With peace talks between the Jewish State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority halted, the viewpoints between Israel and the United States have unfortunately never been further apart.
Israeli Prime Minister has made his position clear. “Israel cannot negotiate with the government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas while it is backed by Hamas," calling on President Abbas to tear up his pact with Hamas.
In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested Israel would become an apartheid state like South Africa if they did not negotiate for a two-state solution even with Hamas continuing to declare their charter to include the destruction of Israel even if they are given their own state.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks to his plane after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Netanyahu, before meeting with Kerry, said Friday that he "utterly rejects" the emerging nuclear deal between western powers and Iran, calling it a "bad deal" and promising that Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself. (Credit: AP)
Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, Canada, Egypt, and of course Israel, have fired more than 8,000 rockets into Israel. Over 3.5 million Israelis are currently living within the boundaries of these rocket attack capabilities. None of this was mentioned today by Secretary Kerry, nor by the president when he calls for the halt to settlement building in East Jerusalem, territory Israel won during the Six Day War in 1967 but desired by the Palestinians for their state.
This rhetoric makes me curious to look back to previous presidents to find out how they felt about the State of Israel and the Jewish people alike. Here are 18 (Jewish number for LIFE) quotes which transcend political parties that the current administration may want to draw inspiration from for future statements.
1. “Israel is a solid ally of the United States. We will rise to Israel’s defense, if need be. So this kind of menacing talk [by the President of Iran] is disturbing. It’s not only disturbing to the United States; it’s disturbing for other countries in the world, as well.”
Asked whether he meant the U.S. would rise to Israel’s defense militarily, Bush said: “You bet, we’ll defend Israel. My Administration will be steadfast in supporting Israel against terrorism and violence, and in seeking the peace for which all Israelis pray."
2. "Our two nations have a lot in common, when you think about it. We were both founded by immigrants escaping religious persecution in other lands. We both have built vibrant democracies. Both our countries are founded on certain basic beliefs, that there is an Almighty God who watches over the affairs of men and values every life. These ties have made us natural allies, and these ties will never be broken."
(AP Photo/Baz Ratner, Pool, File)
3. "Israel's democracy is the bedrock on which our relationship stands. It's a shining example for people around the world who are on the frontline of the struggle for democracy in their own lands. Our relationship is also based on our common interest in a more stable and peaceful Middle East, a Middle East that will finally accord Israel the recognition and acceptance that its people have yearned for so long and have been too long denied, a Middle East that will know greater democracy for all its peoples."
4. "America and Israel share a special bond. Our relations are unique among all nations. Like America, Israel is a strong democracy, as a symbol of freedom, and an oasis of liberty, a home to the oppressed and persecuted ... The relationship between our two countries is built on shared understandings and values. Our peoples continue to enjoy the fruits of our excellent economic and cultural cooperation as we prepare to enter the twenty-first century."
-President Bill Clinton (Remarks to Israeli Ambassador Shoval, Sept. 10, 1998)
5. "The friendship, the alliance between the United States and Israel is strong and solid -- built upon a foundation of shared democratic values, of shared history and heritage that sustain the moral life of our two countries. The emotional bond of our peoples goes -- it transcends politics. Our strategic cooperation -- and I renewed today our determination that that go forward -- is a source of mutual security. And the United States' commitment to the security of Israel remains unshakable."
6. "Israel exists; it has a right to exist in peace behind secure and defensible borders; and it has a right to demand of its neighbors that they recognize those facts. I have personally followed and supported Israel's heroic struggle for survival, ever since the founding of the State of Israel 34 years ago. In the pre-1967 borders Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel's population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again."
Palestinians hold Hamas flags during the funeral for Ahmed Abdel-Jawad in the Askar refugee camp in the West Bank on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Abdel-Jawad, a 19-year-old Hamas militant, was killed by the Israeli military in 2002 after storming a Jewish settlement and killing four Israelis. Israel has been returning the remains of dead Palestinian militants in recent days. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
7. "In Israel, free men and women are everyday demonstrating the power of courage and faith. Back in 1948 when Israel was founded, pundits claimed the new country could never survive. Today, no one questions that Israel is a land of stability and democracy in a region of tyranny and unrest ... America has never flinched from its commitment to the State of Israel--a commitment which remains unshakable."
8. "The United States ... has been proud of its association with the State of Israel. We shall continue to stand with Israel. We are committed to Israel's survival and security. The United States for a quarter of a century has had an excellent relationship with the State of Israel. We have cooperated in many, many fields -- in your security, in the well-being of the Middle East, and in leading what we all hope is a lasting peace throughout the world."
9. "Americans admire a people who can scratch a desert and produce a garden. The Israelis have shown qualities that Americans identify with: guts, patriotism, idealism, a passion for freedom. I have seen it. I know. I believe that."
10. "[The United States and Israel] share many common objectives with Israel ... chief of which is the building of a better world in which every nation can develop its resources and develop them in freedom and peace."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on October 1, 2013 in New York City. Over 120 prime ministers, presidents and monarchs are gathering for the annual meeting at the temporary General Assembly Hall at the U.N. headquarters while the General Assembly Building is closed for renovations. Credit: Getty Images
11. "Israel was not created in order to disappear—Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom."
12. "The teaching of their ancient belief is filled with truth for the present day. Its profound sense of justice, nation to nation, man to man, is an essential part of every religious and social order. The health of our society depends upon a deep and abiding respect for the basic commandments of the God of Israel."
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Statement on Jewish High Holy Days, Sept. 14, 1958)
13. "I am proud of my part in the creation of this new state. Our Government was the first to recognize the State of Israel."
14. "I know the whole world acknowledges the fine spirit shown by the British Government in accepting the mandate of the Palestine in order that there might under this protection be established a homeland so long desired by the Jews. Great progress has been made in this inspiring enterprise over these last ten years, and to this progress the American Jews have made enormous contribution. They have demonstrated not only the fine sentiment and ideals which inspire their activities but its political possibilities. I am confident out of these tragic events will come greater security and greater safeguards for the future, under which the steady rehabilitation of the Palestine as a true homeland will be even more assured"
]U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks duirng the American Jewish Community Global Forum at the Grand Hyatt Hotel June 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Secretary Kerry said he will decide at some point whether to return to Israel and the Palestinian territories to push for decisions on reviving stalled peace talks to end their decades-old conflict. Credit: Getty Images
15. "My sympathy with the deep and intense longing, finds such fine expression in the Jewish National Homeland in Palestine. The Jews themselves, of whom a considerable number were already scattered throughout the colonies, were true to the teachings of their prophets. The Jewish faith is predominantly the faith of liberty"
16. "It is impossible for one who has studied at all the services of the Hebrew people to avoid the faith that they will one day be restored to their historic national home and there enter on a new and yet greater phase of their contribution to the advance of humanity"
17. Not long after the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln met a Canadian Christian Zionist, Henry Wentworth Monk, who expressed hope that Jews who were suffering oppression in Russia and Turkey be emancipated “by restoring them to their national home.” Lincoln said this was “a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.”
18. "I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation."
-Portion of a Letter from President John Adams to Thomas Jefferson
Bradley Scott is a young American designer from New York City with a unique point of view on the world. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
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