We welcome President Obama’s compelling speech on the priorities for American policy in the Middle East. We applaud his strong outlining of the principles which motivate that policy, including supporting the universal rights of free speech, equality and religious freedom, opposing the use of force and political repression, and promoting political and economic reforms. These are a reflection of American values and promote American interests.
We further commend his strong affirmation of the importance of the deep and unshakeable U.S.-Israel relationship, and his clear articulation of the moral and strategic connections between America and Israel. We support the President’s vision of a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement with strong security provisions for Israel, and a non-militarized Palestinian state. We appreciate his direct rejection of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and his understanding that the Hamas-Fatah agreement poses major problems for Israel.
This Administration has come a long way in two years in terms of understanding of the nuances involved in bringing about Israeli-Palestinian peace and a better understanding of the realities and challenges confronting Israel.
B’nai B’rith International commends President Obama for clearly reiterating U.S. support for Israel. The president noted the relationship between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared history and values and he strongly asserted that the commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable, while he affirmed that Israel is a Jewish state.
It was also encouraging that the president spoke against unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, a measure the Palestinians are planning to bring before the United Nations in September.
B’nai B’rith is concerned that the president is prejudging the outcome of the peace process by publicly calling for pre-1967 borders as a basis for a Palestinian state, with land swaps. Discussion about this difficult issue should be reserved for direct negotiations between the parties.
Though he noted the issue of Palestinian refugees, B’nai B’rith is disappointed that the president failed to mention the one million Jewish refugees created at the same time. The issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is often overlooked.
AJC praised President Obama’s call today for the Palestinian Authority to return to direct peace negotiations with Israel and to halt its current campaign to declare a state unilaterally.
“President Obama has sternly warned the Palestinians, and the international community, to stop this senseless drive to try to achieve a state without any negotiated agreement with Israel,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
“The parameters of a two-state solution are just as clear today as they were when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the peace talks last September,” said Harris. “The Palestinians must return now to close the deal.”
J Street wholeheartedly endorses the approach to resolving the conflict outlined today by the President, namely, to address borders and security first. This is an approach which J Street first advocated when negotiations stalled last year. He also clearly established that those borders must be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps – an essential component of the ad J Street ran this morning in The New York Times.
We hope the President will now put his words into action in the coming days as he meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu and that he will launch a credible new diplomatic initiative in advance of the looming September United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood.
We urge the President to publicly ask the leaders of both parties to join him in an intensive and immediate effort to achieve a two-state solution on the basis of the principles laid out in this speech. He has laid out the parameters of a workable two-state deal, and now the parties must decide if they are ready to work seriously to achieve that elusive goal.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States, strongly condemned President Obama’s Mideast speech given today promoting and supporting the establishment of a Hamas/Fatah/Iran terrorist state on the Auschwitz 1967 indefensible armistice lines. This state would almost surely become a Hamas/Iran terror state threatening Israel and further destabilizing the Mideast. President Obama has dealt Israel a severe diplomatic blow, which harms all those who care about peace and fighting terrorism.
President Obama is either extraordinarily naïve or extraordinarily hostile to the Jewish state of Israel, despite his claims of commitment to Israel’s security. One cannot claim to care about a neighbor’s young children while renting out rooms to child predators.
We urge AIPAC to rescind the invitation for President Obama to speak and we urge friends of Israel and enemies of Islamist terrorism to contact your Members of Congress to fight against Obama’s anti-Israel policy.
Note: The call for AIPAC to rescind its invitation to Obama was in the version of the ZOA’s statement sent out to the press via e-mail but isn’t on the version of the statement posted on the group’s website.
More responses to the speech:
- The Simon Wiesenthal Center: “Israel Should Reject a Return to 1967 ‘Auschwitz’ Borders”
- Americans for Peace Now: “Applauds Israel-Palestinian Vision in Obama’s Middle East Speech"
- StandWithUs:“surprised and disappointed” on Obama’s position on 1967 lines, but “pleased” by president’s words on Hamas, Palestinian refusal to return to negotiations, delegitimization and unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood