Diplomacy in Jerusalem, Death in Gaza


USCPR Executive Director Yousef Munayyer appears on KCRW’s To the Point to put the Great Return March, the 70th anniversary of the ongoing Nakba, and the Trump administration’s move of the US embassy to Jerusalem in the context of the ongoing struggle for Palestinian rights and freedom, justice, and equality.

WARREN OLNEY, KRCW: Hello again. A few days ago, the US moved its Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Here speaking in Washington, President Trump:

DONALD TRUMP: For many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious: the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. On December 6 2017, at my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel.

WO: At the ceremony itself, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had this to say:

JARED KUSHNER: We also declared that we would soon move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and just five months later, we are standing on these grounds.

WO: As Kushner was speaking, six weeks of mass protest reached a climax in Gaza. It was the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians call the “Day of Catastrophe,” or Nakba, when they were forced to make way for the establishment of Israel. Armed with rocks and slingshots and kites carrying firebombs, some demonstrators tried to breach the border fence. Israeli snipers killed sixty people. A ten-week-old baby reportedly suffocated from tear gas. 1700 Palestinians were hospitalized. There were no Israeli casualties. Chemi Shalev is a senior columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, thank you so much for joining our podcast. [cuts out] …to Charles Dickens in “A Tale of Two Cities,” what did you mean?

CHEMI SHALEV, HAARETZ: Well I think there was the split-screen that was broadcast on televisions in Israel and throughout the world, was just a study in stark contrast. We had Israel rejoicing at the site of the new American embassy in Jerusalem, and the carnage in Gaza. And I just thought that the two, it was like – what came to mind was the famous opening of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” “a spring of hope” and “a winter of despair” and they were one juxtaposed against the other, and I just thought it was a stark contrast.

WO: A stark contrast indeed. What does it represent?

CS: Well I think first of all it represents the very close relations that exist between the Netanyahu government in Israel and the Trump administration in Washington, and the fact that as a result of these talks, of these close ties, Palestinians feel sidelined. I think that the reaction of the White House to the incidents in Gaza were even more telling. Not only did they part with the previous administrations in sort of refusing to call for Israeli restraint, but at one point the White House even described the casualties as “Hamas propaganda.” So I think there was a direct connection at least in the reaction, in the American reaction to the incidents – although I must say I think Israelis were a bit taken aback by the reaction of the rest of the world, which was very critical, because somehow they’d been led into complacency in recent months as if now that they’re on such good terms with the Trump administration, the rest of the world is sort of receded into the background. I think this was a reminder that that is not the case.

WO: You said the Trump administration didn’t call for Israeli restraint; Nikki Haley the UN Ambassador said that Israel had shown “great restraint.”

CS: Well the session of the security council was another demonstration of the kind of relations that exist today. There was full-hearted [US] support for Israel, and not only that but when the Palestinian representative started speaking, Nikki Haley walked out. I think this is interesting against the backdrop of the talk of the supposed peace plan that the administration is preparing, and according to Jason Greenblatt is already over, is already finished. So the question is whether the estrangement between the Trump administration and the Palestinians won’t make any peace plan, never mind what its details are, stillborn. I’m not sure that any Palestinian leadership is in a position today to engage with the Trump administration.

WO: One of the lines in your article about this in Haaretz is the “knockout to Israel’s image was built-in to the script.” What do you mean?

CS: I think the situation in Gaza is very complex. I think that the portrayal in much of the world media pinning the blame on Israel is a bit too one-sided, but nonetheless when you have a situation where there are cameras fixed on a fence, and on one side there are thousands of supposedly unarmed civilians demonstrating, and sixty people wind up dead, and you juxtapose that with the kind of demonstration of jubilation that was in Jerusalem, then I think one exacerbated the other. The carnage in Gaza sort of made the ceremony in Jerusalem seem much more detached and perhaps much more inflammatory, as far as the Palestinians and the rest of the world are concerned.

WO: Chemi Shalev, talking to us from Tel Aviv. We’ll come back to him as our podcast goes forward. I want to introduce Yousef Munayyer, who is Executive Director for the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. That’s an organization based in Washington, a non-profit, a coalition of hundreds of groups that advocate for Palestinian rights. Good to have you on our program.

