This morning, The Community of Yes launched their campaign to pressure the White House and members of Congress to use American leadership and political leverage to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The coalition, which launched their website and their national ad campaign today, includes: Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Churches for Middle East Peace, the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Islamic Society of North America, Meretz USA, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and YesMEP.
A J Street press release reads:
The ad will kick off the “Community of Yes,” a multi-pronged national campaign that will rally thousands of Americans to raise their voices in support of urgent and immediate action necessary to both secure a Jewish, democratic Israel and ensure a stable Middle East. The campaign will counter the “Chorus of No,” politicians and other public figures who use fearmongering to prop up an untenable status quo and reject efforts to resolve the conflict.
The campaign attempts to contrast the large majority of American Jews and non-Jews who believe that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian would serve U.S. interests with “The Chorus of No”, politicians and media personalities who “feel no urgency to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
The campaign is off to a rough start. The launch coincided with the fawning remarks offered up by Obama for his guest, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, during their joint press conference at the White House Tuesday. He went out of his way to emphasize that there was virtually no light between the Israeli and U.S. positions on the blockade of Gaza, the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, and the necessity for Mahmoud Abbas to engage in direct talks with Netanyahu as soon as possible.
…[I]n terms of my relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I know the press, both in Israel and stateside, enjoys seeing if there’s news there. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve trusted Prime Minister Netanyahu since I met him before I was elected President, and have said so both publicly and privately.
I think that he is dealing with a very complex situation in a very tough neighborhood. And what I have consistently shared with him is my interest in working with him — not at cross-purposes — so that we can achieve the kind of peace that will ensure Israel’s security for decades to come.
Presumably this was the same person the Obama administration “trusted” in March when Biden, who was visiting the region to restart peace Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks, was ambushed by a surprise announcement of the approval for new Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.
Biden condemned the announcement as “precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now.”
The rest of the press conference and the joint-statement hit on the usual talking points, including: the unbreakable US-Israel bond; US security guarantees for Israel; and a repeat of the demand that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist.
(Netanyahu’s Likud party charter declares Israel’s right to build settlements in “Judea, Samaria and Azzah” and “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river”, but who was the White House to quibble over such double standards on a day dedicated to reaffirming the U.S.’s unconditional support of Israel?)
The type of behavior exhibited today by Obama, one would have to imagine, is what Gen. David Petraus was warning the Senate Armed Services Committee about when he said (PDF), “The [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.”
Let’s hope The Community of Yes is in this battle for the long haul. Today, it looked like The Chorus of No was in control.