Since I wrote that, the second place Democratic Presidential candidate has massively inflated the death toll from the 2014 Gaza war, blamed Israel for its “indiscriminate” response to rocket attacks from Gaza despite having no clue what Israel could have done differently, described Israeli building in the West Bank as “illegal,” and given the most feeble response to a blatantly antisemitic heckler.
Luckily, it seems that, short of Hillary Clinton being indicted, Sanders does not have a snowball’s chance in Gaza of winning the nomination. Still, his comments are important because they illustrate the mindset of the far-left branch of the Democratic party. Clinton, the new presumptive leader of her party, must address the antisemitism that has been left to fester within it during Obama’s presidency.
And it does seem as if she is at least making an effort to appear as though she would take the party in a different direction. Thus far, however, all she has is campaign rhetoric.
So, what can Clinton do to address these issues and to address the concerns of Jewish and pro-Israel voters? I’ve got three suggestions.
First, she has to repudiate and distance herself from her advisor Sid Blumenthal and his spawn, the despicable antisemitic Jew Max Blumethal. No one can take seriously her claim that she wants to “elevate the fight against anti-Semitism” when she calls one of the most notorious antisemites on the planet “a mitzvah.”
Second, she should adopt Dennis Ross’s proposal on Israeli settlements. In February of this year, Ross advocated that the US should distinguish between building inside and outside of the settlement blocs, and stop condemning building in the former.
Not all settlements are equal. In May 2011, President Obama gave a speech in which he spoke of borders established in any peace agreement being based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed territorial swaps to compensate the Palestinians for the settlement blocs that the Israelis would retain. But since that time, Obama administration policy has continued to treat all settlement activity as unacceptable, effectively dismissing the distinction drawn by the president. The administration’s inability to differentiate between settlement activity within and outside of those blocs has actually bolstered the Israeli right, because most Israelis draw a distinction between the two. The Obama approach is seen as dismissing Israeli needs.
A differentiated approach to the settlements could alter that perception. Such an approach would be guided by the understanding that approximately 80 percent of settlers live in approximately 5 percent of the West Bank largely adjacent to the pre-1967 lines and inside the security barrier. Most of the remaining 20 percent live outside the security barrier, in 92 percent of the West Bank.
A new U.S. approach would acknowledge that building within the blocs does not change the contours of the “peace map.”
This is important because the current US policy of condemning all building, regardless of specifically where in the disputed territories it lies, allows the Palestinian Authority leadership to control the Israeli ability to provide housing for its population merely through continued recalcitrance. Adopting Ross’s formulation would remove the effective Palestinian veto over Israeli building in areas that are bound to stay under Israeli control.
Clinton should also stop supporting segregated housing polices in Jerusalem that purport to dictate in which parts of the city Jews are permitted to live, and affirm that Jews ought to be able to live in any part of Jerusalem in which they are able to purchase or rent property.
Third, and perhaps most important, she needs to make clear to President Obama that a UN Security Council resolution that purports to put east Jerusalem in Palestinian hands, that purports to set borders on the 1948 ceasefire lines, that recognizes a “right of return” into Israel for descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees, or that recognizes the State of Palestine without demanding that such a state cease its violence against Israel, would result in the US defunding the UN.
It’s all very nice that she told the Jewish Week that “the United Nations is not the venue” to resolve the Israeli-Arab issues, but even if she means that, President Obama still has nine months left in office. Taking steps to ensure Obama does not take that decision out of her hands would be meaningful and show that she’s not just making empty campaign promises.