Democratic Majority for Israel’s September 23, 2021 “Statement on the Two-State Solution Act” (H.R.5344) contains a number of outright falsehoods and misleading statements about the bill.
The statement falsely claims that the bill “blames Israel alone for the failure to achieve a two- state solution.” That is objectively untrue. Nowhere does the bill lay the blame for failure to achieve a two-state solution on either party. The bill expressly “discourage[s] steps by either party to the conflict that would put a peaceful end to the conflict further out of reach.” In several places, the bill addresses and takes steps to further protect Israel from incitement and terrorism.
Interestingly, DMFI’s statement then highlights Palestinian (but only Palestinian, not Israeli) rejection of proposals in previous decades’ negotiations, but fails to note that the Israeli government has under both its current and recent former Prime Minister rejected even holding talks toward a two-state solution, with PM Bennett even going so far as to boast after his first meeting with President Biden, “I am the only prime minister in three decades who told the president of the United States I am not going to hold peace talks with the Palestinians.”
DMFI’s statement also falsely claims that the bill “makes zero demands of the Palestinians.” Even a quick read of the bill shows this to be untrue. The bill explicitly highlights and proposes steps to address the Palestinian Authority’s “violations of human rights and civil liberties, official corruption, and poor governance” as well as Hamas’ poor governance and terrorism, including “fir[ing] rockets at Israeli population centers, resulting in deaths of civilians in Israel, as well as Palestinian civilians in Gaza.” It reaffirms the Taylor Force Act countering the prisoner’s payments program and the importance of the Palestinian government complying with its terms. It strengthens existing law concerning US relations with the Palestinians to combat incitement.
DMFI’s statement also misleadingly says the bill “calls for restrictions on U.S. support for Israel” – overbroad phrasing that is clearly intended to imply diminished support for the US-Israel relationship or the State of Israel itself. In reality, the bill clearly states in its purpose that it seeks to buttress the two-state solution because it “secures Israel’s future as a democratic state and a national home for the Jewish people.” The bill expressly reaffirms US policy “to continue to implement fully the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel signed in 2016 and to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces, including terrorism, and threats posed by actors in the region, such as Iran.”
What the bill does restrict are the permitted uses of US-supplied military equipment, including equipment bought with our security aid, so that it cannot be used in connection with actions that violate Palestinian human rights and put a two-state solution further out of reach. It is DMFI’s right to advocate in defense of acts of de facto annexation like demolitions of Palestinian homes and the forced displacement of Palestinian communities. In fact, it has done just that. Those are, however, actions which harm Israel’s security and ability to remain the democratic homeland of the Jewish people — while of course also violating Palestinian human rights. It’s such advocacy that, in providing cover for right-wing policies designed to undermine a two-state solution, erodes true US support for our ally and commitment to resolving the conflict.
Lastly, DMFI’s statement ends with a cherry-picked list of specific issues that it claims were not addressed in the bill. While these issues are important, in most cases the bill either does address them (e.g., as outlined above re: incitement) or addresses the larger issues they are a part of (e.g., terrorism, poor governance in the Palestinian territories). This litany of demands that the bill prescribe certain outcomes on final-status issues or use precise phrases isn’t meant to make US policy more effective — it’s meant to further buttress right-wing talking points and hinder the prospects for a two-state solution.
Those who want to break the destructive cycle of conflict that DMFI’s approach helps to perpetuate should lend their support to this historic bill introduced by some of the two-state solution’s staunchest Congressional champions. In doing so, they will be aligning with the true majority of not just Democrats, but all Americans.