Both the Democratic and Republican parties support Israel, but only the Democratic Party is strong on Israel and the other values we cherish. Attacking Democrats on Israel is woven into the DNA of our Republican friends, who even attacked the pro-Israel credentials of Sen. Joe Lieberman when he ran for vice president in 2000. If the Democrats nominated Moses, the Republicans would attack him for having never visited Israel.
Did you hear what Secretary of State John Kerry said last week? "Israel needs to adopt a policy of restraint and self-control." OOPS! My bad. That wasn't Kerry. That was Israel's former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon writing in The Jerusalem Post. (Read all of Ayalon's article to get the context for that quote - he makes a lot of sense.)
Ayalon might be an Israeli security expert, but that doesn't mean that our right-wing friends aren't more knowledgeable and more pro-Israel.
Kerry last week called on only the Palestinians, not Israel, to end incitement. Recognizing that the status quo is not sustainable for either side, Kerry called on both sides to take constructive steps going forward. That's not "blaming" Israel. That's working toward the two-state solution that Israel needs. Read what Kerry said last week at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
Now, I want to be clear that the kind of violence that we have been seeing in recent weeks hurts everyone -- the innocent victims and their families; the Jewish and Arab residents of Israel; the Palestinians who yearn to have their aspirations realized -- hurts everyone. And this is yet another indication of the folly of believing that efforts at permanent peace and reconciliation are somehow not worth pursuing. I can't imagine the notion of just throwing up your hands and walking away and saying good luck. The current situation is simply not sustainable. President Obama has said that publicly many times. I've said it publicly.
And it is absolutely vital for Israel to take steps that empower Palestinian leaders to improve economic opportunities and the quality of life for their people on a day-to-day basis. And it is equally important - equally important - for Palestinian leaders to cease the incitement of violence and to offer something more than rhetoric; instead, propose solutions that will contribute in a real way to the improvement of life, to the reduction of violence, and to the safety and security of Israel's - of Israelis. Firm and creative leadership on both sides is absolutely essential. A two-state solution with strong security protections remains the only viable alternative. And for anybody who thinks otherwise, you can measure what unitary looks like by just looking at what's been going on in the last weeks. The United States absolutely remains prepared to do what we can to make that two-state -- two peoples living side by side in peace and security -- to make it possible.
Also last week, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter pledged to boost Israel's military edge, noting that the U.S. alliance with Israel "makes us stronger too." That's good news from a pro-Israel perspective. Not such good news for those whose chances for winning at the polls depends on making Israel a partisan issue.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated 20 years ago. This from J.J. Goldberg is hard but essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the impact of the assassination and what Rabin -- and his political opponents -- stood for.