Jewish Voice for Peace Response to Obama’s Speech on the Middle East
May 19, 2011
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) was disappointed by President Obama’s speech today. While President Obama did speak for the first time of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, he did not break new ground in his overall approach to the conflict. His speech did not reflect the reality on the ground and further showed a breathtaking hypocrisy by omission.
When President Obama says, "The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region," we ask, "Will you hold Israel accountable for its violence against Palestinians, both in daily life under occupation and in Israel's brutal response to nonviolent Palestinian protest, like in Nabi Saleh and Bil'in?"
President Obama seems to recognize that the Palestinians are "suffering the humiliation of occupation," but he blatantly ignores the tyranny and violence of over four decades of control, land confiscation and worse. Further, he offered not one concrete step towards ending the occupation, an absence made all the more grotesque because Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu chose to headline today with plans to expand illegal and immoral Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.
Moreover, Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to President Obama’s speech with an immediate rejection of the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiation, with one of the leading American Jewish organizations – whose leader was named by Newsweek as the most influential rabbi in America – calling the 1967 borders “Auschwitz borders.”
In the face of such intransigence, we need President Obama to match his words with action. We need him to make a commitment to human rights and democracy for all of the Middle East, including all the people of Israel and Palestine.
For further comment, contact Rebecca AT jewishvoiceforpeace.org