YOUSEF MUNAYYER: Thanks for having me.

WO: What about the argument that the Israelis are making that Hamas very cynically used these protesters, encouraged them to go forth, and subject themselves to being fired upon by the [Israelis] in order to create exactly the kind of impression that we just heard described?

YM: It reminds me of the arguments that were made by Bull Connor and George Wallace about protesters in Alabama who were “outside agitators looking to make trouble” and create certain images. Look, the reality is that protests are by their nature provocations. That’s what they are around the world. They ask people, they provoke people to ask serious moral questions about what is taking place. Oftentimes historically it has been the reaction to protests, the often brutal and repressive reaction to protests the likes of which we saw yesterday, that clarify the answers to those moral questions more than anything else. So when Palestinians are coming to the fence with little more than their own bodies and perhaps whatever they can throw fifty feet, and are being shot by snipers sitting atop dunes behind a fence from hundreds of meters away, the world looks at that and they see that there is something wrong here. There’s nothing complicated about that being wrong. That’s just wrong. So the Israelis do have a PR problem on their hands here. But so did apartheid South Africa in Sharpeville, so did George Wallace, so did the British Raj. That’s an important PR problem to come to light, because people need to start asking questions about what’s taking place here, and what needs to happen for things to change.

WO: Are you suggesting that the demonstrations were spontaneous, that this was just a lot of people acting on their own? As I understand it, they were in fact encouraged in mosques and elsewhere, and particularly by Hamas, which is regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States and other countries. Which was it?

YM: These were not spontaneous demonstrations, although there have been spontaneous demonstrations where very lethal repressive force has been used against Palestinians inside of Gaza and elsewhere. These were planned demonstrations that have been going on now for several weeks that have been coordinated first by a group of organizations on the ground and civil society activists. The factions in Gaza have played a role in these as well, Hamas is of course on the ground in Gaza the leading faction there. But I think it’s very dangerous to characterize this as a Hamas protest when in fact what the people on the ground are protesting for are not the agendas of any one particular political faction. They’re demanding their right as refugees for repatriation, they’re demanding a right to live freely in their land without military occupation or siege. This is not a Hamas agenda, this is a Palestinian agenda. When you look at poll numbers of Palestinians, what you see is that the largest single number of Palestinians support none of the above [political factions], and Hamas actually gets a minority of support. So this entire conversation about Hamas is part of an Israeli effort to justify the shooting of people who should not have been shot at. I think it’s very important for us to be clear about that and not take the bait.

WO: Yousef Munayyer again with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Also with us, Ambassador Martin Indyk. He was Ambassador to Israel, and he was the special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations when they were going on from July 2013 to June 2014. He is currently with the Brookings Institution. Mr. Ambassador, welcome back.

MARTIN INDYK, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Thanks Warren, good to be with you.

WO: You were initially quoted as saying that what we saw on this day was a bittersweet moment. You took a lot of heat for saying that. Explain what you meant?

MI: Well I was speaking personally as the former ambassador to Israel in days of the Clinton administration, when we were trying to resolve the issue of Jerusalem amongst the other final status issues at the end of the administration. I was preparing to move the embassy to Jerusalem, we had a little team in the embassy in Tel Aviv, but it was in the context of an effort to try to get a final agreement on all the final status issues, including Jerusalem, and a belief that we might actually make it and therefore we needed to be ready to move immediately, as a way of showing that the difficult concessions that Israelis would have to make in Jerusalem in particular, in a final status deal, would be recognized by the United States moving its embassy – the embassy in Israel, to what would’ve probably been West Jerusalem, to recognize that as the capital of Israel. Also personally as a Jew I cannot but feel happy that the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State, something that Jews have aspired to for thousands of years. Having said that, it was never my hope or expectation that this would be done in the way that it was, which was a real poke in the eye to the Palestinians. It always needed to be done, and still needs to be done in the context of resolving the issue of Jerusalem in a fair way, that would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of two states, not one. The Trump administration, President Trump himself, could have in the rollout of the decision, in Jared Kushner’s speech yesterday, could have at least at a minimum said to the Palestinians “we recognize that you aspire to have your capital in east Jerusalem.” It would have cost them nothing but it would have shown a sensitivity towards Palestinian aspirations. Instead, President Trump declared multiple times that he had solved the problem of Jerusalem, he had “taken Jerusalem off the table.” That sent the signal to the Palestinians that there’s nothing in the American approach to this issue for the Palestinians. That turned it into a zero sum game, and the juxtaposition you were talking to Chemi about earlier is a juxtaposition between rejoicing for Israel and the Jews, and nothing but death and destruction for the Palestinians as they protest. I think that’s the bitter, very bitter part of the bittersweet nature of this for me personally.

