AJC New England 2020 Candidate Survey: Question 7
Question 7: We are in the midst of another fraught moment in the ongoing struggle for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. Hamas continues to advocate for Israel’s destruction. The Palestinian Authority has refused negotiations for more than 5 years. And, in the absence of a credible peace process, the new Israeli coalition government has stated its desire to apply Israeli law to West Bank settlements (albeit, it appears now, within a much smaller territory than was proposed before the formation of the current government). For decades, a two-state solution has been a pillar of American foreign policy. Do you support a two-state solution to this conflict that will provide for a Palestinian and an Israeli state? What do you believe the role of the United States should be in resolving this conflict? As a member of Congress, what policies would you advocate for to advance your view of our nation’s role?
I believe that a two-state solution is the only long-term path to stability, peace, and a Jewish and democratic Israel. Our shared goal is peace. A permanent two-state end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the 1967 lines and security guarantees is the only way to guarantee a peaceful, prosperous, and stable future for Israel. That’s why I will oppose unilateral actions that obstruct the path toward two states on either side of the conflict, including demanding the Palestinian government abide by its international commitments by recognizing Israel and renouncing violence as a means of achieving its goals, while also opposing the potential Israeli settlement expansion activities on the West Bank that would make peace harder to achieve.
Ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to make the difficult choices to achieve peace, but leadership and encouragement from the United States will be indispensable to any successful peace plan. To that end, I support efforts like Barack Obama’s $38 billion dollar security aid package to Israel to ensure that Israel is always negotiating from a position of security and strength. I also support a plan to reduce aid to the Palestinian territories on a one-to-one basis as punishment for Palestinian acts of terror. At the same time, I do support substantial humanitarian aid to Palestine, and I support being explicit about the United States’ opposition to annexation. I believe that when these policies work together, the United States will set up the Israelis and Palestinians to work out the most productive and promising peace deal.
To ensure lasting peace and security for Israel, I support finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Finding this solution is essential to protecting a permanent home for Jewish people around the world and safeguarding the only liberal Democracy in the Middle East. The United States must return to its role as an honest broker that brings both sides to the negotiating table.
I do support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however it must be predicated on the fact that the Palestinian leadership must reject the advocacy of Israel's destruction. Without that, I do not see an authentic two-state solution at all. The United States should offer to be a third-party interest to help facilitate a peaceful two-state solution, but within our strategic interests that supports freedom, democracy, and free enterprise. I believe a strong Israel living in peace and harmony with a free Palestinian state is in the best interests of the United States, but there are contrary interests led by Iran and their surrogate terror organizations and other terror groups that share Iran's desire to destroy the nation of Israel. In Congress, I will support measures for a two-state solution of the conflict as long as Israel's security is assured. I will also support policies designed to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions and their quest for Israel's destruction.
My views are aligned with that of Vice President Biden. There is no substitute for a two-state solution, which would result in a Jewish and democratic Israel alongside a free and independent Palestine. And despite recent setbacks, I continue to support and have faith in this two-state solution. It is the only way to address the parties’ legitimate needs: from security and self-determination to health and economic flourishing. And ultimately, this simply won’t happen unless the parties come to the table and negotiate the parameters for a solution themselves.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s so-called “peace proposal” was issued without any consultation with the Palestinians or any concern for their legitimate needs. Consequently, it was dead on arrival. Likewise, the Trump Administration’s budget cuts to our diplomatic capabilities hampers our ability to lead in a meaningful way and help create the conditions that will allow a two-state solution to emerge.
Instead, our experience has taught us that the best way to create the conditions in which negotiations are possible and for a two-state solution to emerge is to be a reliable friend to both Israelis and Palestinians. So, for example, I don’t think we should be leveraging or conditioning aid to our allies. The Trump Administration has dramatically weakened our credibility in its willingness to tear up international agreements and hold up foreign assistance. We need our allies to be able to trust the United States, and know that even if we’re divided on important issues, we will still stand together.
Likewise, we can also help create the conditions that will allow for the emergence of a two-state solution by proactively investing in the folks on the ground who are working towards a peace and by resuming assistance to the Palestinian people. I will also work to restore and expand the funding for the State Department and USAID.
