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Saturday, August 15, 2009 

Ronald Lauder speaks in defense of Israel

World Jewish Congress leader Ronald S. Lauder has written in defense of Israel in the Wall Street Journal (Hat tip: One Jerusalem):
Rule No. 1: Respect the sovereignty of democratic allies. When free people in a democracy express their preferences, the United States should respect their opinions. The current administration should not try to impose ideas on allies like Israel.

The administration would also do well to take heed of the Palestinian Authority’s continued refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This is not a trivial matter. A long-term settlement can only be forged on the basis of mutual recognition and respect. To deny the essence of the Zionist project—to rebuild the Jewish people’s ancient homeland—is to call into question the seriousness of one’s commitment to peace.

It is a sad statement of the Palestinians’ approach to peace-making that denial of the Jewish homeland is not simply contained in the openly anti-Semitic leadership of Hamas. It is a widespread belief across the spectrum of Palestinian opinion. This reality must be confronted.

Today’s leadership must never forget that the core historic reason for the conflict is the Arab world’s longstanding rejection of Israel’s existence. The two-state solution was accepted by Israel’s pre-state leadership led by David Ben-Gurion in 1947 when it agreed to the partition plan contained in United Nation’s General Assembly Resolution 181. The Arabs flatly rejected it. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows all too well, President Bill Clinton’s peace plans in 2000 foundered due to Palestinian rejection of the Jewish state, even as Israel, once again, accepted their right to statehood.

More recent experience in Europe also offers lessons about the dangers of negotiating with terrorists. Over the past year, officials from Britain, France and the European Union all held talks with officials from the “political wing” of Hezbollah in a bid to get the terrorist group to moderate its behavior. Hezbollah is undoubtedly grateful for the legitimacy that these meetings have conferred, but it is not laying down its arms. Indeed, according to a recent report from the Times of London, the group has now stockpiled 40,000 rockets close to the Israeli border.
Europe too would do well to consider that siding with Israel's enemies will not help their own troubles. That's why they too have to realize that it does not pay to impose bad ideas upon Israel.

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