WO: We heard a moment ago about the relationship between President Trump and President – excuse me, Prime Minister –

MI: He’s a prime minister. He might like to be President, but…

WO: Prime Minister, that’s what I thought, yeah. Right, haha. Thank you for that. We heard a moment ago about the relationship between the two presidents in Netanyahu and – excuse me, between the President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Could President Trump have forced that on Netanyahu, would he have had to go along with the kind of statement about Jerusalem that you just made?

MI: Well yes, it wouldn’t have required forcing. It’s language that in our negotiations the Israelis were willing to go along with. But the context is different now, and the President – and his advisors – have made very clear that this is not about Palestinians, this is about Israel. As they say, it’s about fulfilling a campaign promise, which is to say that there is funding to the domestic base, and again it just underscores that they’re ignoring the Palestinian aspirations when it comes to Jerusalem.

WO: You mentioned that this is a “poke in the eye” to the Palestinians. One of the things that has been pointed to many times in that context is the presence of Robert Jeffries, he is a very controversial Christian evangelist here in the United States. Here he is speaking in Jerusalem as the American embassy opened:

ROBERT JEFFRIES: We want to thank you for the tremendous leadership of our great President Donald J. Trump. Without President Trump’s determination, resolve, courage, we would not be here today. I believe Father I speak for every one of us when we say we thank you every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history.

WO: Robert Jeffries speaking to his Christian God. Chemi Shalev, back to you with Haaretz, you mentioned Robert Jeffries in your story about this incident. What’s your take on his presence?

CS: Well I think it was a symbolic manifestation of the prominence that American evangelicals have taken in influencing the American policy towards Israel and towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps at the same time the sort of sidelining of what used to be the bedrock of Israeli support in America, which is American Jews, most of whom are wary of evangelicals in general, and view both Jeffries and Pastor John Hagee who also spoke as beyond the pale. So we have a situation where in both countries elements that take what I consider extreme right-wing positions, which indeed don’t really factor in the Palestinians, are holding great sway over policy. The ceremony in Israel generally, the ceremony in Jerusalem, sort of brought forth – it gave a graphic demonstration of that influence. It doesn’t bother Israelis, I don’t think they’re too concerned about it, but I think that American Jews feel as if they were slapped in the face by the presence of these two pastors in general, in particular, and by the very fact that people like Sheldon Adelson and evangelicals are now the most important conduit of Israel to the White House. This is an unprecedented situation.

WO: Ambassador Indyk, back to you. As an American Jew, what’s your take on what we heard?

MI: I agree completely with Chemi. I just think it’s outrageous that bigots who are – in Jeffries’ case he’s made anti-Semitic statements, they’ve both made anti-Muslim statements – it’s unacceptable that they should be brought in to this ceremony in this way. I think it’s important to note that the State Department spokesman said yesterday that they were invited by David Friedman, the Trump-appointed US Ambassador to Israel, but by the State Department was the implication. This highlights I think the role that David Friedman has played in this, and he is part of the effort that Chemi describes to have the US-Israel relationship in my view hijacked by people who are either settlers in their identification or mentality as David Friedman is, or these bigots who represent one part but not all by any means of the evangelical community in the United States. Then of course Sheldon Adelson, who has deployed his vast amount of funds from gambling proceeds to make sure that the President follows through on this. So it’s all part of the bitterness side of what I feel.

WO: Sheldon Adelson the Las Vegas billionaire obviously, who has been so much involved as you’ve just indicated in American foreign policy. Yousef Munayyer, you’re still with us, again with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Pretty much of a softball for you at this point, but what’s your take on the President’s not just to Robert Jeffries whom we just heard, but also John Hagee, the other evangelical minister who was present. What does that say to the Palestinians?

