Home International Sen. Mark Warner vs. J Street on UN Security Council Resolution

Sen. Mark Warner vs. J Street on UN Security Council Resolution


So, who do you agree with on this story (“The U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution demanding Israel cease Jewish settlement activity on Palestinian territory in a unanimous vote that passed when the United States abstained rather than using its veto as it has reliably done in the past.”)?

Your first option is Sen. Mark Warner.

I am dismayed that the Administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements. I continue to believe that a productive path toward peace requires direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Involvement at the UN, particularly via one-sided resolutions, is counterproductive to achieving a two-state solution.

Your second option is J Street, “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.”

Today’s UNSC resolution is consistent with longstanding bipartisan American policy, which includes opposing incitement, terror and settlement expansion. Join us in thanking President Obama for allowing the UNSC to pass an important resolution reaffirming the international community’s support for the two-state solution and strong opposition to settlement expansion.

I’m much more with J Street than I am with Sen. Warner on this one.  I also agree strongly with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who “have privately and publicly been warning Israel that the moribund prospects for peace were undermining Israel’s ability to remain both Jewish and democratic.” As for Sen. Warner’s comments that this “departed from decades of U.S. policy,” actually U.S. policy has been inconsistent on the settlements:

The U.S. position has fluctuated over time. In the Reagan years, the United States said the settlements were “not illegal.” The Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations avoided the legal arguments but criticized the settlements frequently. President George W. Bush called the larger settlement blocs “new realities on the ground” that would have to be reflected in peace negotiations.

More recently, the official U.S. attitude has been more critical. In 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling the settlements “illegal” but former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice then denounced “the folly and illegitimacy” of continued Israeli settlement activity. “The United States of America views all of the settlements as illegitimate,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in August 2013.

As for Sen. Warner’s comment that this was a “one-sided resolution,” in fact:

The resolution also condemned Palestinian incitement to violence and all acts of terrorism. Power said the United States would not have allowed its passage without that proviso. She also criticized the United Nations itself, saying it had perpetuated a double standard by repeatedly condemning Israeli actions while remaining silent about Palestinian incitement.

Finally, I’m not exactly sure what Sen. Warner means by “a productive path toward peace requires direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” but the fact is that the closest Israelis and Palestinians have ever come to peace has been a result of strong involvement by the U.S. (e.g., Bill Clinton’s peace summit at Camp David in 2000, Clinton’s involvement in the 1998 Wye River Memorandum, etc.).

P.S. Also see Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on the U.S. vote today. I am strongly with Rhodes’ reasoning here…

P.P.S. Also see President Reagan talking in 1982 about not supporting “annexation or permanent control” of the West Bank by Israel, supporting Palestinian self government in conjunction with Jordan, and supporting U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (exchange of occupied territories for peace).

  • Insane extremist/Trumpster EW Jackson does not disappoint


    • Chris Ambrose

      E.W. Jackson needs to get his facts straight. Every US President for the past half century has allowed UNSC resolutions that are critical of Israel to pass.

      • Yep. Mark Warner needs to get his facts straight as well.

        • Turbocohen

          With Obama’s “help” the UN passed a resolution erasing Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem. Only Muslim ties were acknowledged. Thank you democrats for stating loudly that you support this. I doubt most American jews will abandon your party over this.

          • Not what the resolution says at all. Read it here. In fact, it’s all very standard, nothing really new with regard to U.S. policy stretching back decades with regard to Israeli (illegal) settlements in the occupied West Bank. As for Jerusalem, the key phrase is: ” it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” Again, standard policy going back decades. Yawn.

          • American Jews should also tell the Israeli far-right – and the U.S. far right – where to shove it.

          • Now here’s an actual argument that makes sense for why we should have vetoed this.

            @Yair_Rosenberg Dec 23
            “For Hanukkah, Obama gave the Israeli right a UN resolution to demagogue against and rally support. Wonder what they’ll get him in return.”

          • Turbocohen

            They’ll get a republican majority apparently. The rust belt white working class that supported Obama has spoken.

