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Liberal Zionists decry Trump plan as an existential threat to ‘Jewish democracy’

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When Donald Trump announced his “peace plan” this afternoon, rightwing lobbyists for Israel crowded the room, including Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, John Hagee, Joe Lieberman, Malcolm Hoenlein, Alan Dershowitz, and Ron Lauder.

But if rightwing supporters love Trump’s plan to give Israel sovereignty over much of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, liberal and centrist American Zionists are horrified. They regard the plan as an existential threat to “the Jewish democracy.” These Israel supporters say the plan will move Israel toward annexing much of the West Bank, thereby ending any possibility of a two-state solution and leading to a binational state in which Palestinians will demand equal rights.

These Zionists are responding with alarm and rage to the plan and, joined by many leading Democrats, announcing plans to fight its implementation.

Michael Koplow of the centrist Israel Policy Forum explains the plan: 

So, here is what it seems like to me: Israel today gets to annex the Jordan Valley and effectively annex most of Area C by “applying sovereignty” to settlements. In four years, if the Palestinians don’t accept this, Israel gets to annex the entirely of the West Bank.

It is the clearest roadmap one could construct to a one-state outcome. Congratulations to the extreme right – you are about to get what you wished for.

Like others, Koplow sees a political motivation in the announcement, to help Netanyahu win reelection in March:

Bibi is confirming that this is an annexation gambit, plain and simple

He sees the plan as a victory for the movement to sanction Israel in mainstream circles:

Protip: study up on conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel, because that is now going to move to the front burner as an issue for debate.

The liberal Zionist group J Street has issued a condemnation of the plan because it endangers Israel’s claim to be the “democratic homeland for the Jewish people” and also exacerbates the conflict. 

By endorsing Israeli sovereignty over vast portions of the occupied West Bank, the president and his team appear to be empowering Israeli leaders to carry out unilateral annexations that would flagrantly violate international law, trample on the rights of Palestinians and grossly endanger Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. They are discarding decades of bipartisan US policy in favor of a destructive effort that is certain to exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, empower the most dangerous extremists on both sides and destabilize Israel’s already tenuous relationship with Jordan…

J Street issues a call to action against “permanent conflict and occupation”:

This is a time when those who care about the future of Israel, the rights of Palestinians and the principles of US foreign policy cannot remain silent. This dangerous new provocation and the prospect of unilateral annexations in the West Bank require an urgent, unequivocal response from responsible American lawmakers and presidential candidates.

President Trump, Ambassador Friedman and their far-right supporters are working to undermine Israeli democracy, sabotage genuine diplomacy and codify a status quo of permanent conflict and occupation. We must do everything we can to stop them.

Many mainstream Israel supporters are concerned. Tamara Cofman Wittes, a leading Israel advocate at the Israel Institute and the Brookings Foundation, says of Jerusalem being undivided forever under the plan: 

This is the giveaway that the Trump plan is an imposed outcome, not a basis for negotiations. This says to Palestinians: accept this Israeli annexation, because we will embrace it regardless.

Hussein Ibish, a big two-stater at the Arab Gulf States Initiative, is nauseated:

By far the most disgusting spectacle in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – a very high bar. Massacres and terrorism don’t piously pretend to be generous and responsible. But everyone knows this is US and Israeli domestic politics. Now we have to clean up this mess.

Even Ron Kampeas of the JTA notes the imbalanced nature of the plan:

US-Israel committee to determine the deal. No Palestinians

Anschel Pfeffer of Haaretz, echoes the cynicism:

A US President facing impeachment and an Israeli Prime Minister indicted for corruption, leading an interim minority government, are about to announce a plan to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, without any Palestinian present. Unbelievable farce.

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro said ahead of the release that he is “quite concerned” by the plan. Again because it puts Israel’s “Jewish and democratic character at risk.” 

It will be the kind of arrangement that no Palestinian leader will ever agree to that will result in its either being unimplementable or the Turmp administration giving a green light to Israel to take unilateral ations such ..annexation… more likely it will produce a perpetuation of the conflict and Israel actually being drawn further into contact with Paletinians in the West Bank and eventually some kind of binational state that really puts its Jewish and Democratic character at risk.Former Amb. to Israel

Rob Malley of the ICG : “It’s about imposing new parameters on the Palestinians”.

Dylan Williams of J Street calls the deal a scam: and talks about the insult to Palestinians:

Netanyahu cut through the White House’s obfuscation about Trump’s Middle East proposal – it’s all about endorsing unilateral Israeli annexation of the settlements and much of the West Bank, destroying any chance for a viable Palestinian state. It’s worse than a sham, it’s a scam.

Evan Gottesman of Israel Policy Forum says Trump is coopting the language of two states to kill two states:

Trump using the language of a “two-state solution” represents a hijacking of the term in order to co-opt opposition to his plan. There is no way that Netanyahu, especially in his current position, would endorse anything that could be reasonably read as a two state framework.

Gottesman fears the consequences when the deal is rejected:

Every expansionist policy Trump and Bibi elaborated on in the last hour was framed in terms of the PLO signing onto a deal. We should be thinking about what the United States will permit Israel to do when the Palestinians reject it — and this plan is designed to invite rejection.