YM: Well look, I think the entire choreography not just around the opening of the embassy the other day, but also back to the announcement of the decision – when President Trump seated in the White House had his Vice President behind him, who is very much closer to the religious right here in the United States, and also made his declaration in front of a Christmas tree at the time – the entire decision was packaged for a very specific community here in the United States, many of whom believe that the President is fulfilling some sort of religious obligation or prophecy in moving this embassy to Jerusalem or what have you. But I wanted to make a point about a related note that I think is important and also speaks to what this means for Palestinians, and also I think what it tells us about the shift that this administration has taken from previous administrations. When American officials have traveled to the region in the past, historically one of the things that has always bothered them and concerned them is what is taking place on the ground when they are visiting the region, because it sends a message about them potentially being supportive of these things. Martin can speak to this certainly from his experience going back to Jim Baker in 1991, he said at the time “nothing has made my job of trying to find peace partners for the Israelis more difficult than being greeted by a new settlement every time I arrive.” So it’s important to keep this in mind, and we saw of course the same thing with Vice President Biden back in 2010 when the Israelis announced a massive settlement expansion in Jerusalem, that it caused a diplomatic incident between the United States and Israel at the time. To maintain the image or the pretense at least of impartiality, the United States did not want to be involved or seen in any way as providing support or cover for certain things that they disagreed with. In planning this embassy opening on May 15th, and whatever your perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is, any impartial observer will tell you that May 15th is a date that Israelis and Palestinians see in radically different ways. The Israelis celebrate, and Palestinians mark it as a moment of tragedy, a tragedy that hasn’t ended. So for the Americans to deliberately open up this embassy and choose this date to do it, knowing full well what was likely to take place on the ground, is tantamount to the United States government dancing on the graves of Palestinians in the past and in the present. I think that shift tells you the direction that this administration has decided to take when it comes to this issue, and there is no way for the United States to recover from this in the eyes of Palestinians.

WO: Ambassador Indyk, “dancing on the graves of Palestinians,” is that too strong?

MI: No, I think it actually describes what happened, and it’s interesting to note that it actually wasn’t on Israel’s Independence Day, which was – because they follow the Lunar calendar, which was back in April. So they could’ve picked any day other than this day, and it I think reflects the insensitivity overall – that the administration showed.

WO: Ambassador Friedman, whom you mentioned – I’m sorry to interrupt you, but Ambassador Friedman whom you mentioned has said that this is a move “to create a better dynamic for peace.” Is there some way that there could be a better dynamic, is there some other country besides the United States that could be the honest broker, which apparently the United States – that’s a role the United States is giving up?

MI: Well, let me take it in two parts. First of all the claim that this somehow is going to advance the peace process is in my view ludicrous. It’s not as if the peace process was exactly moving forward before this happened, it was already on life support, if that. But what they meant, the people in the administration responsible for the peace process (Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt and the President himself), what they managed to do with this Jerusalem decision was to force the Palestinians out of the process, out of the American-led negotiating process. Some of them, I would say Abu Mazen (the leader of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority) actually was looking for a way out, because he could see that what they were cooking in terms of the peace plan was not going to be favorable. So Jerusalem is always a good way to take the high ground, the moral high ground amongst Palestinians and Arabs, and just exit. But on the other hand the way they handled it, the way the administration handled it, was to I think in fact push them out the door, open it and push them out the door. So that has had profound consequence in terms of the other part of their strategy, which was to bring the Arab Sunni leadership into the process to provide cover and pressure on the Palestinians to do the deal. That was really focused on Jared Kushner’s would-be partner in this, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman, but it’s my understanding that the Saudis have made clear that after this Jerusalem decision, before what happened the last couple of days, they said look we can’t help you on this. King Salman, the Crown Prince’s father, hosted a Jerusalem summit of the Arab League to condemn the Trump administration’s decision. So part of the reason that I think that their plan (as Chemi mentioned) that they have completed, they’re not bringing it forward because they know that now they can’t, they won’t get much as Palestinian support for it, but they won’t get Arab support either. As for others that might step in, certainly the Palestinians have been calling on others – Europe, the UN – to step in, but here’s an interesting anecdote. The Europeans, [Mahmoud Abbas] went to see the Europeans, beseeched them to kind of fill the vacuum made by the United States, and the Europeans said no no no, it’s the United States that has to lead this process, and directed Abu Mazen back to Washington! Which is highly ironic, since the Europeans have always been desperate to play a leading role in the peace process, but not now.

