Statement on Berman Resolution

December 15, 2010

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement in response to the Berman Resolution currently on the floor of the House:

“J Street opposes a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, but we regret that we cannot support the Berman resolution as drafted because it addresses only one issue standing in the way of peace.

J Street’s primary objective is to advance the long-term security of Israel and its survival as the democratic home of the Jewish people. We also promote a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is critical to the strategic interests of the United States in the region and around the world. We believe these goals are only advanced through a negotiated two-state solution, which is why we support strong American leadership to end the conflict and oppose any steps that make a negotiated resolution less likely. For that reason, we oppose, for instance, Israeli construction beyond the Green Line as well as efforts by the Palestinian Authority to achieve statehood unilaterally. These are not actions that advance the chances of peaceful resolution of the conflict.

We could support a resolution expressing opposition to a unilateral push for international recognition of Palestinian statehood, if it underscored the urgency of achieving a two-state resolution to the conflict, opposed unilateral actions by all sides including ongoing Israeli settlement construction and supported the Obama Administration in its efforts to achieve a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. Coming just one week after the collapse of direct negotiations, the Berman resolution could not be moving at a more sensitive time.

Unfortunately, rather than genuinely furthering the peace process toward a resolution, it continues a pattern in which overly one-sided resolutions are introduced and moved to the floor of the House without an adequate opportunity for debate, discussion and modification by the Members. Accordingly, J Street urges members of Congress to express their opposition to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in a manner that advances the cause of a two-state solution, and supports the decisions of members of Congress to refrain from voting in favor of the Berman resolution.

Regardless of how they vote, we urge members of Congress to make public statements of support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stressing the urgency of establishing the borders between Israel and the state-to-be of Palestine and for an assertive effort by the United States, in line with the Secretary of State’s speech on December 10, 2010, to address the core issues of the conflict.