The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply concerned and critical of President Barack Obama for praising Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas as “somebody who has consistently renounced violence, has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side, in peace and security” (‘Remarks by President Obama and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority Oval Office,’ March 17, 2014). Given Mahmoud Abbas’ record of glorifying and praising terrorists and producing a Fatah emblem showing a Kalashnikov rifle and Israel labeled ‘Palestine’ and draped in a Palestinian headdress; naming schools, streets and sports teams after Palestinian terrorists; refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state or to disband terrorists groups, or to alter the curricula of anti-Israel hate education in Palestinian schools, the ZOA believes such praise for Abbas from the U.S. President is grotesque and unwarranted.
Similarly, the ZOA is deeply concerned and critical of Secretary of State John Kerry for taking an important, bipartisan Israeli requirement for any peace process of explicit Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state and publicly opposing it being raised in negotiations to take place between Israel and the PA. Secretary Kerry has claimed, “I think its a mistake for some people to be raising it [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] again and again as the critical decider of their attitude toward the possibility of a state, and peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear” (Michael Wilner, ‘Kerry: Netanyahu wrong to insist Palestinians recognize Israel as Jewish state,’ Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2014)
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Here we see a pattern of bias and deeply worrying indifference to both the requirements of a true peace and Israel’s vital requirements for any genuine peace process.
“First, President Obama bestows unmerited, Orwellian praise of Mahmoud Abbas as a peacemaker who has ‘consistently renounced violence’ –– this of someone who has kissed, embraced and praised as “heroes” the terrorists who murdered Israelis that were released by Israel last December; who has told Arab leaders, “If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor’”; who has lauded the murderers of an Israeli, Meir Chai, as “shahids” (martyrs); who has personally chose to visit in Lebanon Samir Kuntar, the gruesome terrorist who murdered an Israeli father in front of his daughter before crushing her skull and killing her as well; and who has presided over numerous ceremonies celebrating terrorists who murdered Israelis, not least Dalal Mughrabi, after whom schools, sports teams and streets have been named by the PA he heads.
“How this record can possibly justify calling Abbas someone who has ‘consistently renounced violence’ is beyond me.
“Second, Secretary Kerry has back-tracked, indeed, crippled international efforts to have the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state –– a position that has bipartisan endorsement in Israel and which was first enunciated by current Israeli peace negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi back in 2003.
“Secretary Kerry’s assertion that the issue of Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state is not important now because the original 1947 UN partition resolution mentioned it, or because Yasser Arafat in 1988 mentioned the words when citing that resolution, is wrong. The 1947 resolution is irrelevant here, because it was rejected by the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat’s words purporting to accept it are also irrelevant, because his statement was regarded as devious, misleading and unsatisfactory by Israel and the U.S. at the time.
“As Ambassador Alan Baker, the Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords, has noted, ‘Arafat did not issue a clear declaration recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, but only summarized the language of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which he employed simply to provide a legal basis for the Palestinian state. The U.S. government concluded that Arafat’s statement did not meet Washington’s demand that the PLO unequivocally recognize the State of Israel, and thus no dialogue was launched between the United States and the PLO at that time.’
“President Obama is not behaving like the ally and friend of Israel he purports to be when he bestows unmerited praise on Mahmoud Abbas, falsely painting him as a moderate, non-violent interlocutor, while failing to demand anything of him, not even the fulfillment of Palestinian obligations undertaken under the Oslo agreements to disband terror groups, confiscate illegal weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder that suffuses the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. and Secretary Kerry is likewise harming Israel by his false, misleading excuse for failing to support Israel’s legitimate and vital requirement of Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.”