WO: One thing that gets lost in the conversation about diplomacy, which has been going on for so long and is so familiar in so many ways, is the conditions in Gaza. Chemi Shalev, back to you in Tel Aviv. [Gaza]’s been described by some people as the world’s biggest open-air prison. What’s your take on conditions in Gaza, how bad are they?

CS: Well I think conditions in Gaza are very bad, unemployment is very high, poverty is rising, and I don’t think there are Israelis in fact who contest the fact that people in Gaza are living in very bad conditions and are getting more and more desperate. In fact, the Israeli army has been ironically pressing the Israeli government to try to alleviate the situation, to ease the blockade, but have not been getting much of a response from the government, I think for political reasons. The government does not want to be seen as caving in or as making concessions to Hamas. In fact, while I think that the events that happened on the fence are debatable, and I don’t think one can ignore the fact that Israel has to deal with an organization that is 1) considered a terrorist organization and 2) does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, in fact declares its wish to destroy it; at the same time I don’t think the Israeli government can be exonerated from not having taken the steps that might have alleviated the economic situation in Gaza. Now I’m not saying that would crush or make the Palestinian aspirations disappear, but it would certainly have lowered the motivation of what were in the end thousands of people to risk their lives. So the Israeli government is responsible for not having been flexible enough to allow more economic growth in Gaza. The Israeli government has a formula which says that it will ease the blockade or even lift the blockade in exchange for complete Hamas disarmament, but it knows full well that that is a non-starter as far as Hamas is concerned, but it didn’t take any measures, it didn’t even consider ways to take half-measures that might have made the situation in Gaza better.

WO: We heard a moment ago from Yousef Munayyer that people in Gaza aren’t necessarily in favor of either Hamas or Abu Mazen and his organization. Is this a situation where people are being collectively punished for what Hamas is doing, when they don’t even support Hamas?

CS: I don’t know exactly how many people support Hamas, the fact is that Hamas rules Gaza and the fact is that there has not been much dissent in Gaza, mainly because Hamas is a tyrannical regime and does not allow dissent. So it’s very hard to tell. Obviously the Palestinians are suffering on account of their leadership, whether their leadership is democratically elected or has imposed itself by force. But that’s true of any place in the world. Whatever harm that Israel has historically caused the Palestinians, and no matter how badly Israel has treated the Palestinians, they have suffered ten times over because of the short-sightedness and/or extremism of their own leadership.

WO: Yousef Munayyer, do you have any way to dispute that, or would you agree with it?

YM: I wouldn’t agree with the characterization that Palestinians have suffered “ten times over” because of their leadership compared to what they have suffered because of what Israel has done to them. I would probably invert that for it to be more realistic. But the reality is that Palestinians are disillusioned by their leaders. 70% of the population of the West Bank and Gaza wants Mahmoud Abbas to resign (this is the president of the Palestinian Authority). This is not a secret. But that is not because they don’t believe that they should have their basic rights. Their claims remain the same, they remain steadfast behind those claims, what has led them to disillusionment is that the leaders have failed to advance those claims: the desire to end the military occupation, the desire to return back to their homes, the desire to live freely and equally in their own land. I think it’s important to keep in mind, we talk about Palestinian leaders as if they are the rulers of an independent state where they have the complete autonomy and freedom to determine the outcomes in the spaces where they govern. But we have to remember that these are people who are in the context of a military occupation, in the Gaza Strip under a military siege that is determining a lot of what the outcomes can be. I think regardless to what the state of Palestinian leadership is, that should not prevent anyone from demanding accountability for Israeli actions that are flagrant violations of international law. What we saw yesterday, and in the days past, with the Israeli reaction to the protest was that the Israeli military was carrying out orders that were flagrant violations of the international standards for the use of lethal force, which hold that lethal force is only supposed to be used when there’s an imminent threat to life. But they’ve made clear that they are not waiting for an imminent threat to life. If people approach a fence, they’re going to shoot at them and kill them to prevent them from getting through a fence. That’s very different than an imminent threat to life. I think that we can talk about Palestinian leadership all day, that shouldn’t prevent us from talking about why there needs to be accountability for that, and I think if there isn’t accountability for Israel’s actions this is only going to continue. Unfortunately the statement that we saw from the White House yesterday, essentially blaming all Palestinians for being killed by Israelis, that sends a very dangerous message that the Israelis can just continue doing this because nobody is going to object to it, not in Washington at least. I think that’s something that should alarm us all.

