Liberal Jewish groups denounce US plan; mainstream applauds Trump, urges talks

Left-wing organizations say peace proposal undermines two-state solution to conflict; AIPAC says it recognizes Israel’s ‘critical security needs’

US President Donald Trump unveils his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during an event with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP/Alex Brandon)
US President Donald Trump unveils his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during an event with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP/Alex Brandon)

Reactions to the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan on Tuesday took a predictable path, with US Jewish groups in the mainstream and on the right praising the much-anticipated proposal and those on the left criticizing it.

Mainstream and right-wing organizations applauded US President Donald Trump’s commitment to Israel and hailed the proposal as a step toward peace.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said it “appreciate[s] the efforts of President Trump and his administration to work in consultation with the leaders of the two major Israeli political parties to set forth ideas to resolve the conflict in a way that recognizes our ally’s critical security needs.” AIPAC urged the “Palestinians to rejoin Israelis at the negotiating table.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition endorsed the plan, with executive Director Matt Brooks saying that the “President and his team have put together a bold and nuanced proposal that is deeply rooted in America’s core values of liberty, opportunity, and hope for the future.”

Left-wing groups denounced the plan as a threat to an eventual two-state solution to the conflict and as a danger to Israel.

Halie Soifer, the executive director of Jewish Democratic Council of America, said the outline “is a green light for Israeli annexation of the West Bank, an intentional undermining of a viable two-state solution and another example of Trump using Israel to further his domestic political agenda.”

US President Donald Trump, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

J Street described it as “the logical culmination of repeated bad-faith steps this administration has taken to validate the agenda of the Israeli right, prevent the achievement of a viable, negotiated two-state solution and ensure that Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank becomes permanent.”

The Israel-based group Peace Now said “[t]he insistence of a small and extreme minority to cling to every piece of land is dragging our country to perpetuate this protracted conflict to the point that it is critically threatening Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, said the proposal “threatens to make the occupation permanent” and “is not the vision of Israel’s founders.”

IfNotNow co-founder Emily Mayer slammed the plan as “totally and utterly bankrupt,” saying it “reveals the shameful way that our government has catered to the Israeli right — at the cost of Palestinian freedom — for our entire lives.”

Rabbi Alissa Wise, the acting co-executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, called it “an apartheid plan” and “a distraction ploy by two warmongers who are prioritizing their personal election campaigns over any semblance of statecraft.”

The American Jewish Committee in a statement said it “welcomes President Trump’s serious effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, assuring Israel’s security & Jerusalem’s uncontested status, while creating a path to Palestinian statehood.”

StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said the group “hope[s] this will be a step towards a better future for both peoples” and that “it is ultimately up to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to resolve their conflict through direct negotiations.”

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