the Arafat /Ehud Barak negotiations. Also the negotiators in the summer did not realize that what was almost agreed to in Taba was the natural destination rather than what Barak offered at Camp David. I believe by January of 2001, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were very close, but Barak closed it down. He was not going to sign a document on the eve of his getting elected out of office. That is natural in a way. I blame the Israeli electorate for voting Barak out of office and voting for netanyahu rather than livni (kadima) in 2009. there were brief moments when there was a breakthrough of “courage” in the israeli political center, but they lacked the backing of enough of the israeli public for them to carry it through. The denial of the possibility of the oslo process is as ignorant as the denial of the failure of the oslo process.
        Currently I “favor” Israeli annexation of parts of the west bank. It is the natural next step. That will allow me to come out in favor of citizenship, because annexation of any sort is a shorthand for annexation without citizenship. which is the current state of affairs. but only de facto. taking a de jure step that makes it clearer will make it easier to come straight out in favor of full annexation and full citizenship. (by the way: full citizenship could be a 20 year process. I know this sounds unfair. but to those of us who think of rabin’s assassination as recent, 20 years is a short period of time.)

      • johneill on May 2, 2019, 11:53 am

        equal rights includes the right of return, or else the apartheid frames itself around national v. citizenship rights.

      • Mooser on May 2, 2019, 9:08 pm

        “full citizenship could be a 20 year process. I know this sounds unfair. but to those of us who think of rabin’s assassination as recent, 20 years is a short period of time.)” “WJ”

        Poor “Yonah” is having a hard time forgiving the Palestinians for assassinating Rabin.

        It’s time you forgave the Palestinians for Rabin’s death, “WJ”

      • Donald on May 2, 2019, 11:46 pm

        “If a Democrat is elected president in 2020, do you think he/she will be in a position to pressure Israel to stop the settlements or freeze the settlements? ”

        No idea, honestly. I can’t pretend to understand American politics, but I usually expect to be disappointed.

        I think a President Sanders might try pressuring Israel. But a President Sanders would be more interested in Medicare for All. So if he wants a second term and if he wants to accomplish big things domestically, Palestinian rights aren’t going to be his top priority.

        The other possible Democratic Presidents probably would put even less emphasis on Palestine. I don’t think Palestinians should expect much help from the US government. They presumably don’t need me to tell them that.

    • genesto on May 2, 2019, 12:09 pm

      No. What’s shocking is that the Democratic Party – in fact, BOTH parties – support pro Israel policies that are ANTITHETICAL to US interests in the Middle East! Just ask the generals about that.

      Actually, it’s not so shocking at all, really. As Rep. Omar said so articulately, it’s all about the Benjamins!!

      • mondonut on May 2, 2019, 1:00 pm

        @genesto, support pro Israel policies that are ANTITHETICAL to US interests

        The policies of the US towards Israel are not antithetical to US interests, that is nonsense. And “the generals” do not define US interests.

  3. ckg on May 1, 2019, 2:37 pm

    The two state solution may have died years ago, but Democratic politicians are still cashing its social security checks. House guests are beginning to notice the stench coming from the freezer.

    • genesto on May 2, 2019, 12:12 pm

      God forbid the Democratic Party should ever lose the 2SS as cover for having to face the reality of what our policy vis a vis Israel and the Palestinians is REALLY about!

  4. JWalters on May 1, 2019, 8:48 pm

    Former Senator James Abourezk wrote,

    “I can tell you from personal experience that, at least in the Congress, the support Israel has in that body is based completely on political fear — fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress—at least when I served there—have any affection for Israel or for its Lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel. I’ve heard too many cloakroom conversations in which members of the Senate will voice their bitter feelings about how they’re pushed around by the Lobby to think otherwise. In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the Lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the Lobby’s animosity by making their feelings public.”
    http://ifamericaknew.org/us_ints/pg-abourezk.html

    Senator Warren is still one of those hiding in the cloakroom, afraid of another nation (and it’s not Russia).

