December 18, 2019
News Press Release

ZOA Praises Sec. Pompeo Letter Rebuking the 107 Democrats’ Anti-Settlement Letter as Foolish

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (@SecPompeo) | Twitter)

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:

The Zionist Organization of America strongly praised U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s brilliant and powerful detailed letter rebuking and refuting an absurd nonsensical inaccurate racist anti-Israel letter opposing Jews living in and building Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, written by Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI) and signed by 106 other Democrats, including the notorious antisemitic Israelophobic “squad.”  Those 107 Democrats (almost half the House Democrat members) falsely and absurdly claimed that Jewish “settlements” (Jewish homes, cities and communities and businesses in Judea-Samaria, etc.) are “illegal” and a “barrier to peace,” and falsely claimed that their anti-Israel position was bi-partisan U.S. policy since 1978.  

Secretary Pompeo’s letter this week properly called the 107 Democrats’ “fixation” on settlements “foolish” and wrong, and soundly refuted and rebuked the 107 Democrats’ arguments.  

When Congressman Levin and the 106 other Democrats issued their false letter, ZOA immediately sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo, and published articles describing the binding international legal agreements and U.S. treaty obligations that confirm that Jewish settlements in the Jewish homelands of Judea-Samaria are legal.  (See ZOA to Pompeo: We Condemn 106 Democrats’ Anti-Israel Letter on Judea/Samaria,” Nov. 25, 2019; click here for ZOA’s original letter; and “ZOA’s Morton Klein: 107 Democrats Are Wrong About Judea and Samaria,” by Morton A. Klein and Elizabeth Berney, Esq., originally published in BreitbartDec. 2, 2019.)

Secretary Pompeo’s letter this week reiterated the Trump administration position set forth in Secretary Pompeo’s wonderful November 18, 2019 press conference, that Jewish settlements are not illegal under international law, and are not a “barrier to peace.”  (See ZOA Strongly Praises Pres. Trump, Sec. Pompeo Repudiating Orwellian Anti-Semitic Lie That Jews Building in Judea Samaria is Illegal,” Nov. 18, 2019.)

Both during his November 18 press conference and in this week’s letter, Secretary Pompeo noted that U.S. public statements on settlement activities have been inconsistent over recent decades. For instance, the anti-Israel Carter administration wrongly declared that settlements were illegal (thereby violating international law and U.S. treaty obligations), but then President Reagan “stated that he didn’t believe that the settlements were inherently illegal” – and reversed the Carter administration. Subsequent administrations avoided the issue of legality – until the Obama administration decided to knife Israel in the back during the final “lame duck” days of its term. Secretary John Kerry’s false declaration in late December 2016, that that settlements were illegal, broke with decades of past positions.  Accordingly, Secretary Pompeo declared on November 18, 2019 that “the Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements.

Among other things, Secretary Pompeo’s excellent letter noted that:

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry’s declaration that settlements are illegal was made in a “failed attempt to justify the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel” when Obama allowed the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on Dec. 23, 2016.  
  • Former “Secretary Kerry’s determination [that settlements are illegal] did notreceive bipartisan consensus.  Rather, it received bi-partisan condemnation, including from leading Democrats in both Houses of Congress.”
  • Congressman Andy Levin’s view that settlements are a barrier to peace does notenjoy bipartisan agreement.  In fact, the Senate Minority leader said in March 2018: “it’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace.”
  • Leading experts, including former Yale Law School Dean Eugene Rostow, confirm that settlements do not violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Dean Rostow stated that “Israel has an unassailable right to establish settlements in the West Bank.”
  • UNSCR 2334, and former Secretary Kerry’s self-justifying declaration that settlements are illegal, created “a significant handicap in advancing the cause of peace by erroneously injecting an incorrect and largely irrelevant legal component.”  The Obama administration declaration of illegality made peace harder to reach by hardening Palestinian-Arabs’ positions.

It is indeed important to remember that the Obama administration’s false declaration that settlements are illegal makes peace far harder to achieve.

It’s also important to make clear that Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria comprise only 2% of all of Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and that the Palestinian Authority has rejected Statehood offers in 2000,01,08,14 not to mention 1937 and 1947. 

And Article 24 of the PLO charter also states unequivocally that the Palestinians have no claim to sovereignty over Gaza or the West Bank! The issue is not statehood or land, it’s Palestinian Arabs desire to not accept Israel within any borders. 

ZOA also praises U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s statements supporting Secretary Pompeo’s letter.  (See “Mike Pompeo Slams Democrats’ Settlement Fixation, Calls Claims Foolish,” by Omri Nahmias,  Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2019.)