Before the plan’s release, Gottesman expressed the fear that it “could set a new group of parameters for Republicans to use against Democrats… against [the 2001] Clinton parameters.”

Eli Kowaz of Israel Policy Forum said that the plan “is being thrown up in the air” as “a lifeline that the Trump administration is throwing to Netanyahu.” He added, “I hope the damage from it will be contained.”

From Trump’s peace plan. Limited potential Palestinian territory.

Martin Indyk called it a “farce” ahead of time.

Americans for Peace Now had called on Trump administration to live up “to the honest broker role that America must fulfill.” It laid out the (imbalanced) Clinton parameters, including “land swaps.”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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12 Responses

  1. JohnSmith on January 28, 2020, 2:45 pm

    A “binational state in which Palestinians will demand equal rights”?? The basic decency towards others that settlers in the region could have offered from the 1910s onwards? How sad! How tragic! No pretenses of magical religious superiority to mask the Master Race’s belief in its racial superiority? Oh, the humanity!

    • JWalters on January 28, 2020, 6:48 pm

      Despite all the contortions of words and “logic”, the fundamental arrogance of Zionism comes through loud and clear.

  2. eljay on January 28, 2020, 3:22 pm

    … liberal and centrist American Zionists are horrified. They regard the plan as an existential threat to “the Jewish democracy.” …

    Liberal and centrist American (and Israeli) Zionists are mush. They want maximum Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism and associated hatefulness and immorality – prettily labelled “Jewish democracy” – as much as their hardier co-collectivists do, but they haven’t got the stones to stand as proudly behind it.

  3. Kathleen on January 28, 2020, 4:27 pm

    Now we will monitor the msm for any signs of honesty about this “steal of the century” as Prof Cole defined this new fake deal

    • JWalters on January 28, 2020, 6:52 pm

      “Steal of the century” – spot on. The Zionist’s theft of America’s politics and press could be considered the steal of the last century.

  4. HarryLaw on January 29, 2020, 4:06 am

    “The end of Jewish democracy”, even if Israel annexed the whole of area ‘C’ [60% of the West Bank] people of Jewish origin would still be in the majority [by far] since Palestinians only comprise approx 200,000 of area ‘C’, they could even be offered the chance to vote in the Knesset without changing the political equations. What would happen is the fragments of the West Bank left over, areas A and B plus Gaza, still under occupation and given a modicum of self rule, would be Apartheid. The Palestinians need to resist this of course but should be wary of engaging in violence, I suspect the Israelis would welcome a show of force. The Palestinians need to
    1/ unite all Palestinians and
    2/ Form alliances with the ‘arc of resistance’.
    Apartheid in South Africa was only defeated by all the front line states joining with the ANC, plus the support of the rest of the world, who could not fail to see the injustice, even when their leaders did not [or chose not to see].

  5. iResistDe4iAm on January 29, 2020, 4:50 am

    Apartheid in the Holy Land aka: HOLY Apartheid

    Here’s a picture of the proposed but failed South Africa 11-state apartheid solution:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Bantustans_in_South_Africa.svg

    Here’s a picture of the Israeli imposed six-state apartheid status quo (Areas A, B, C, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip as at December 2011)
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Occupied_Palestinian_Territories.jpg

    Here’s a picture of the Deal of the Century Decade Year Month D….. Take 2: Here’s a picture of the SCAM of the Century (21st) :
    https://mondoweiss.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Screen-Shot-2020-01-28-at-1.28.19-PM.png

    Here’s another picture of the SCAM of the Century (20th)
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/UN_Palestine_Partition_Versions_1947.jpg

  6. punterweger on January 29, 2020, 10:53 am

    So where were all these outraged liberal Zionist critics, while apartheid was being installed bit-by-bit. There is not that much new in this Trump plan it simply states what has been the subtext of decades of US and Israeli diplomacy, as Nathan Thrall points out in today’s NYT
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/29/opinion/trump-peace-plan.html

    • echinococcus on January 29, 2020, 2:52 pm

      “So where were all these outraged liberal Zionist critics, while apartheid was being installed bit-by-bit”

      1. It was not “bit by bit”, it was massive, immediate, pre-planned. It was in force the very first day of the Zionist aggression for statehood in 1947; it had already been implemented in part by the British colonial (“Mandate) administration.

      2. Where they were? They were themselves in charge of planning and implementing theft, genocide, and Apartheid, until approx.1982.

      3. The only difference between the “liberal” Zionists and the others is not in the actions, it’s only in the words and their image in the west.

  7. Vera Gottlieb on January 29, 2020, 11:24 am

    “Jewish democracy”….is this a joke? A bad one, at that.

    • Talkback on January 29, 2020, 12:41 pm

      It’s a stolen joke. The original one was “Afrikaaner’s democracy”.

  8. HarryLaw on January 29, 2020, 5:39 pm

    Will all those fragments of the Palestinian bantustan’s have high walls round them and patrolled by armed Israeli soldiers similar to Gaza? Can’t have possible terrorists wandering willy-nilly into Israeli territory. The roof of that tunnel between the West Bank and Gaza will have to be mined and patrolled 24/7 since Hamas could easily burrow out. /S

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