    • Citizen on May 2, 2019, 12:18 am

      Yes, she’s hiding. Somebody needs to ask her in public, considering how she favors a two=state solution, doesn’t she think putting economic pressure on Israel to stop its settlements the most practical way the US could enhance actual movement towards a two-state solution? Somebody needs to use the pizza analogy on her–I bet she’d get all flustered.

      • JWalters on May 3, 2019, 8:19 pm

        Good question. I’d also like to see somebody ask her (and all these candidates) if they support Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill to protect Palestinian children from documented Israeli brutality.

  5. Ossinev on May 2, 2019, 7:14 am

    “security for Israel and dignity and self-determination for all of the Palestinian people”

    A recurring theme (or lack of theme) from these pseudo liberals is that poor traumatised eternally threatened and victimised Zioland is entitled to “security” but the people whose lands,properties and resources the Fascist Colonisers have stolen are not entitled to “security” from the continuing theft.

    As for the “dignity” and “self determination” the questioner should have followed up by asking the evasive Ms Warren to define what exactly she meant by this. It sure as hell wouldn`t be any form of sovereignty.

    @WJ
    “Currently I “favor” Israeli annexation of parts of the west bank. It is the natural next step. That will allow me to come out in favor of citizenship, because annexation of any sort is a shorthand for annexation without citizenship. which is the current state of affairs. but only de facto. taking a de jure step that makes it clearer will make it easier to come straight out in favor of full annexation and full citizenship. (by the way: full citizenship could be a 20 year process. I know this sounds unfair”

    Wow! You are all heart. LOL

    • genesto on May 2, 2019, 12:16 pm

      I, too, favor annexation and full citizenship. What other option is there, really, for Palestinians ultimately achieving peace with justice?

      • Sibiriak on May 2, 2019, 2:08 pm

        Please consider the possibility that there will never be any “peace with justice”.

      • Mooser on May 2, 2019, 8:59 pm

        “What other option is there, really, for Palestinians ultimately achieving peace with justice?”

        And yet, the Palestinians obstinately refuse this alternative?

    • oldgeezer on May 2, 2019, 11:33 pm

      @wj

      It never ceases to amaze me that preferred approaches for peace put forward by Israel, and it’s zionist supporters, invariably propose the commission of further war crimes so as to ameliorate prior war crimes.

      It doesn’t pass the smell test. And the Palestinians will know that.

      If you want peace for Israel it needs to be stopping the crime and beginning or addressing restoration and restitution.

      I don’t care how it’s done as long as everyone is agreeable and it doesn’t involve war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  6. James Canning on May 2, 2019, 10:53 am

    The likelihood of Israel’s treating non-Jews in the occupied West Bank on an equal basis with Jews, is nil. In my view. “Annexation” or no annexation.

  7. Elizabeth Block on May 2, 2019, 11:23 am

    Anyone who says they support a two-state solution actually support the continuation of the status quo, i.e. Israel’s daily theft of Palestinian land, water, livelihoods, and lives.
    Warren isn’t stupid. When she realizes that there’s support out there – including Jewish support – for a genuine solution, she’ll come round.

    There’s a story about FDR receiving a lobby group of church people and other people trying to do good. I forget what cause they were advocating for, but when they finished, FDR said, “You’ve convinced me. Now go out there and make me do it.”
    I guess it’s up to us to make her do it.

    • eljay on May 2, 2019, 12:48 pm

      || Elizabeth Block: Anyone who says they support a two-state solution actually support the continuation of the status quo … ||

      I support a 2SS but hardly the status quo. IMO, a 2SS includes:
      – two secular and democratic states (and a Free City of Jerusalem) of and for all people living in and up to n-generations removed from their respective Partition borders, equally;
      – a fair and equitable apportioning of regional resources;
      – international laws and human rights respected and upheld;
      – mandatory RoR and full reparations for original refugees, RoR or full reparations for first generation removed, partial reparations on a declining scale for subsequent generations; and
      – full accountability for (war) crimes committed.

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