Speaking at the 2023 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Summit on Monday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken stressed that “settlement expansion clearly presents an obstacle to the horizon of hope that we seek. Likewise, any move toward annexation of the West Bank, de facto or de jure, disruption of the historic status quo at the holy sites, the continuing demolitions of homes, and the evictions of families that have lived in those homes for generations damage prospects for two states. They also undermine the basic daily dignity to which all people are entitled.”
Mind you, he didn’t distinguish between any kind of demolitions and evictions, including the homes of terrorists with blood on their hands, or squatters living rent-free in Jewish-owned homes. And his idea of the historic status quo at the holy sites is: Muslims pray, Jews don’t. And above all else is the administration’s faith in the two-state solution.
As Blinken put it: “As the President said on his recent trip to Israel and the West Bank last summer, a two-state solution – based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps – remains the best way to achieve our goal of Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace, with equal measures of security, freedom, justice, opportunity, and dignity.”
It made sense, then, that in his entire, 21-minute-long AIPAC speech, Blinken didn’t mention Gaza even once. Because, you know, it’s an independent “Palestinian State” and also a violence-ridden failed state. So, don’t confuse him with the facts.
Now, if you expected a decisive answer from the Secretary of State on Iran, turns out he offered three:
“We continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to verifiably, effectively, and sustainably prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. In parallel, economic pressure and deterrence reinforce our diplomacy. If Iran rejects the path of diplomacy, then – as President Biden has repeatedly made clear – all options are on the table to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.
“This three-pronged approach – diplomacy, economic pressure, deterrence, which also includes strengthening Israel’s military capabilities – has bipartisan support, and it puts us in the strongest possible position to address the Iranian nuclear threat, just as we take on the many other challenges posed by the Iranian regime.”
And don’t forget the Abraham Accords: “We will soon create a new position to further our diplomacy and engagement with governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations, all working toward a more peaceful and a more connected region to achieve significant historic progress to deepen and broaden the Abraham Accords, building on the work of the Trump administration.”
Look at that, while in Israel the Prime-Minister-for-the-summer Yair Lapid took all the credit for the accords, labored on by Netanyahu, Blinken acknowledged who started this thing.
Blinken engaged in an outright open lie only once, when he claimed: “Following intense mediation by the United States, Israel, and Lebanon completed a historic agreement last fall to establish their permanent maritime boundary, something that had been long in the works. That in turn lowered the prospect of conflict and also created a greater path for greater energy security in the region.”
If anything, the prospect for conflict has increased manyfold once Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was able to extort a potential natural gas field from PM Lapid. The deal was so bad, the temporary PM was afraid to submit it to a Knesset ratification, knowing the elected body would reject it. And Hezbollah has remained on the warpath ever since.
Is anyone briefing the Secretary of State on these things?
Here’s a bit of insight: Secretary Blinken told AIPAC: “We’re investing more resources in building understanding between the two sides at the grassroots level to help build peace from the bottom up, including through the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act.”
Congress enacted the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) in 2020 “to advance peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians to enable a sustainable two-state solution. MEPPA establishes two funds and authorizes up to $250 million over five years, starting with $50 million in FY21 funding.”
In August 2021, the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) launched its Groundwork Podcast in collaboration with New Israel Fund. The podcast opened with the Mixed Cities miniseries, which profiled citizen activists working in Jerusalem, Haifa, and Lod in the aftermath of the Gaza war in May of that year – when Israeli Arabs carried out pogroms against their Jewish neighbors in several mixed cities. These first episodes were hosted by PA Arab activist Sally Abed, and Israeli journalist, Dina Kraft.
Dina Kraft is based in Tel Aviv, where she reports for Haaretz, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Los Angeles Times on Israeli and PA politics, culture, and society. Her recent article in Haaretz (March 5) was titled: “Voices of the Protesters: Meet the Israelis Protecting Democracy Against Netanyahu’s Constitutional Coup.”
So, it’s balanced: on one side an anti-Israel Palestinian, on the other an anti-Israel Jew.
ALLMEP and theNew Israel Fund continue to produce podcasts enhancing peace and understanding in Israel.