Roskam Demands Kerry Reject Shapiro’s Israel Comments

Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s comments about Israel’s settlement activity and her abandonment of the democratic rule of law in the West Bank empower those who seek to deligitmize Israel, a senior Republican House Representative charged on Wednesday.

In a letter directed to Secretary of State John Kerry, Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, lambasted Shapiro’s “troublingly” questioning of Israel’s ‘long-term intentions’ and doubts of the seriousness of its desire to reach peace with the Palestinians as statement that would only “serve to empower those who wish to delegitimize and marginalize the Jewish state.”

“In fact,” Roskam added, “the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement consistently seizes on this exact type of rhetoric to advance its insidious campaign to destroy Israel.”

On Monday, during a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS] conference in Tel Aviv, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel suggested that “at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office sent out a statement saying that “the ambassador’s words, on a day when a mother of six is buried and a day when a pregnant woman is stabbed, are unacceptable and incorrect. Israel enforces the law against Israelis and against Palestinians. It is the Palestinian Authority who is responsible for the political deadlock and which continues to incite and refuses to negotiate.”

The State Department on Tuesday insisted that Shapiro was simply stating again “longstanding, public policy by the United States with respect to the violence that’s going on there, to the settlement activity which is going on there, and to what we believe needs to happen to get to a two-state solution.”

But according to Congressman Roskam, Shapiro’s comments only weakens the U.S.-Israeli relationship and adds fuel to the fire for those seeking to destroy Israel. “Now, more than ever, the United States must unequivocally stand with Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East,” Roskam wrote in the letter to Kerry. “Repeated public displays of disunity only serve to weaken our relationship, inhibit peace efforts, and incite further hatred. Ambassador Shapiro’s troubling remarks are counterproductive and wrong… Perpetuating falsities and placing undue and disproportionate blame on Israel for the stalled peace process is a harmful distraction from ongoing Palestinian terrorist attacks, which ultimately, make peace harder to achieve.”

Roskam encouraged Kerry “to reject these misguided comments and reaffirm out unbreakable support for Israel.”


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