O.U. explains why its failure to vote against two-state resolution was kosher

The Orthodox Union’s man in Washington, Nathan Diament, explains in the Jewish Press why the organization decided not to oppose a resolution at the JCPA Plenum backing a two-state solution, even though the O.U. has been raising serious concerns regarding negotiations with the Palestinians:

The OU delegation succeeded in having this resolution call on American Jewry to “support the Government of Israel’s insistence that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish State.” We also succeeded in defeating an amendment by the Reform movement’s delegation to call on American Jewry to view Israeli settlements as “impediments to peace” with the Palestinians.

The OU delegation failed to block the resolution’s call for American Jewry to support an Israeli government’s willingness to make concessions on Jerusalem and, as has been widely reported, we failed to remove the resolution’s call for American Jewry to support the “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The OU delegation was able to insert into this latter portion of the resolution a statement that recognizes that Israel’s offers to engage in peaceful negotiations with the Palestinians has “been met, time after time, by violence, incitement and terror.” In a nightmarish turn of events, this statement would be fulfilled once again in Jerusalem ten days later in the murderous attack at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav.

(Deeply disturbing as well is that even had this tragic event occurred prior to the debate at JCPA over this resolution, it is likely that the call for support of the “two state solution” would have still been adopted. The majority of American Jewish organizations and their representatives automatically support the policies of the Israeli government – which remains, at least theoretically, committed to the “two state solution,” even in the face of such heinous attacks.)

When the resolution came to a final vote containing the mixed set of results listed above, the OU delegation abstained from voting yea or nay, but announced that, in keeping with JCPA procedure, the OU would file a dissent from the portions of the resolution with which we disagree.

The rationale for this action is that it does not put the OU in the position of voting against the provisions of the resolution we support, yet permits the OU to explicitly differ with those we object to, such as the call for American support for the “two state solution.”

It’s perhaps obvious but worth noting that if the O.U. was willing to risk drawing more attention to it’s handling of the resolution, than it must have already been feeling some heat from its constituents. Here is the O.U.’s dissenting statement.

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