Stuck in the Roundabout: The Perils of American Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Williams, Dylan J. | The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

Stuck in the Roundabout: The Perils of American Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Williams, Dylan J., The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs


Many Jewish Americans noted with hope that the inspiring sight of thousands of peaceful demonstrators seeking greater opportunity and freedom in squares and streets across the Middle East was not obscured by smoke billowing from burning American or Israeli flags, nor banners denouncing Western powers or their Jewish ally. As the inimitable journalist Mona Eltahawy put it, "None of this is about Israel.... For once it's not about you. Be happy it's not about you."1

Yet, as we celebrate the historic successes and honor the selfless sacrifices of those giving voice to our shared values in their own countries, the American pro-Israel community-and American Jews in particular- cannot help but wonder what this transformative process will mean for the homeland of the Jewish people, the State of Israel, to whose security and survival we have an unwavering commitment. Naturally, difficult questions arise: will a new Egyptian regime maintain its critical peace with Israel? Will more open elections bring extremist groups opposed to Israel's existence into power? Will the tide of revolts wash away the moderate leadership of the Palestinian Authority?

All are valid inquiries, but another of equal, if not greater importance to Israel's long-term security and survival, is also being asked within the American Jewish community: what should be done about the Israeli- Palestinian peace process?

Contrary to long-held beliefs in American politics, the overwhelming majority of American Jews not only supports a two-state resolution to the conflict, but wants the U.S. Government to assertively push the parties to achieve it. According to a 2010 election night survey of 1,000 American Jewish voters commissioned by J Street, 83 percent of American Jews want the administration to play "an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict." More tellingly, however, 71 percent would still support active American leadership if it meant "publicly stating its disagreements" with both Israelis and Arabs, while 65 percent would still support such leadership even if it meant "exerting pressure on both the Israelis and Arabs to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace."2

This data reflects a growing sense of urgency in the American pro- Israel community over the consequences of what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton-referencing previous statements by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and others-called "the inexorable mathematics of demography," 3 which will see Arabs outnumber Jews in Israeli-controlled or garrisoned territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River within a generation. At that moment, Israel will have to choose between relinquishing its Jewish character by granting all Palestinians full political rights, or abandoning the Zionist and Jewish ideal of democracy by denying such rights to the new majority, inviting condemnation and, inevitably, isolation and sanction from the international community.

Either scenario is unacceptable to those who support Israel and its right to exist as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. That is why our community was energized, twenty months before thousands of voices sounded from Cairo's Tahrir Square, by the voice of a single reformer filling a university hall elsewhere in Egypt's capital. In his June 2009 address on American relations with the Muslim world, President Obama pledged to Israeli and Arab leaders that, in pursuit of a two-state resolution to their conflict, "America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs... It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true."4

Unfortunately, this would-be Middle East revolution never made it out of the roundabout, with the United States driving in circles, perpetuating the status quo in the conflict.

In March 2010, Israeli, announced the approval of new housing units for its citizens in occupied East Jerusalem during Vice President Biden's visit, which triggered a diplomatic spat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stuck in the Roundabout: The Perils of American Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.