August 24, 2017
News Press Release

ZOA Troubled by Satterfield Becoming Mideast Director at State Dept.

Repeatedly Indulges in Moral Equivalence Between Israel & Palestinian Arabs

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to a long, troubling record of moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and indifference to Israel’s vital interests in expressing concern over the  recent appointment of David Satterfield as the State Department’s new Director of Mideast Policy. 

Mr. Satterfield has a long, troubling record of repeatedly declaring Israeli self-defense measures against Palestinian Arab terrorism as equally wrong and trust-destroying as Palestinian Arab terrorism. He has condemned the consequences of Palestinian Arab terrorism which are Israeli military strikes, security measures, checkpoints and so on –– as equally responsible as Palestinian Arab terrorism for the lack of peace.

David Satterfield’s record includes the following:

  • On November 2, 2011, less than two months after the 9/11 attacks upon New York City and Washington, DC, in remarks at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (CPAP) –– an extreme, anti-Israel group that has falsely accused Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing –– Mr. Satterfield said that “The [second] intifada, whatever its origin, has become an ongoing process of calculated terror and escalation, reciprocated by actions which all too often by Israel proved inflammatory and provocative. Steps must be taken to bring this to a halt.” In short, despite fresh memories of mass-casualty terrorism on the US, and at a time of repeated suicide bombings in Israel, such as the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria bombing which murdered 15 people and wounded and maimed a further 130 people, Mr. Satterfield thought it accurate and appropriate to call Israel’s self-defense operations against Palestinian Arab terrorists “inflammatory and provocative,” thereby falsely and outrageously implying that Israel’s response to Palestinian Arab terrorism is responsible for Palestinian Arab terrorism.
  • In October 2002, at the Weinberg Founders Conference of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mr. Satterfield criticized Yasser Arafat, but then immediately condemned Israel for encircling the Muqata, arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah headquarters, describing this action as “wholly unhelpful and [freezing] the positive currents of reform and direct pressure placed upon [Arafat] by Palestinian elites.” Yasser Arafat, of course, felt no serious pressure to reform or call off his terror war. The PA remains a corrupt, terrorist, dictatorship and pressure of this kind induced Israel to not evict Arafat and his blood-soaked regime from Judea/Samaria.
  • On March 11, 2004, delivering the keynote address at the leftwing Israel Policy Forum’s Washington, DC, conference only two weeks following the murder of eight Israelis and the wounding of a further 60 in a bus bombing at Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park, Mr. Satterfield stated, “Hope is in very short supply right now … evaporating in the understandable rage of Israelis suffering through horrible acts of terror … [and also] being swallowed up in the deep frustrations, daily humiliations and wounded dignity of Palestinians living under occupation.”
Satterfield has condemned the consequences of Palestinian Arab terrorism which are Israeli military strikes, security measures, checkpoints and so on –– as equally responsible as Palestinian Arab terrorism for the lack of peace.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is unfortunately quite clear from these examples that David Satterfield lacks a decent moral compass. He purports to believe the irrational, obtuse notion that Palestinian Arab terrorism is caused by Israeli responses to Palestinian Arab terrorism. This is equivalent to believing the schoolyard bully who claims that the trouble started when someone hit back.

“Mr. Satterfield is quite prepared, even at times when innocent Israeli civilians are being murdered in droves in Palestinian suicide attacks, to indulge in intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt false equivalences between Israel, a society that has on several occasions agreed to create a Palestinian Arab state in return for peace (and which would rightfully protect its civilians from evil terrorist attacks) and Palestinian Arabs, who have refused all peace proposals and who engage in poisonous incitement to hatred and murder, and refuse to acknowledge any Israeli right or history in their own biblical homeland.

“This is not the voice of moral clarity that is called for in an America diplomat, common as this failing is.

“From this record, it is quite clear that David Satterfield would have no hesitation in condemning Israeli measures today to stop Palestinian Arab lethal knifings and car-rammings that have lately plagued Israeli streets, and would find some morally absurd way to place Israel on the same moral and political plane as the pro-terror, anti-peace PA.

“If Mr. Satterfield was prepared to do this when literally hundreds of Israelis were being murdered by Palestinian Arab suicide bombers 15 years ago, he will undoubtedly be willing to do it when scores of Israelis are being murdered by knife-wielding, car-ramming Palestinian Arab terrorists today.

“President Trump rightly said when running for president that, ‘When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one. Thank you. And when I say something, I mean it, I mean it.’ And President Trump’s choice of Ambassador to Israel (now serving Ambassador) David Friedman, also said, ‘a Trump administration will never pressure Israel into a two-state solution or any other solution that is against the will of the Israeli people.’

“It is quite clear that Mr. Satterfield would be a contributor to the false moral equivalence and unwarranted pressure on Israel that President Trump rightfully eschews. This should have informed his choice of State Department Director of Mideast Policy.

“David Satterfield’s record on this conflict is tainted by outrageous false moral equivalence and indulgence of the pro-terror, anti-peace PA.” We hope his actions and words under President Trump will change.