Americans for Peace Now Backs Kerry on Gaza Ceasefire

 Americans for Peace Now Backs Kerry on Gaza Ceasefire

Robert Naiman, Daily Kos, Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(Revised from a piece yesterday at Huffington Post to include the Americans for Peace Now alert and the page of pro-Kerry-diplomacy tweets that Just Foreign Policy put up.)

It was bad enough that Israel's government rejected Secretary of State John Kerry's proposal to end the violence in Gaza. Now Kerry has been subjected to withering criticism in Israelfor seriously trying to end the violence.

Americans for Peace Now came out with an alert yesterday strongly defending Kerry from the Israeli media attacks and strongly backing his efforts to bring about a ceasefire.

Of course the strong "pro-Israel" language of the APN alert will not appeal to everyone. (There's a pro- diplomacy for ceasefire alert without such "pro-Israel" language here.) For others, that "pro-Israel, pro-peace" language is exactly the language that they want to see, that will enable them to take action to engage. But the broader point is this: people who want to see the U.S. pursue a more pro-peace policy in the region need to speak up when the U.S. moves in that direction and gets attacked by the Netanyahu amen corner.  

We've seen this movie before. The Israeli government has thumbed its nose at the Obama Administration because it believed it could count on Congress, including Democrats, to undermine the Administration.

We know that this movie could have a different ending than the Obama Administration backing down under Israeli pressure. If enough Americans urged Kerry to continue to "stand tall", he would.

If that seems unrealistic to you, just think what's happened in the last few years on U.S. policy towards Iran. The people who are now demanding that the U.S. march in lockstep with Netanyahu on resolving the Gaza crisis are the same people who demanded that the U.S. march in lockstep with Netanyahu on the question of Iran's nuclear program. These people have failed so far in their efforts to blow up the U.S. - Iran negotiations because enough Democrats rallied behind the Administration to thwart the efforts of the Netanyahu amen corner to sabotage diplomacy.

If we could do this on U.S. policy towards Iran, why couldn't we do this with respect to ending the violence in Gaza and lifting the economic blockade?

In particular, Kerry has been slammed in Israel for including Turkey and Qatar in the negotiations. This is because including Turkey and Qatar in the negotiations is widely seen in Israel as signifying two things: 1) indirectly bringing Hamas to the table for negotiations to end the violence and 2) trying to lift the economic blockade of Gaza as part of an agreement.

Many of the times we've won on moving U.S. policy towards diplomacy with Iran in the last few years happened when we weighed in with Congress on the side of the Obama Administration when there was a split between the Administration and the Israeli government. That's what's happening now: a split between the Obama Administration and the Israeli government. We need to weigh in with Congress now. If we don't weigh in with Congress now, Netanyahu will think that he can pressure Kerry to abandon his efforts by turning to Congress to undermine Kerry.

Take action. The Americans for Peace Now alert is here. The Just Foreign Policy petition is here. Just Foreign Policy has a page of suggested tweets in defense of Kerry's diplomacy here.  Take the action that suits you. But don't remain silent.

If not now, when?

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.

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