WO: So Ambassador Indyk, orders come from above, what does this tell us about the leadership of both Israel and the United States?

MI: Well if I could quickly just make a comment about the leadership of the Palestinians, particularly Hamas. Hamas has been put in a corner, essentially by Egypt Israel and the Palestinian Authority which has cut its provision of salaries to Palestinian civil servants under Hamas control in Gaza, and also cut funding for electricity. They and the Egyptians are basically operating under the assumption that the harder life becomes for the Palestinians in Gaza, the more likely they will be to turn against Hamas. So you’ve got a kind of combination of Israel, Egypt and the PA all for their own reasons pressing Hamas. [Hamas is] looking for a way to strike out, they tried rockets and that ended very badly, they tried tunnels and the Israelis have figured out a way of blowing them up, now they’ve glommed on to – they didn’t start this idea, as Yousef suggested, they didn’t start the idea of mass protests. That was started by some other, non-political NGOs. But they glommed on to it, took over it, took control of it, and essentially have tried to use this now as leverage – on Israel in particular, but also Egypt and the PA – to try to get the relief of the siege of Gaza, which will solidify their rule there. So I see it as an attempt by Hamas in a sense to break out of the corner that they’re being put in, and therefore I think we’re going to see a continuation of this, and Israel in particular but Egypt too needs to find a way to get out of their own bind now by de-escalating and finding a way to relieve the siege – even –

WO: Well what about – what about orders though to fire on people who are approaching the fence?

MI: Well I think the Israelis obviously have a big, big problem now, and they’re reconsidering the way that they’re handling this. To be fair, their fear is that thousands of Palestinians will cross the fence and either Hamas will use the opportunity to take Israeli soldiers back to Gaza and hold them as hostages, or take over some Israeli villages or kibbutzim that are right on the border there. So there is a genuine concern behind it, but the tactics they’re using are clearly, highly problematic from a human rights point of view, and highly problematic from a PR point of view. So I think the Israelis need to find a different way of dealing with this problem.

WO: Chemi Shalev, it’s my understanding that Mr. Netanyahu has become very popular in Israel, is this all good politics?

CS: Well it’s all good politics as long as it’s working. President Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal was very popular in Israel, and it was seen as a very great achievement of the Prime Minister, but that’s before we see the consequences of such a decision. The same I think is true of the movement of the embassy, the transfer of the embassy. Generally speaking in the past few weeks, past few months, Prime Minister Netanyahu – because of the prominence of security and diplomatic issues which are his strong suit – has been getting stronger and stronger in the polls. There’s even talk that he’s getting so strong he might be tempted to call early elections. But these things usually have a dynamic, and once the glamour of his achievements wears off and people start thinking of the ramifications, then perhaps his popularity will suffer. But there’s no doubt that he’s in a very strong position right now, that most Israelis support his policies, and indeed that most Israelis look very favorably on Donald Trump, I have to say I’m embarrassed to say that, but it’s true. They sort of disregard all the other things that all the other noise about President Trump, they’re not too concerned about the way his personality comes across or the Russia affair, all they look at, they look at through the very narrow prism of how he’s been treating Israel, and he seems to be supporting Netanyahu to the hilt. So as far as the popularity of both, it’s working for both of them. I and others may think that in the long run this is all going to boomerang, but until it does Mr. Netanyahu is riding a wave.

WO: Alright, we’re going to be looking at politics in the United States in just a moment, particularly among American Jews. I want to thank you all for being with us. Chemi Shalev once again, senior columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, talking to us from Tel Aviv. Yousef Munayyer with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights in Washington. Former Ambassador Martin Indyk, Ambassador to Israel, also the special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations between 2013 and 2014. Thank you all very much for being on our podcast.