          • Turbocohen

            This is political organizational cut throat. The President clearly has designs on the UN and the votes line up against Israeli’s..

  • Oldaggie

    Sad to see Warner and EWJackson on the same side. I’m with J St.

  • agrenadier

    As a Jew and a J Street supporter, I’m dismayed at Sen. Warner’s support of the resolution, and I let him know. This issue gets complicated, because of some people’s blind support of Israel without considering the damage the settlements pose to any peace deal. The extremists on this issue call us traitors, but they should be challenged to come up with a damned good reason why these settlements should exist in the first place. And they never can.

    • I’m not even sure Warner thinks about this stuff, just knee-jerk goes with whatever the “center” position is, which is a mindless approach to governance, but for whatever reason has helped make Warner highly popular.

      • agrenadier

        I think that’s exactly right; that’s why this blind moderation to the center is a problem (for the rest of us!)

        • The really crazy thing is that, for Warner, the “answer” is always the “center,” even if the “center” wildly shifts to the far right (as it has done). For instance, let’s say in 2000, Dems were “4” on a 1-10 scale (1 the most liberal, 10 the most conservative) and Republicans were a “6.” So, by Warner’s “reasoning,” the correct answer – the exact “center,” would have been “5.” Now, let’s say today the Dems are still a “4,” but Republicans are now a “9” or “10.” So the “center” is now approximately “7,” not “5” anymore, yet Warner would argue that this is still the “center” and therefore the correct answer? Other than being complete mindless, it shows zero understanding of how the “Overton Window” works. I wonder if Warner even knows what that is.

          • agrenadier

            True; centrism has never given us anything that we couldn’t live without; it’s a lack of commitment or consideration for what may be the smartest way to govern. Some things are just right; you don’t take a poll and end up in the center so as not to piss anyone off and you sure don’t win any prizes for not sticking your neck out. And if you look at how Virginia has been changing, the centrist position isn’t the most desirable one; it gets us nowhere, but keeps Warner out of trouble.

          • “but keeps Warner out of trouble.”

            Yep, and also keep him popular. The problem is, his centrist theory hasn’t led to him accomplishing much of anything in the Senate, nor has it led to him moderating Republicans at all, nor has it led to him winning more conservative areas of Virginia in 2014, nor has it…

          • agrenadier

            A pox on centrism! I’m kind of worried about our governor’s election coming up, speaking of centrists.

        • Turbocohen

          Im a [r]epublican and on this issue I stand with Mark Warner. If you want to abandon the political center thats fine with me.. But I am wondering why, if you would be kind enough to explain.

          • Oliver Willis nails it as usual: “@owillis 24m24 minutes ago
            conservatives pretending to care about israeli jews is always amusing/sad/weird”

          • Turbocohen

            As a dual citizen, an ‘Israeli’ Jew with full right of return, that is simply not true. I find way more US/Israel alliances coming from the evangelical christian community that anywhere else. Without evangelicals, Israel would be overthrown in short order.

          • “Without evangelicals, Israel would be overthrown in short order.”

            That’s absurd; Israel is very strong, would do just fine without fundamentalist Christian supporters.

          • Turbocohen

            Are you implying that Israel has no dependence on its relationships with the US?

          • Not even sure what you’re asking exactly, but again, what I said is that Israel would do fine without its fundamentalist Christian supporters. Obviously, Israel benefits (greatly) from a strong relationship with the U.S.

          • Turbocohen

            In the US, aside from the Christians who fervently stand by Israel, who else stands up in numbers to support Israel? This should not be a democrat vs republican issue and Im troubled that half of democrats stand with the majority of republicans when it comes to this last ditch effort on the part of the president to bolster his credentials among the UN body at the expense of peace in the only tolerant and peace loving democracy in the mideast where arabs have the same rights as gays and other minorities.

    • Turbocohen

      Who are the “extremists?

  • Beer Baron

    Amazingly, under international law, Judaism’s three holiest sites now belong to the Muslims!

