A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Samantha Power in dialogue with Azar Nafisi (author of “Reading Lolita in Teheran”) at the NY Public Library. Power is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author on issues of genocide and international human rights. She was also an Obama foreign policy adviser until forced to resign by an unfortunate lapse quoted in a Scottish newspaper interview, characterizing Hillary Clinton as a “monster.” This faux pas is not characteristic of this thoughtful, brilliant and humane Harvard professor and activist.
It was a hopeful sign to me that Prof. Power indicated that finding a workable two-state solution for Israel and Palestine would be a high priority for an Obama administration. She also showed real knowledge and sensitivity to the Israeli need for security and even referred to the West Bank security barrier as a “fence” rather than “wall” (about 95 percent of it is, in fact, a fence). My hope is that the new president, whoever he or she may be, will resolutely pursue Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace.– R. Seliger
The following is from J. Zel Lurie’s March 11th column in the Jewish Journal of South Florida:
I have a suggestion to both Hillary and Obama. In your campaign speeches, talk abut bringing peace to Israel and Palestine, which only the United States can do.
Get a hold of the book “Negotiating Arab-Israel peace: American Leadership in the Middle East” by Daniel C. Kurtzer and Scott B. Lazensky, which will be unveiled next week in a ceremony at the United States Institute for Peace in Washington.
This slim book is the product of an 18-month study by a group of five professors under the auspices of the Peace Institute. It was led by Kurtzer, who is the former American Ambassador to both Egypt and Israel. Its main point is that, unlike George Bush, who spent eight years neglecting the matter, and Bill Clinton, who worked at it intensively only in the last few months of his reign, the next president must make peace in Jerusalem a priority in his/her inaugural address.
While Kurtzer has been advising Obama, Hillary is more apt to follow his advice in her campaign for nomination. She goes into detail and talks substance and solutions.
The book says that the next president must make clear that an Israeli-Palestinian settlement [i.e., peace agreement] is of vital national interest. The United States is NOT doing favors.
The next president must develop a just and fair policy, get the agreement of the parties and count on our envoys to see to it that the parties implement what they have agreed to. As we all know, the latter has been the chief failure of past agreements.
A special envoy might be needed, but the study found that with the president enunciating a fair and just policy, a special envoy could be superfluous. “Better a policy without an envoy than an envoy without a policy,” says Kurtzer.
If a special presidential envoy is needed, Hillary could not do better than to call Princeton University for Obama advisor Amb. Daniel Kurtzer.