Powerful Congressman Fears ‘Immense Toll’ of Occupation
Rep. Berman speaks mind to Americans for Peace Now
At an Americans for Peace Now event, Rep. Howard Berman (D-California), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had the following, unusually dovish thoughts (which we received via email from APN):
I made my first congressional trip to Israel in 1983. It was then that I began to discern the primary problem Israel would have to face if it maintains its rule over the West Bank and Gaza. Either it would eventually have to rule over a disenfranchised Palestinian majority, or if it enfranchises the Palestinians Israel would eventually cease to be Jewish. I call it the demography-democracy problem. I knew I wanted Israel as a Jewish homeland to be a democracy. That was 1983. Over the years, I discovered two things: first, I learned that there were indeed many Palestinians who were prepared to accept Israel and who genuinely believe in coexistence. Second, I discovered the immense toll the occupation is taking on Israel.
He went on to praise APN, which tends to the left on these sorts of matters, for its “firm commitment to peace.”
Here’s the thing: Berman is no peacenik. Last time we mentioned him, for example, he was pushing for tougher Iran sanctions; and you don’t attain his position of power, much less keep getting elected to his Hollywood district, if you are perceived as unduly harsh on Israel. What he utters represents, by definition, what is mainstream for America’s pro-Israel political leaders. Which is, apparently, that Israel’s current policy of occupation and disenfranchisement is unsustainable.
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