|Left: Abdullah Gul, President of the Republic of Turkey. Right: David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee. Montage: Geopolitical Dynamics. The photos have been photo-processed.|
“Every U.S. President since Israel’s founding, from Harry Truman through Barack Obama, has reaffirmed the essence of the U.S.-Israel partnership – shared democratic values,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
“This is all the more true now when the Arab world is engulfed in turmoil.”
The AJC ad titled “The United States and Israel: An Enduring Partnership” features the photos and quotes of all 12 presidents who have served since Israel’s independence in 1948.
“Amidst uncertainty in the Middle East, Americans can always count on one reliable, democratic ally,” states the AJC ad.
Tension Between American Zionists and Turkey
An op-ed by Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, also featured in The New York Times, raises protests from the Zionist advocates.
Under the headline "Turkish President is Wrong on Mideast Turmoil" David Harris objects in an open letter-to-the-editor that Gul asserts that “the plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict” in the Middle East and North Africa.
Abdullah Gul stresses that whether the current upheaval leads to democracy or tyranny depends “on forging a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and a broader Israeli-Arab peace.”
I call upon the leaders of Israel to approach the peace process with a strategic mindset, rather than resorting to short-sighted tactical maneuvers. This will require seriously considering the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative, which proposed a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders and fully normalized diplomatic relations with Arab states.References to Palestine have been a frequent but also a frequently underreported aspect as a rallying point in Arab insurrections with Arabs feeling their conditions are symbolized in the Palestinian plight, but Harris objects to the comparison and the involvement of Israel as a primary cause for the Western sponsored dictatorships in the region:
In essence, he places the entire onus — and therefore the solution — for this vast region’s ills on Israel’s shoulders. That’s misguided.Harris points to "the endemic problems at the region’s core, which have been described in detail in the United Nations Arab Human Development Report".
The reports are based on studies of major benchmarks of development and democracy and published over four consecutive years points out freedom, gender and knowledge deficits, also stressing the importance of distrubution and penetration of IT and internet use.
"Those Problems Have Nothing to Do With Israel"
David Harris denies that the Israel-Palestine conflict is in any way connected to the Arab woes.
"With virtually no Arab democracies, a vast gender gap and glaring weaknesses in higher education and research, this region lags behind other developing areas. Those problems have nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with domestic conditions," Harris writes in his response to Gul.
Gul points out that the Western sponsored dictatorships are accused of not taking their people's wishes into account in their foreign policy as well as in domestic policies. He also points out that the demographic development in the region, favoring Arabs, and the current turn towards democracy, could put Israel in altogether greater danger over the years.
"...President Gul does the Palestinians no favor by placing responsibility for the peace process on Israel. It simply relieves them of any accountability for their own actions - from rejecting the Barak-Clinton two-state plan a decade ago to honoring terrorists, as occurred earlier this month with the murderer of 30 Jews at a Passover gathering in Netanya in 2002", Harris states.
The Palestinians were accused of foiling the Barak-Clinton partition plan, but it has later surfaced that Israel may have planned to reject the offer too over the dispute about Jerusalem, and leaked this to Palestinians, who in turn walked out on the negotiations.
"The international community wants the United States to act as an impartial and effective mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, just as it did a decade ago. Securing a lasting peace in the Middle East is the greatest favor Washington can do for Israel", says Abdullah Gul.
"Yes to a two-state Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Yes to a democratic Arab world. But not based on such a skewed analysis", says David Harris.