    This resolution (which is three pages long) deals with much more than Jewish housing. Now when Jews pray at the Western Wall they are violating international law! I wonder why the author fails to mention that?

    Anyway, J (oke) is a fringe, far-left organization that has little, if any, actual support within the Jewish-American community.

    • Turbocohen

      J Street aka OccupyJews are the extreme American political left espousing an opinion that Israelis don’t know what’s good for them and their governing policies should be replaced by the judgment of liberals living in Americas capitol. They are free to make a mockery of the only free country with more rights than any other in the mid east but they don’t have the right to go unchallenged..

  • Turbocohen

    J Street is an association of self-loathing anti-Israel “Jews” who give aid and conform to antisemites across the world.

    • Well, we were having a relatively intelligent discussion there for a while…

      • Turbocohen

        As an admin for your blog discussing issues of importance to democrats I am miffed as to why there such a high degree of acceptance let alone accolades for J street in light of their open anti Israel activism. I have to suspend disbelief that jewish democrats would condone this and continue to support what for almost 20 years is my former party. I left your party over platform abortion issues, not anti Israel ideology. What am I missing here?

        • J Street is not anti-Israel. AIPAC, on the other hand, is doing great harm to Israel’s long-term interests…

          • Turbocohen

            They support trading land for peace. How will that work?

          • Right, which has been the policy of both Israel and the United States for decades. As for how it will work, we basically know the answer to that question. See here for more:

            The Taba Summit (also known as Taba Talks, Taba Conference or short Taba) were talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held from 21 to 27 January 2001 at Taba, in the Sinai. They were peace talks aimed at enhancing the “final status” negotiations, to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the statement issued by the negotiators at the end of the talks, they came closer to reaching a final settlement than in any previous peace talks. Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s government terminated the talks on 27 January 2001 due to the upcoming Israeli election, and the new Sharon government did not restart them.

  • Turbocohen

    Unless I am terribly mistaken the DNC convention rose in protest and struck the name of God from the platform, right? Moderate Democrats who practice judaism have joined with an overwhelming majority of mostly Christian Republicans who protest against common practices outside of Israeli borders which include beheading, amputation, stoning, honor killing, female genital mutilation, sex slaves (both male and female) hanging gays from cranes, throwing gays off of roof tops, banning women from driving or leaving home without a male family escort, punishing women for being raped, marrying pre-teen girls to men old enough to be their grandfathers, burning people alive.. I guess Mark Warner is not a good enough democrat any longer, Lowell?

    May I ask where you stand on a proposed anti BDS bill that prohibits state agencies from contracting with any company that is boycotting or disinvesting from Israel?

    • You’re mixing up a wide variety of totally unrelated stuff here. Again, this UN resolution was opposed to Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories as, among other problems, an obstacle to peace. That’s not really a controversial position (e.g., I’m pretty sure Reagan, Bush and Bush all agreed that expanded/increased # of settlements were, at the minimum, unhelpful), except among the far right, religious zealots, etc.

      • By the far-right’s standards, the most “anti-Israel” administrations in U.S. history have been (just based on UN Security Council resolutions.: 1) Reagan (R); 2) Nixon (R); 3) Carter (D); 4) HW Bush (R); 5) LBJ (D); 6) Duba (R); 7) Clinton (D); 8) Ford (R); 9) Obama (D)


        Also note that there were vicious disputes with Israel under Reagan (remember this??? how about this???). Also don’t forget Baker Rebukes Israel on Peace Terms during the HW Bush administration: “Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d today sternly criticized conditions for peace talks laid down by Israel’s new right-wing Government and said peace in the Middle East would be impossible if Israel stuck to this hard-line approach.”

