The Hill’s Congress Blog: The Big Question
ZOA in the news
January 22, 2009

 


THE BIG QUESTION, Jan. 23: Obama’s Envoys


January 23rd, 2009


The Big Question is a feature where influential lawmakers, pundits and interest group leaders give their answers to a question that’s driving discussion in news circles around the country.


Today’s Big Question is:


What are the odds Obama’s new envoys can make a difference in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan?


See responses below from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Morton Klein, Rep. Ed Royce, Michael Moran, Dr. Herbert London and Jeremy Ben-Ami.


Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said:


While diplomacy is a useful tool in solving long-standing grievances, recent history shows that ongoing regional conflicts and challenges to U.S. interests in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan cannot be solved by good intentions and friendly overtures alone. Read the full response


Morton Klein, president, Zionist Organization of America said:


We are concerned about the choice of George Mitchell as Mideast envoy. His record shows that he believes both sides are equally at fault for lack of progress. Mitchell ignores the fact that Israelis have made major concessions-giving up all of Gaza and one-half of the West Bank. Read the full response


We are concerned about the choice of George Mitchell as Mideast envoy. His record shows that he believes both sides are equally at fault for lack of progress. Mitchell ignores the fact that Israelis have made major concessions-giving up all of Gaza and one-half of the West Bank. Yet, the Palestinians have fulfilled none of their signed agreements to arrest terrorists, end incitement to hatred and violence against Israelis’ Jews in their schools, media, speeches and their refusal to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish State (new Palestinian emblem shows all Israel covered with Arab headdress next to a rifle). He wrongly stated at a conference in December 2008 that “the Palestinians overriding objective is an independent state.” Palestinian polls show that 58% reject statehood alongside Israel (An-Najah University, May 2008), while 75% believe Israel has no right to exist (Near East Consulting, Feb.2007), 75% oppose continued negotiations (NY Times, March 19,2008). Mitchell doesn’t seem to understand that the issue is not statehood, Jerusalem, or settlements, but the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish State and a refusal to transform their culture from promoting violence to promoting peace. As Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post said, “The Mitchell Plan of 2001 was a flop. Why try the Mitchell approach again?”


 


Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said:


Secretary Clinton has appointed two distinguished diplomats for these positions. Indeed, either could have been Secretary of State themselves. The State bureaucracy doesn’t like the concept of special envoys, but she deserves credit for empowering such strong personalities. Read the full response


Michael Moran, executive editor, CFR.org (Council on Foreign Relations) said:


On the narrow question of odds, nobody familiar with the complexities, many of them overlapping and conflicting, inherent in those three problems can possibly answer “the odds are good.” They may, however, be better than they have been in years. Read the full response


Dr. Herbert London, president, Hudson Institute said:


Whatever diplomatic skill George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke possess, it seems to me the issues in the Middle East are intractable. Read the full response


Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director, J Street said:


The quest for resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East isn’t a matter of odds–it’s a matter of urgent necessity for both the United States and Israel. President Obama and his team, including Secretary of State Clinton and George Mitchell can succeed if the United States is willing to play an active role in the diplomatic process. Read the full response



By The Hill

  • ZOA’s Mort Klein TV Interview Exposing Truth of New Arab/Muslim War on Israel and Jews

  • Our Mission
    ZOA STATEMENT
    The ZOA speaks out for Israel – in reports, newsletters, and other publications. In speeches in synagogues, churches, and community events, in high schools and colleges from coast to coast. In e-mail action alerts. In op-eds and letters to the editor. In radio and television appearances by ZOA leaders. Always on the front lines of pro-Israel activism, ZOA has made its mark.
    Center for Law & Justice
    We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
    We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
    We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
    We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.