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Friday, July 29, 2011

Summary of Alon Pinkas presentation at AAJLJ

Someone who was there sent me the following summary of Alon Pinkas' presentation to the AAJLJ on Thursday.
- Stephen Greenwald, AAJLJ president made a brief statement recognizing the controversial nature of the event and disclaiming that it represents the views of the AAJLJ - he then introduced the J Street rep to introduce Pinkas…

- Pinkas briefly discussed the J Street summer tour with the phrase, "J Street smartly brought people here…" (ok, at this point I'm just biding my time to aske a question)

- Pinkas claimed that he represents what 65-75% of Israelis believe - i.e, that a two-state solution is necessary for Israel's survival - which he cares very much about. He's honored to be part of this delegatioin since "we're on borrowed time." His whole basis for the need for a 2-state solution was demographics (he threw out numbers and claimed it was a foregoing conclusion that if there is not a Pal state in the near future, Israel will either have a Prime Minister named Mohammed or it will become an apartheid state). He must have used the word "urgency" at least 10 times - long-term the majority of Israelis want a peace process and short-term the status quo will be rocked come September. He admitted he doesn't like the idea of a Pal state, it has attributes of what will become a failed state but there's no other logical solution or arrangement. Israeli's problem is that they've become in love with the status quo - not being asked to pay the price for a peace process (yada, yada, yada). Oh, and even our president says this is unsustainable (so it must be true!)

- Obama has been just as friendly as his predecessor (finally some moans from the audience) - providing military hardware, intelligence sharing, continuing vetoes at the UN, pushing peace process. Oh, and he endorses more Israeli positions than Pal positions (backed up with nothing…) American administarion has set out principles saying nothing that was not endorsed by Clinton or Bush and going back to Johnson.

- claims that '67 lines are indefensible are "highly debatable." Israeli defended itself before with those lines in place. He recognized that the nature of the threat has changed but said it in a way to support the defensibility of the lines rather indefensibility.

- Bibi's mistake is claiming that he wants a 2-state sol'n when the Israeli gov't doesn't really want a 2-state sol'n and Bibi should just say so then. He respects Bibi for really not wanting to proceed with a peace process and mad that he's not coming out of the closet with this and continuing to pretend he does. But he blames the Israeli gov't for not offering an alternative. Gov't doesn't relfect public opinion on this. Israeli public opinion is to the left, not right. Majority believe there has to be a 2-state solution. Livni has 51% chance of being the next PM b/c she has a clear vision of what should be done. (I want to scream out at this point). Bibi only got 24% of the vote and found himself looking right and looking left and all the sudden he was PM! There will be a vote in 2012.

- Question time:

- 1st woman went on a bit long (which is really b/c Pinkas didn't say anything production and opened up too many cans of worms) and started to get shouted down but she was on our side and it started the tension in the room really rising

- 2nd guy asked some pointed questions and got direct answers (I believe he was the only one who did)

- I was next - tried to consolidate a lot of points and we had a heated exchange for a couple of minutes til Greenwald shut it down. I challenged him on the demographics (as the 1st woman did) and his response to me was the same - give me your stats, where are your stats, there are none. I approached it differently and explained to him that there have been demographic studies that dispute his conclusion through analyzing birth rates which he hadn't mentioned - he said, oh, you're referring to Ettinger and he's been spewing this stuff for years. I indicated that there were others that I'd be happy to forward to him and moved on b/c too much ground to cover (BTW - this is a great article: http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/72679/time-out/). I pointed out to him that discussions had been going on between the Israeli's and Pals until Obama came into office and shut them down with his position on building in the settlements and his most recent position on the '67 lines - both enabling the Pals to walk. He again disputed that O was any different than his predecessors, he got very condescending with me (Greenwald did not really allow too much back and forth and the J streeters were screaming to let him talk). When I pointed out that O basically threw away the plan set forth in the 2004 Bush letter, he said he didn't see a difference, I explained the difference, he wouldn't acknowledge it saying it was the same thing. I tried to get at why he and his colleagues were associating themselves with an anti-Israel organization such as J Street in order to undermine the policy of the democratically elected government of Israel (and the will of the majority of all Americans, not just American Jews) and pointed out that Bibi's numbers grew when he was last here in the states - he poo'd the numbers and made fun of that statement, the J streeters went crazy, Greenwald attacked me for claiming that J Street was anti-Israel and wanted the J Street rep to have an opportunity to defend the organization (to me, that was the most important bit of info from the day - that the President of the AAJLJ would defend J Street) - when I asked if he would let me speak and give the litany of items to support that claim including their association with BDS advocates which I got out but no one acknowledged, he refused - everyone's screaming over everyone, Pinkas chastised me for saying who is and who is not pro-Israel, Greenwald called on the next person.

- a few other questions from both sides but in particular, the guy 2 seats down from me who was steaming over my questions and began by suggesting that I should be dragged into court for slander (I just laughed and said to him that I clearly must have struck a nerve and was happy for that).

- Bottom line, he never ever explained his ideas on how he and his compatriots plan on achieving a two-state solution with defensible borders, recognition of Israel, no right of return, etc (I asked him about timing and why this was so urgent ahead of the UN vote and he indicated they weren't pushing for this before the vote but gave no further information on plans). No surprise there but like Obama, he's like a child who just wants it and will bully, lie, and distort his way into getting it (or at least getting a free tour of the US - one person asked why he wasn't giving this discussion to the Arabs in say, Ramallah, instead of to Jewish lawyers on 5th Ave. and he said he'd rather be shopping on 5th Ave.)

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At 1:46 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Alon Pinkas needs to explain his ideas of peace, not to gullible American Jews or to Israelis but to the Arabs.

I doubt the latter will buy them. I have not seen a single Israeli leftist ever convince the Arabs of the virtue of their peace policies!


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