Recent statements by one of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s top advisers on Israel are raising alarm that the Republican Party may weaken or abandon its long-standing support for a two-state peace solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The adviser, David Friedman, heads the American Friends of Bet El, a settlement located in the heart of the West Bank. In his latest pronouncement, made in an interview to CNN, Friedman said the Republican Party might be due to assert more support for Israeli settlements, and possibly reject altogether the idea of a two-state solution.
These statements are deeply irresponsible and we call on Mr. Trump and the Republican Party to disavow them – and to recommit itself to pursuing a just peace to this conflict based on two states for two peoples, which is the only way to secure Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish homeland. Republicans should also reject Mr. Friedman’s proposed embrace of illegal settlement activity, which every Republican president since the occupation began in 1967 has opposed. It would also be positive for the Republicans to acknowledge that Palestinians too have rights and needs that must be addressed.
If adopted, the revisions to the platform recommended by Trump’s adviser would break with over a half-century of bipartisan US consensus on the Middle East and how to resolve the conflict. This would turn Israel into a partisan football and place the GOP on the side of the Israeli settler movement, and in opposition to the majority of Israelis and American Jews.
The 2012 Republican platform supported Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders and envisioned “two democratic states… living in peace and security.”
We urge the Republican Party to stick to this language, knowing that any significant departure from it will be seized on by extremists in the region to pursue their anti-peace agendas at the expense of both US and Israeli interests.