September 24, 2018

In America, politicians pay for bucking Netanyahu

This article originally appeared at ” target=”_blank”>Sienna Institute Research poll shows her leading Sanders 52 percent to 42 percent, and 60 percent to 38 percent among Jews.

Sanders is up against a powerful voice. Netanyahu has become a force in trying to get American Jews to support his policy of expanding settlements in Israel and taking an increasingly harsh line against Palestinians. He is a great ally of Republicans and a dedicated foe of any American president supporting an acceptable Israel agreement with the Palestinians, going back to the first President Bush and most especially singling out President Barack Obama.

His political team in Israel and in the United States has helped create a network of conservative Jews, mostly on the Republican side, which supports ” target=”_blank”>meeting with the New York Daily News editorial board and was a bit muddy in his answers.

Asked about negotiations with the Palestinians, he said, “I lived in Israel. I have family in Israel. I believe 100 percent not only in Israel’s right to exist, a right to exist in peace and security without having to face terrorist attacks. But from the United States’ point of view, I think, long-term, we cannot ignore the reality that you have large numbers of Palestinians who are suffering now poverty rates off the charts, unemployment off the charts, Gaza remaining a destroyed area. … [T]here are good people on both sides, and Israel … cannot just simply expand when it wants to expand with more settlements. So I think the United States has got to help work with the Palestinian people as well. I think that is the path toward peace. … If the expansion [of settlements] was illegal, moving into territory that was not their territory, I think withdrawal from those territories is appropriate.”

That all makes sense to Zionists like me, who can’t stand Netanyahu’s persona or his expansionist policies. But Sanders was being interviewed in New York, where the slightest slip means trouble.

And slip he did. Talking of the number of Palestinians killed when the Israelis assaulted Gaza to stop terrorist attacks on Israel, he said, “My recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right? … My understanding is a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I am alone in believing Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.”

As he later admitted, Sanders got the numbers wrong. The Intercept wrote that a week after the conclusion of the fighting, the U.N. reported that 2,131 Palestinians had been killed in the Israeli bombardment, ” target=”_blank”>she told the Daily News editorial board, “that I will continue, as I did as senator, as I did as secretary of state, to do anything and everything for their security; that I will continue to speak out against the ” target=”_blank”>J Street, a liberal Jewish organization that favors a two-state solution, he expressed sympathy for innocent Palestinian victims.

That no doubt doomed him with the Netanyahu set. But Clinton, if she wins the nomination and the presidency, will also come up against Netanyahu’s no-compromise insistence on more settlements and more limitations on Palestinian power. And with his perpetual campaigning for support among right-wing Republicans, he probably won’t give up American politics.

In the end, an American president will have to—as Obama has done—remind Netanyahu that he is prime minister of Israel, and that he can’t dictate American policies.