Press Release - APN to President Obama: On Heels of Iran Diplomatic Victory, Time To Turn Back to Israel-Palestine

Washington - Following the last failed effort in the Senate today to kill the JCPOA before the end of the 60-day review period (which expires at midnight), APN President and CEO Debra DeLee issued the following statement:

"APN welcomes the success of Obama Administration-led diplomacy in achieving a diplomatic agreement that, when implemented, will dramatically roll back and limit Iran’s nuclear program and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear program in the future. This agreement is tangible evidence that determined diplomacy, backed by resolute leadership and concrete, sustained engagement, has the potential to overcome and resolve even the toughest challenges in the international arena. APN commends the Obama Administration and its international partners on this historic achievement. APN likewise urges opponents of the JCPOA – in Congress, the Israeli government, and U.S. organizations like AIPAC – to stand down from their efforts to undermine and kill the deal. All who are truly concerned about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran should now focus on ensuring rigorous implementation of the agreement by all sides.

"For years it has been argued that Iran’s unrestrained nuclear program represented an existential threat to Israel. With the Iran agreement on the road to implementation, that threat has been mitigated if not eliminated for the foreseeable future. Now, the Obama Administration, together with its allies in the international community, should return their focus and effort to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which represents a far more existential threat to Israel that Iran ever did – putting at risk its future as a democracy and a Jewish state.

"Some analysts and commentators will no doubt urge the Obama Administration to remain disengaged from the Israeli-Palestinian issue. For some of them, this position reflects crass political considerations; for others, it derives from a belief that whatever Obama attempts will fail, so there is no point in trying. For others still, it reflects a cynical effort to head off any new U.S. efforts that would challenge the pro-settlement, pro-Greater Israel agenda of the current Israeli government.

"To all of these nay-sayers, we respond: It is a truism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that there is no stable status quo, and that if things are not getting better, they are getting worse. The situation today for Israelis and Palestinians underscores the veracity of these words. After successive failed peace efforts and more than a decade without a political horizon for resolving the conflict and ending the occupation, violence and terrorism – carried out by both sides – is only growing. The summer 2014 war left Gaza in ruins, Israelis and Palestinians traumatized, and set the stage for the next outbreak of fighting. As this is being written, Jerusalem and its holy sites are, once again, the focal point of conflict and violence that has the potential to set the city and the region further aflame. Today, the very possibility of a two-state solution is in greater doubt than ever before.

"It is in this context that we say: in its remaining time in office, the Obama Administration will not have the luxury of remaining aloof or disengaged from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nor should it wish to do so. Urgent action is needed today – by President Obama, in coordination with the international community – to resuscitate and re-accredit the two-state solution, and to lay the groundwork for a diplomatic agreement that achieves such a solution in the near future. While such a solution is almost certainly unattainable during President Obama’s term in office, saving the two-state solution so that it can be achieved under the next president is within reach and urgent, and would represent a critically important legacy for President Obama.

"Today we say to President Obama: you have achieved historic foreign policy victories on Cuba and Iran, Now, we urge you to act decisively to renew U.S. leadership and, in doing so, help all of us who are truly committed to Israel as a democracy and a Jewish state to reclaim Israel’s future from those who would sentence Israel to permanent conflict in an un-democratic, repressive, racist state."

After Yom Kippur, APN will be rolling out a major policy statement laying out specific recommendations for the Obama Administration going forward.