In a speech delivered in at a conference in Tel Aviv on January 18th, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro spoke the truths about Israeli policies and about U.S. concerns for Israel’s future.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has criticized Ambassador Shapiro for his comments. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has demanded that he recant them and apologize. A former aide to Netanyahu went so far as to use an offensive anti-Jewish slur against the Ambassador.
Ambassador Shapiro said: “We are concerned and perplexed by Israel’s strategy on settlements. This government and previous Israeli governments have repeatedly expressed their support for a negotiated two-state solution—a solution that would involve both mutual recognition and separation….But continued settlement growth raises honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.”
He also said: “…Israel must develop stronger, more credible responses to questions about the rule of law in the West Bank…too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities; too much vigilantism goes unchecked; and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”
And he said: “Hovering over all of these questions is the larger one about Israel’s political strategy vis-à-vis its conflict with the Palestinians. What is Israel’s plan for resolving the conflict? For remaining a Jewish and democratic state? And if it judges a political solution to be out of reach for the time being, then what is its plan for managing and stabilizing the conflict in the short and medium term?”
Sample Facebook and Twitter posts below (copy and paste, or write your own):
Thank you @AmbassadorDanShapiro for your January 18th speech. You spoke some hard truths to Israelis and their leaders – about the Israel government’s indefensible settlement policies, its failure to impose the rule of law on Israeli settlers, and its overall vision for the future. I doing so, you acted as a true friend of Israel.
Thank you @AmbassadorDanShapiro for your speech of January 18. Israel’s future – its security and its character as a Jewish state and a democracy – depends on it ending the occupation and achieving a peace agreement with the Palestinians that creates two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and with security. This Israeli government appears to have a very different vision for Israel’s future, prioritizing land over peace, settlements over security, and Greater Israel over Israeli democracy. I am proud that America’s ambassador to Israel is speaking out and challenging this dangerous approach.
Kudos @AmbassadorDanShapiro for your Jan 18 speech. You spoke the truth about this Israeli government’s pro-settlements, anti-peace policies – truth Israelis and their leaders need to hear. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and as someone who cares deeply about Israel, I am concerned that Netanyahu is driving Israel off a cliff.
Kudos to @AmbShapiro for speaking truth to power. Friends of Israel cannot stay silent as Bibi undermines any chance for peace, ever.
Thank you @AmbShapiro for your speech in Israel this week. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and Bibi is driving Israel off a cliff.
Thx @AmbShapiro for your speech in Israel. We must be unafraid to speak out against policies of either side that undermine chances of peace.
Minister Shaked wants @AmbShapiro to apologize for his speech. If she cares about justice or Israel, she should be THANKING him.