        • Also check out these statements by Republican administrations:

          “The expropriation or confiscation of land, the construction of housing on such land, the demolition or confiscation of buildings, including those having historic or religious significance, and the application of Israeli law to occupied portions of the city are detrimental to our common interests in [Jerusalem]. The United States considers that the part of Jerusalem that came under the control of Israel in the June war, like other areas occupied by Israel, is governing the rights and obligations of an occupying Power. Among the provisions of international law which bind Israel, as they would bind any occupier, are the provisions that the occupier has no right to make changes in laws or in administration other than those which are temporarily necessitated by his security interests, and that an occupier may not confiscate or destroy private property. The pattern of behavior authorized under the Geneva Convention and international law is clear: the occupier must maintain the occupied area as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation.”
          Charles Yost, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, UN Security Council – July 1, 1969

          “Substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under the convention and cannot be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties on the locations of the borders of states by the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of these settlements is seen by my government as an obstacle to the success of the negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbors.”
          William Scranton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, UN Security Council – March 23, 1976

          “The Reagan Plan states that ‘the United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transition period (5 years after Palestinian election for a self-governing authority). Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlements freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be free and fairly negotiated.”
          Reagan Plan – September 1982

          “My position is that the foreign policy of the United States says we do not believe there should be new settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem. And I will conduct that policy as if it’s firm, which it is, and I will be shaped in whatever decisions we make to see whether people can comply with that policy. And that’s our strongly held view.”
          President George H.W. Bush, press conference – March 3, 1990

          “Since the end of the 1967 war, the U.S. has regarded Israel as the occupying power in the occupied territories, which includes the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The U.S. considers Israel’s occupation to be governed by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Conventions concerning the protection of civilian populations under military occupation.”
          Thomas Pickering, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – November 27, 1989

          “The United States believes that no party should take unilateral actions that seek to predetermine issues that can only be reached through negotiations. In this regard the United States has opposed, and will continue to oppose, settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 which remain an obstacle to peace.”
          U.S. Letter of Assurances to the Palestinians on the terms of the Madrid Peace Conference excerpts – October 24, 1991

          “Every time I have gone to Israel in connection with the peace process on each of my trips I have been met with the announcement of new settlement activity. This does violate United States policy. It is the first thing that Arabs–Arab governments—the first thing that Palestinians in the territories—whose situation is really quite desperate—the first thing they raise when we talk to them. I don’t think there is any greater obstacle to peace than settlement activity that continues not only unabated but at an advanced pace.”
          U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III – May 22, 1991

          “Israel must continue to work with Palestinian leaders to help improve the daily lives of Palestinians. At the same time, Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes its road map obligations, or prejudices the final status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem. This means that Israel must remove unauthorized posts and stop settlement expansion.”
          President George W. Bush speaking with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – October 20, 2005

          “Now, our position on settlement activity has not changed. We have said to the Israelis that they have obligations under the roadmap, they have obligations not to increase settlement activity.”
          Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Interview with LA Times – March 24, 2005

          “Settlement activity must stop. And it has not stopped to our satisfaction.”
          Secretary Colin Powell – September 21, 2003

          “Israel has got responsibilities. Israel must deal with the settlements. Israel must make sure there is a contiguous territory that the Palestinians can call home.”
          President George W. Bush – June 3, 2003

          “Our position on settlements, I think, has been very consistent, very clear. The secretary expressed it not too long ago. He said settlement activity has severely undermined Palestinian trust and hope, preempts and prejudges the outcome of negotiations, and in doing so, cripples chances for real peace and prosperity. The U.S. has long opposed settlement activity and, consistent with the report of the Mitchell Committee, settlement activity must stop.”
          Richard Boucher, U.S. Department of State – Daily Press Briefing – November 25, 2002

        • Turbocohen

          James “F the jews they wont vote for us anyway” Baker was one of many reasons I went full ugly on Jeb Bush when he announced his run for potus and Trump was smart enough to highlight that among jewish supporters (he has more than democrats will admit to). No excuses.

          As far as anti Israel, the worst was Carter, not Obama has taken the mantle. W Bush was and remains a stalwart ally and friend of a surprising number of liberal/moderate jews who support Trump solely because he wants to return the capital to Jerusalem, and not to spite Hillary.

          Has Soros phony JStreet ruse really gotten to you enough to buy all their lies? Why do you only see far right vs far left Ill never know but its fun to know the facts..


  • Video: Secretary of State Kerry lays out two-state vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace