Coming down on both sides of the issue


Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) are two of the three co-sponsors of a congresional letter to President Obama backed by J Street. And they’re also currently two of 288 signatories to another congressional letter to the president — backed by AIPAC.

The two letters aren’t completely incompatible — they both do back the president’s peace efforts — but they do have a pretty huge difference at their heart. Check it out:

The AIPAC-backed letter: "We strongly believe that the best way to achieve future success between Israelis and Palestinians will be by adhering to basic principles that have undergirded our policy in this arena. These include the following: 1) acceptance that the parties themselves must negotiate the details of any agreement. While the U.S. has an important role to play, the parties themselves are the ones who will need to live with whatever agreement is reached."

The J Street-backed letter: "Unfortunately, Israelis and Palestinians have not been able to achieve peace on their own, and we therefore share your belief that American leadership is essential to achieving meaningful progress. Left to themsevles, the parties have been unable to make the necessary progress toward ending the conflict, and an American helping hand is now needed to bridge those gaps."

So signing both letters means you believe that only the two parties themselves can negotiate a peace agreement and that an agreement can only be reached with U.S. involvement. I guess that’s what you call covering all your bases…

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