For decades, the U.S.-Israel relationship has demonstrated the right way for close friends to disagree. As allies, America and Israel have worked out their most difficult differences in private with mutual respect and trust.
Unfortunately, the powerful bonds of this enduring friendship have been strained, as Israel’s trust has been broken, twice in only one week.
Last Friday, President Obama instructed the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from voting on an anti-Israel resolution in the Security Council, abandoning America’s longstanding policy of standing shoulder-to- shoulder with Israel to combat bias at the UN. Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a very disturbing and deeply misguided speech, which put the weight of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict squarely on Israel’s shoulders.
Does Secretary Kerry truly know better than the people and democratically elected government of Israel what’s best for their country?
We view the Administration’s recent actions as deeply hostile to Israel, unwise, and unproductive. The Israeli-American Coalition (IAC) for Action – representing thousands American citizens with strong personal and family ties to Israel – recognizes that this is not just our view; it is the opinion of bipartisan majorities in Congress and many millions of people across the United States.
Since its establishment, Israel has worked tirelessly to forge peace with its neighbors, successfully reaching agreements with Egypt and Jordan. In 2005, after Israel uprooted thousands of settlers from Gaza, it received thousands of rockets on its cities in return.
This is why it was so disappointing that yesterday Secretary Kerry downplayed or ignored the Palestinian leadership’s failure to directly negotiate with Israel and the many ways that it has continued the conflict by promoting incitement and terror.
In the last eight years, the Israeli Government has outstretched its hand to Palestinian leaders. Time and again, Israel attempted to restart direct negotiations, including by imposing an unprecedented freeze on settlement building. Yet, the Palestinian leadership has refused to come to the table. Instead, it has sought to internationalize the conflict and wage a global war on Israel’s legitimacy. Unfortunately, anti-Israel actions in the UN and Secretary Kerry’s speech will only encourage the Palestinian leadership to avoid direct negotiations and an end the conflict.
The United States should have pressured the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiating table, as this is the only way to forge a lasting resolution of the conflict and achieve a two-state solution.
The IAC for Action remains deeply concerned about this wave of anti-Israel actions, which are already being used by Israel’s enemies to continue to delegitimize the Jewish state. We call on our fellow Pro-Israel Americans to join us in urging the current Administration to hold off on making any further moves that would damage Israel. We are confident that President-elect Trump and strong bipartisan Congressional majorities will act to undo the damage that has been done in the past week – and work to strengthen the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.
Despite the very concerning events of the past week, one thing is clear: the unbreakable bond between the US and Israel – and particularly, between the American and Israeli people – will endure the disagreements of individual leaders.
To honor the bond between the people of our countries, we are launching a campaign on social media called #friendshipmatters. If you care about the friendship between the countries, this is your time to share it with the world.