White House Chief of Staff: Israel's 50-year occupation must end


Speaking before J Street conference attendees in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough amplified President Obama’s policy rift with Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.
Responding to Netanyahu’s pre-election rejection of Palestinian statehood and subsequent attempts to walk back said rejection, McDonough had this to say:

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made,” McDonough told the J Street conference in Washington, whose left-leaning audience received his remarks enthusiastically.
“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he said. “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

The comments, notable among other things for the Obama administration’s explicit use of “occupation,” come on the heels of reports that the White House may abandon Israel at the U.N. as a way to save the two-state ideal.
Indeed, President Obama hinted that administration officials are considering such an option in an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, which clearly informed McDonough’s comments today in Washington:

President Barack Obama is operating under the assumption that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support the creation of a Palestinian state, despite the Israeli leader’s post-election efforts to recast himself as amenable to a two-state solution.
“We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”

Washington’s support for Israel’s foreign policy is clearly eroding in the wake of Netanyahu’s election victory. How far the Obama administration will go toward pressuring Israel to change course remains to be seen.
As an American Jew, I fully support the Obama administration using any peaceful policy necessary to force Israel to end it’s decades-old occupation, remove its settlements and seek a real, viable peace.


What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.
Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.

9 thoughts on “White House Chief of Staff: Israel's 50-year occupation must end

  1. Hey Dave, why didn’t you attend the JStreet conference? Not your kind of crowd, given JStreet’s opposition to BDS?

    • .
      I’m a parent and work. Otherwise, I would have loved to. Perhaps if I’m invited to speak in the future, I will attend, given my support for J Street.
      Thanks for playing.

  2. Wow, so you’d only attend if they gave you a platform to speak? That’s some impressive support for this organization.

    • .
      No, I’d attend if I had travel covered, since this teacher can’t afford to fly around the country on a whim.
      Thanks for playing as well.

  3. Why do you need to fly when it’s only a four hour drive or bus ride? I’m sure you could find people to carpool. Lots of people attend J Street on a limited budget. Sounds like you are making excuses.

  4. To me it’s just amazing how presumably intelligent people can get enmeshed in side issues, as did Safta, George and Elaine, when the main issue is staring them in the face.
    The main issue is NOT whether or not David attends a conference in Washington; the main issue is that Netanyahu’s clumsy actions and statements could generate a change in U.S. policy — something that seems to me to be all for the best, if it actually happens.

    • There are changes in policy and then there are other changes. JStreet seeks a sensible change and BDS does not. A formal endorsement of BDS, and making silly excuses for not attending JStreet, suggests an agenda different from anything the Administration would ever consider. It is more than reasonable to make note of this.

  5. Change or not, if the pressure keeps mounting on the president from the AIPAC -Bought politicians – without real changes with some balance , maybe it seems that Israel and the Jewish supporters ,will win the Battle( short sighted vision ), but lose the war in the long term vision, as things are uncovered day by day ,and people are getting tired of the deception and manipulation , so at the end, that will not be helping Israel nor the Jewish people at all!

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