ADL ‘stunned’ by American tone

Foxman dismayed at US's "public dressing-down of Israel" over e. J'lem housing.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
March 14, 2010 01:35
3 minute read.
ADL ‘stunned’ by American tone

Abe Foxman 224.88 AJ. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The Anti-Defamation League expressed dismay on Saturday evening at Washington’s “public dressing-down of Israel” over new housing in east Jerusalem.

“We are shocked and stunned at the administration’s tone and public dressing-down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem,” ADL’s National Director Abe Foxman said in a statement.

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He said Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley was especially harsh when he charged that Israel “undermined trust and confidence in the peace process, and in America’s interests” when the Interior Ministry announced the housing in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

Foxman said the US criticism was “especially troubling” because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had offered clear explanations of the announcement mishap both publicly and privately.

“US Vice President Joe Biden accepted the prime minister’s apology,” Foxman said. “Therefore, to raise the issue again in this way is a gross overreaction to a point of policy difference among friends.

“We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States,” the statement continued. “One can only wonder how far the US is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table.”

He said the unprecedented criticism was aimed at placating the Palestinians.



Foxman himself had criticized Israel’s move in a post on the left-wing Huffington Post Web site.

“Whatever the motivation and whoever the responsible party, it is the government of Israel that justifiably is held accountable for converting an optimal moment in US-Israel relations into a moment of crisis,” he wrote. “The crucial point is that the government had an obligation to anticipate what might go wrong during the vice president’s visit and to give firm instruction to all cabinet members about avoiding such pitfalls, particularly on the subjects of settlements and east Jerusalem.”

Mainstream US Jewish groups usually refrain from criticism of Israel on peace process issues.

J Street came out in support of the administration over the weekend, sharply condemning Israel’s policy.

“Israel’s recent announcement of 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem wasn’t just a slap in the face to Vice President Joe Biden,” J Street said. “It was a wake-up call to us all that business-as-usual peace processing is bringing us no closer to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And now it may derail or delay the proximity talks just announced by special envoy George Mitchell.

“The alarm bells couldn’t be ringing more loudly, telling us that hope is fading for a future where a Jewish, democratic Israel lives side-by-side in peace and security with the state of the Palestinian people.”

The Zionist Organization of America also  criticized Biden for his public condemnation of Israel.

Biden’s public criticism violates his own “Biden Doctrine,” as stated in his November 2001 address at the ZOA Brandeis Dinner in Philadelphia’s Adams Mark Hotel, it said.

In that address, then-Delaware senator Biden said, “Why is it that the one ally we have in that part of the world [Israel], that we have the right to publicly chastise them? We would not do that with any other friend... As much as the Middle East is always on our minds, the best thing we can do is keep it off the US and world press.”

He also said that such criticism “emboldens those in the Middle East and around the world who still harbor as their sacred goal the elimination of Israel... It is not for you to tell them [Israel], nor for me, what is in their best interests. We should give them the right to determine what chances they will take.”

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