As the presidential election approaches and a spotlight is shined on America’s largest-ever foreign aid package to Israel, it is of the utmost importance that we ask ourselves as voters: What is America’s highest leadership, its future president and administration, going to do to ensure a sustainable and secure future for Israelis and Palestinians?
As student leaders of the pro-Israel, pro-peace J Street U Brandeis, we have been closely watching the candidates and evaluating their positions on Israel. Chief among those concerns, we believe, must be the United States’ longstanding commitment to pursue a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
This past August, the GOP dropped the two-state solution from its platform for the first time in its history. Current GOP candidate Donald Trump has also appointed two Trump-insider, Jewish lawyers David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt as his Israel advisors. Greenblatt is the vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, while Friedman is a bankruptcy expert of the famous Kasowitz Law Firm.
Friedman himself serves as a critical testament to Trump’s choice when it comes to advisory on what is arguably the single most contentious conflict in the world. In July, Friedman was featured in The Jerusalem Post questioning, “the viability of the effort [of the two-state solution]. ”
What we see before us is unprecedented: a Republican party that does not uplift a two-state-solution in word or deed. Failure to do so denies the freedom, dignity and security that Israelis and Palestinians so rightly deserve. Even more shocking, the Republican candidate has chosen as advisors two men with histories and strong ties to the settlement enterprise, a clear threat to Israel’s future as a democratic state and to the viability and contiguity of a Palestinian state.
Even further exemplary of this abandonment of the two-state solution is the Trump campaign’s recent scolding of the Obama Administration for taking a stance against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s video on the removal of settlers as an example of “ethnic cleansing.” Trump’s advisor, Friedman, expressed that the “State Department should be ashamed” for its criticism of an analogy that has been widely viewed as inappropriate.
Voters on our campus must ask themselves: If I want to see a Jewish and democratic future for the state of Israel and an independent Palestinian state, how will I ensure that happens? If your vote doesn’t speak, then our leaders never will. The stakes are clearer than they have ever been. We must cast our votes for Hillary to keep the two-state solution on the table. Then, we have to work our asses off to ensure that solution remains a possibility.