• Election shows mandate on Israel
    December 28,2012
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    The saddest thing about Jules Rabin’s predictable criticism of Israel and the predictable angry replies is how little the Israel/Palestine conflict has changed over the years, as more lives are lost on both sides and Israel continues appropriating Palestinian land to expand its settlements.

    The only chance for peace in the Middle East remains a two-state, Israel/Palestine “solution,” which will require painful concessions on both sides and strong, sustained pressure from the United States, the sole foreign power with the necessary clout to facilitate progress.

    During the election campaign, Mitt Romney, with the connivance of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli right wing, pandered shamelessly to a supposed “Jewish vote” for unchecked Israeli militarism and expansionism.

    By cynically protesting love for Israel and falsely charging that President Obama has never been Israel’s friend, Romney hoped to steal the normally heavily Democratic Jewish vote. One alarming pre-election analysis showed that if Romney could reduce Obama’s lead among Cleveland area Jews by 20 percent, he would carry Ohio and win the election.

    But although Obama’s support among Jewish voters decreased slightly between 2008 and 2012, and although there is certainly widespread disappointment that the president has done little to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace, Romney still won only about 30 percent of the national Jewish vote.

    A large majority of candidates supported by J Street, a relatively new Jewish organization which advocates a peaceful two-state-solution in Israel/Palestine, were elected or re-elected to Congress.

    We believe the election results show that among Jews, as well as among Americans in general, Obama has a mandate to press hard and immediately for a settlement that will both provide security for Israel and lay the groundwork for a viable Palestinian state.

    MICHAEL and JUDY OLINICK

    Middlebury
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