Ron Klein to White House: Enough with the Israel criticism


Rep. Ron Klein of Florida lines up with the enough-is-enough crowd saying the Obama administration has gone too far with its criticism of Israel. As noted in this news brief, Klein has something in common with many of the other Dems taking that same line — he represents a heavily Jewish district. We’re watching to see if this line of argument starts winning over others in the Democratic caucus.

Here is Klein’s statement:

“The United States has invested immense political capital in restarting negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.  Although last week’s announcement on new housing in East Jerusalem may have been ill-timed, I am deeply disappointed that even after the Israeli government apologized, State Department and White House officials have sustained their condemnations against the State of Israel, using harsh terms that do not befit the special relationship that the United States and Israel share.  Israel has proven its willingness to make sacrifices for peace, but in order to continue to do that Israel must have confidence in the process.

“The U.S. and Israel share an entrenched bond, with unbreakable connections, and this spat will not change our deep and abiding friendship with the people and government of Israel.  The democratically elected government of Israel, serving its people and its national interest, has made painful sacrifices for peace and should be commended. The Netanyahu government’s recent announcement to freeze settlement construction should have hastened the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table.

“At a time when the Palestinian leadership continues to incite violence and threatens to impede negotiations at every step, the United States must stand with its ally, Israel, in its quest for peace. The actions that the Administration expects of the Palestinians may be less measurable than the actions that are expected of the Israeli government; however they are nonetheless crucial to moving negotiations forward. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority has fallen short of expectations, and incitement continues. I call on the administration to urge the PA leadership to strengthen their commitment to fighting incitement. Incitement obstructs U.S. efforts to encourage peace in the region and could, understandably, make Israel reticent to negotiate. 

“We must find common ground and move on. The security threats that the United States and Israel face are too great and too urgent to be overwhelmed by a disagreement among friends. Stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is the most important matter at hand. That must continue to be our main focus as we move ahead.”

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