The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Obama Administration for cynically twisting the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when the latter recently accurately pointed out the outrageousness of international toleration of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s demand that a future Palestinian state be Jew-free, making the issue into one of Jewish residence and construction in Judea/Samaria.
The ZOA maintains that the Obama Administration has thus chosen to ignore this vital issue and run interference for the PA and its outrageous, racist policy of creating a Jew-free state. The ZOA believes that the Obama Administration, irrespective of its policy towards Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, should be agreeing with the Israeli Prime Minister that the Palestinian demand for a Jew-free state is outrageous and that it should be condemning it, not ignoring it. Not doing so amounts to a scandalous case of toleration for a program of ethnic cleansing.
In a recent video, Mr. Netanyahu said, “I’m sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace. I’ve always been perplexed by this notion … the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous. It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage. Ask yourself this: Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks? Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace? At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea/Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends. Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so … So the next time you hear someone say Jews can’t live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications. Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it” (‘No Jews,’ youtube.com, September 9, 2016).
In response, the State Department spokesperson, Elizabeth Trudeau both twisted and ignored Netanyahu’s accurate statement on the Arab ethnic cleansing of Jews and made it into a settlement issue which it wasn’t by stating,“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful” (‘Elizabeth Trudeau, Director, Press Office, Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, September 9, 2016’).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The Obama Administration is ignoring the scandalous, racist PA demand for a Jew-free Palestinian state. The Israeli Prime Minister is right that this demand is outrageous and the international toleration of it no less outrageous. Now, unfortunately, we have to add that the response of the Obama Administration to the Israeli Prime Minister’s words is also scandalous in its neglect of this central issue.
“This is not the time for the Obama Administration to rehearse its opposition to Jewish construction in the territories because it regards it as an obstacle to peace –– a nonsensical and discriminatory position we have repudiated on many past occasions. Mr. Netanyahu was not talking about not building homes for Jews, which is a related but separate issue. He was talking about Palestinian aspirations to establish a Jew-free Palestinian state.
“PA dictator Mahmoud Abbas has clearly stated more than once, as have other senior PA officials, that, ‘If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.’ That’s not about ‘settlements’. It’s about Jews living within a Palestinian state. And since the PA claims the entirety of Judea/Samaria for its own, or very close to that, this PA policy means the removal of Jews from virtually the whole of the territory.
“If not before, this was the occasion for the Obama Administration to condemn an outrageous racist and discriminatory policy. It has refused to do so.
“Instead, it shamelessly twisted Mr. Netanyahu’s words to make it as though the issue was the Israeli government’s building of Jewish homes in Judea/Samaria.
“Interestingly, Ms. Trudeau asserted that, ‘We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank.’
“But if that is so, why then did the Obama Administration refuse to condemn the PA policy of demanding a Jew-free Palestinian state, which obviously entails the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea/Samaria, if, in fact, U.S. policy has nothing to do with ethnic cleansing? It should have been the easiest of things for the Obama Administration to do this.
“It didn’t, because the Obama Administration actually does support the ending of the Jewish presence in Judea/Samaria. Its policy on Jewish construction is, in fact, is about ending the Jewish presence in Judea/Samaria.
“It is therefore high time for the Obama Administration and other governments to publicly acknowledge the fact that they support the PA policy of ethnic cleansing of Jews from a part of their biblical homeland –– and not react with petty upset and pique when it is pointed out to them.
“Incidentally, if the PA is so concerned about Jews living in Judea/Samaria, then nothing would be more sensible for Mahmoud Abbas than to commence immediate negotiations with Israel –– which the PA has refused for the past seven and half years, with the exception of two meetings in one week, now over six years ago.
“Once the borders of a Palestinian state would be agreed upon, there would be an immediate end to any Jewish construction within the territory to be transferred to PA control. But the PA is not interested in peace, something the Obama Administration refuses to publicly acknowledge. Instead, it continues deliberately to cast doubt on Israel’s commitment to peace, which is hardly the act of an ally.
“We applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu for pointing out the obvious, which few have been willing to do. As George Orwell is reputed to have said, ‘In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.’”