I’m honored that I’ve been endorsed by many preeminent leaders in the area of National Security and Foreign Policy, each of whom has stood strongly in support of Israel’s security while also advocating for a two-state solution. They include: Former National Security Advisory and UN Ambassador Susan Rice, Four Star General Stan McChrystal, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Former Undersecretary of Defense, Michele Flournoy, Senator Gary Hart, and Ambassador Daniel Benjamin. If elected, I will draw on them and others I know to strongly advocate for Israel’s security while also promoting a two state solution.
I support a two-state solution. As the leader of a center for health and human rights, I come at this from a human rights perspective and see that both sides have been harmed by this conflict. I am concerned about rising anti-Semitic views in the U.S. and how the Trump administration has needlessly sidelined and punished the Palestinians, who are a necessary partner in bringing about peace between Israel and Palestine. In Congress, I would advocate for diplomatic outreach to both the Israelis and Palestinians to move past the current status quo and cease hostilities.
I believe that the best approach to achieving long-term stability is a two-state solution: a secure, democratic, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, viable, peaceful Palestinian state. Such an outcome is a crucial American interest and the U.S. must play a central role in efforts moving forward.
As far off as a two-state reality seems at this moment, it remains a future worth fighting for. Alternative proposals unacceptably threaten either the Jewish or democratic nature of Israel. The United States and Congress must recommit to encouraging Israelis and Palestinians to take the small, difficult steps that will someday lead to peace. In the long-term, the United States should work to bring both parties back to the table, playing a facilitating role that recognizes their mutual need for peace, security, and self-determination. In the short term, the U.S. must use its influence to preserve the core elements of a two-state solution to be directly negotiated by the two parties, including borders based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed upon swaps, and a shared capital in Jerusalem for both states.
I do not think President Trump’s so-called “Peace Plan” will achieve peace. It is unacceptable that he acted without broad support from our allies and did not include key stakeholders in the framing of the plan. Furthermore, I am deeply disheartened by the Trump administration’s apparent encouragement of unilateral Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. These actions do not move us closer to a two-state solution but instead further increase tensions in the region.
Regarding inquiries 1-9, I plan to work with US Government Officials, Institutions and other subject matter experts to work towards addressing these important topics.
I strongly believe in a two-state solution, two states for two peoples, existing side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition. Israel deserves to live in peace, safely and securely, free from terror and incitement, in a state that is publicly recognized by the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors. Palestinian leaders must take action to end all forms of violence against Israel and its civilians and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
I strongly support the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
The Palestinians must also be permitted to realize their own national aspirations in an independent, demilitarized state, and determine the location of their own capital, once borders have been agreed upon and they become a sovereign member of the UN.
I also oppose unilateral action by any international entity that imposes final status solutions on either Palestine or Israel. The terms of lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot be imposed by any international entity because peace can only be achieved through diplomacy between the two people. I do believe however, that the United States has an important role to play in helping Israel and the Palestinian Authority achieve two states for two peoples.
Not only do the United States and Israel share common interests and values of democracy, freedom, and justice, but millions of families have loved ones living in both countries, becoming our neighbors, friends and colleagues in the United States and helping strengthen our communities. As a result of Israel’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, it is in the United States best health, economic, strategic and environmental interest to continue to encourage and promote joint US-Israel programs. Providing security assistance to Israel is also in the United States best security and economic interests. I would not place any additional conditions on US military assistance to Israel.
I also believe we need to fight for continued US aid to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and Jordan. These funds are critical to the Palestinian Authority’s state-building and security efforts in the West Bank. Without such aid to Egypt and Jordan, those countries might easily become weaker and fall prey to Iran’s terrorist proxies or other terrorist groups around the world, which in turn would put the United States’ national interests in jeopardy and threaten the very existence of Israel.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) is the leading organization dedicated to Jewish advocacy at home and around the world. Through a global network comprised of 24 domestic regional offices; 12 overseas posts in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East; and 37 partnerships with international Jewish communities, AJC engages with political, religious and civic leaders to combat antisemitism and bigotry, support Israel’s quest for peace and security, and advance democratic values at home and abroad.
AJC New England recently invited all 11 Republican and Democratic declared candidates for the Congressional seat from the 4th District of Massachusetts to participate in a survey on some matters of import to our community.
AJC is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan organization and does not endorse or support any candidate for elected office, whether or not they responded to the survey. We offer this survey to educate the electorate about the views of the candidates for this office.