Party should stand with US, world community in decrying settlements
The resolution in front of the Democratic State Committee declaring settlements an obstacle to a two-state solution should not be a divisive issue (“Democrats in state wary of resolution on Israel,” Page A1, April 21).
Do Massachusetts Democrats stand with former president Barack Obama, John Kerry (who voiced passionate opposition to continued settlement building in one of his last speeches as secretary of state), international law, the United Nations Security Council, and human rights? The answer should be clear.
The Democratic platform states that we are committed to a two-state solution in Israel. That must mean more than words on paper. Continued settlement building is not only illegal but an obstacle to a two-state solution. In his speech on Dec. 28, 2016, about the decision of the United States not to block the UN resolution against settlement building, Kerry said, “It is the permanent policy of settlement construction that risks making peace impossible.”
Let’s take a stand for international law and a peaceful solution to this tragic crisis in the Middle East and pass this resolution.
Polls make it clear that proposal
is the right step for Democrats
It is exciting to see a member of the Democratic State Committee showing political courage. It is sad that it takes courage to oppose the continued construction of settlements in the West Bank, since most governments in the world consider them to be illegal under the Geneva Convention and former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all spoke out against them.
In fact, committee member Carol Coakley’s proposal is more consistent with Democratic beliefs than those of the so-called state party leaders who oppose her. According to a November 2016 Brookings poll, 60 percent of Democrats favor sanctions or other strong measures against Israel in response to the continued expansion of settlements, and 42 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans agree. Furthermore, a Pew poll in 2013 showed that only 17 percent of American Jews believe the settlements help Israel’s security, while 44 percent say they make Israel less secure.
I believe Coakley’s motion is not only the right step but also the smart step for the Democrats to take.
It’s a one-sided push
toward a complex situation
Carol Coakley, member of the Democratic State Committee, wants the state’s Democrats to pass a resolution essentially blaming Israel, and Israel alone, for the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Democratic leader Steve Grossman and other Democrats fear that passing the resolution would lose voter support for their party. That may be true. But the real reason why they should not pass such a resolution is that it would be the wrong thing to do.
The resolution’s one-sided rendering of the very complicated Mideast situation is misleading, bigoted in that it singles out only Jewish Israelis, and ultimately damaging to the prospect of peace, since it implies that just the Israelis, and not the Palestinians, need to make concessions.
Coakley says she was partly inspired to propose the resolution by the presence of anti-Islamic sentiment in this country, which is a genuine problem that needs to be addressed. But let me get straight the logic of what she is proposing: She is saying that since there’s a certain amount of hostility toward Muslims in the United States, Democrats should make a clear statement that condemns Israeli Jews?
Resolution must also include
proviso for Palestinians
We will be very blunt and brief. We agree with the opinion that building settlements in the West Bank is not a helpful policy for fostering peace between Israelis and Palestinians. However, if the state Democratic Party includes an anti-settlement resolution in its party platform without also including a resolution that Palestinians must recognize the State of Israel’s right to exist and stop fostering terrorism against Israelis, then you can count on these lifelong Democrats resigning from the party our family has supported for generations.
Instead of infighting, Democrats should focus on fighting Trump
The Democratic State Committee should have only one clear goal in mind as it goes forward, and that is to overturn and remove the current Trump administration and its anti-democratic policies — policies that are destructive to liberal democracy. This resolve is shared by all who call themselves Democrats and liberals. The surefire way of undermining this determination is to adopt Carol Coakley’s resolution condemning the construction of Israeli settlements. Does Coakley really believe that this local resolution will have any effect on the building of these settlements? The only effect it would have is to divide an otherwise united Massachusetts Democratic Party.