Jewish groups are starting to respond to Mitt Romney’s suggestion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for now cannot be solved and that the best which can be done is to "kick the ball down the field."
For the most part, Romney’s remarks — made at a meeting with donors that was surreptitiously recorded — have been met with silence from centrist Jewish groups and predictable (and opposite) responses from hawkish and dovish groups. But the Zionist Organization of America, J Street and Americans for Peace Now all agree on one thing: Romney’s remarks suggest a departure from the approaches of past administrations – Demcoratic and Republican alike.
The ZOA today stated:
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) agrees and applauds Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s statement last May, recently reported in the media, in which he said correctly that the pursuit of Middle East peace is likely to remain "an unsolved problem" because the Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever" in reaching a peace agreement with Israel.
The ZOA’s national president, Morton Klein, said:
Governor Romney’s remarks indicate that, were he to be elected president, he might be willing to do what President Obama and his predecessors, Republican and Democratic, have not done – to act on the realities of the Palestinian situation and apply real, sustained pressure on the PA to change its ways.
J Street, however, was “deeply dismayed.” It said in a statement:
It is disappointing to hear Romney, who has called for a new “American Century” of US leadership, dismiss the importance of achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We believe that reaching a two-state solution is vital to America’s national security interests and that, without it, Israel faces real risks to its long-term security as well as its democratic and Jewish character.
For two decades, administrations of both parties have worked tirelessly to achieve a peace agreement, and no American president or Israeli prime minister has given up on pursuing a two-state solution.
Meanwhile, another dovish group, Americans for Peace Now, is calling for Romney to “repudiate” his remarks. APN’s president, Debra DeLee, said in a statement:
We call on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to repudiate his statements suggesting that peace is not possible and that therefore the U.S. should ‘kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.’
Such statements suggest that Romney is misinformed, that he has no understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or that he has adopted the misguided, dangerous views of some of his hard-line, anti-peace, anti-two-state-solution backers in the U.S. and Israel. Such views are at odds not only with longstanding U.S. policy, supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations, but also with the official platform of the Republican Party.