Israel lobby attacks Rep. Edwards for agreeing to attend pro-peace group reception
In the past week, the Washington Jewish Week and pro-Israel lobbying organizations have accused Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD, Dist. 4) of being anti-Israel because she has agreed to attend a reception hosted by New Policy PAC, a pro-peace lobbying group working to end the Israeli occupation.
Congresswoman Edwards was attacked for simply meeting with her constituents in her own district. At issue is that New Policy PAC supports a two-state solution along the 1967 borders but does not oppose a secular democratic state in all of Israel/Palestine if agreed to by both sides as an alternative to the flagging two-state initiative.
The Washington Jewish Week went further by distorting Congresswoman Edwards’ clear record on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reporting that “pro-Israel insiders” and “Democratic pro-Israel staffers” question Congresswoman Edwards’ commitment to a two-state solution. Congresswoman Edwards has always supported a two-state solution and has never voiced any support for a one-state solution. She has been an outspoken friend of Israel and the peace process that will bring peace and security to both Palestinians and Israelis. She is also cognizant of the importance of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to America’s strategic interests in the wider Middle East.
In its report the Washington Jewish Week failed to mention that New Policy PAC and its sister organization, NewPolicy.org, primarily support a two-state solution along the 1967 borders. New Policy PAC views the one-state solution as an alternative if the two-state solution is no longer a workable option. New Policy PAC is also clear that its support for a one-state solution is contingent on agreement by both sides. New Policy PAC’s website states:
NewPolicy.org would not oppose a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if agreed to by both Palestinians and Israelis. The two-state solution has been endorsed by the Arab League through the Arab Peace Initiative and the Organization of Islamic Countries under the auspices of Saudi leadership. The two-state solution has also been the basis of negotiations under the mediation of the quartet, which includes the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
Unfortunately, the chances for a two-state solution have been strongly diminished by the continued building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The presence of 550,000 Jewish settlers in heavily fortified settlements in the occupied territories, along with the unlikely scenario of their evacuation and their unwillingness to become Jewish citizens of a Palestinian state, has emboldened the advocates of a one-state solution.
NewPolicy.org does not oppose a one-state solution in principle: a democratic secular state with a population half Jewish, half Arab can prosper and become a model of coexistence, human rights, secularism and democracy for the Middle East and the entire world. However, either solution if implemented by the two parties toward a just end to the hostilities would pave the road to peace in the region and enhanced American security at home.
It has become increasingly apparent that some pro-Israel organizations view the Israeli-Palestinian process as a zero-sum game: where defending the rights of Palestinians automatically means being anti-Israel. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the interests of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Pro-peace organizations from across the political spectrum should work together to promote a culture of dialogue to better direct American foreign policy towards ending this conflict. It’s quite obvious to the rest of the world that the key to Israeli-Palestinian peace lies in Washington. Is it obvious to those lobbying groups working in Washington? [Aletho News would ask – Is peace an aim of the Israel lobby?]