American foreign policy Americans for Peace Now Arab American Institute Gaza Strip Israel

Groups tell Obama: “Persuade” Israel to lift the Gaza closure

Americans for Peace Now and J Street joined five other groups in a letter that urges Obama to “use America’s unique relationship with Israel to persuade it to lift the closure of its border crossing with Gaza now.” Bravo, folks!


Israel’s closure policies, rather than weakening Hamas as Israel had hoped, have helped Hamas tighten its authoritarian grip over Gaza and its economy. While many Gazans are unhappy with Hamas, there is no evidence that Gazans will overthrow Hamas to end their suffering. Instead, their anger is directed at Israel, the U.S., and the international community…

As for the alleged benefits to security from Israel’s closure policy, the opposite has proven true. As you said in your Cairo speech, “Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security.” In recent months, sporadic rocket fire into southern Israel has resumed. A generation of jobless Gazan youths – 70% of Gazans are under 30 – lacking any hope for the future, are ripe for further radicalization and violence. Already, more-extreme Al Qaeda-type elements are challenging Hamas, and Al Qaeda is effectively exploiting the plight of Gazans throughout the Arab and Muslim world. The prospect for renewed major violence is real.

In addition to Americans for Peace Now and J Street, the organizations were the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Arab American Institute, Churches for Middle East Peace, B’Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights.

18 thoughts on “Groups tell Obama: “Persuade” Israel to lift the Gaza closure

  1. That’s really an all star lineup. Lets go with this Dan. Say the erez crossing is opened. And a suicide bomber slips through. And I know that this really isn’t on your radar but some jews get killed. Shouldn’t you kill yourself in solidarity at that point. Serious question. Because if your not willing to take the repercussions of life and death security issues you should maybe shut up. And lets not call j-street or Apn pro-israel. They are not. They’re hamas and hezbollah mouthpieces.

  2. On a side not Witty, how happy would your boy Phil ( Hitler should have finished the job ) Weiss be if Bronner or his kid catches a bullet. It would be a happy time in the Weiss household. Not to mention Horowitz and his “partner”, and boy wasn’t that cute.

  3. Is the Gaza blockade aimed only at Gaza? I thought it was aimed at the West Bank as well: “You are ruled by Fatah. You are happy, not like those people under Hamas.”

    I think there are good arguments for and against the Gaza blockade. It should be viewed in a wider context than just Gaza, though.

  4. Bill P,
    I think it really bothers you that I insist that I am pro-Israel and that you, in fact, are not, doesn’t it? Would you keep the Erez crossing permanently closed? There used to be very good security measures there, monitored by both Israel and the PA. If security experts in Israel okayed new measures or used the old ones that worked, would you have the same problems?

    Anyway, you’re changing the subject. Closing off the Erez crossing completely was meant to punish Hamas. It wasn’t a security precaution per se.

  5. The reason it was closed is becasue the palestinians kept bombing it. Leaving aside the Shalit situation, remember him. The decision to open border crossings should lie entirely with the Israeli government in consulatation with the army. Not you, and especially not churches for middle east peace, or the quakers, or Weiss and his youful ward, Horowitz. ( Not that there is anthing wrong with it. )

  6. The way to be pro-Israel is to help Israel become the best that it can be.

    Its not the best now. Its scared, even when bold and assertive.

    And, the “success” of the way that those motivated to defend us attempt to do so, has harmed us.

    Better to review the assumptions that we carry, and find better ways to live. Palestinians and Arabs are Jews’ neighbors.

  7. Only lifting the blockade is not enough to end the danger of future confrontations, or the misery for the people in Gaza and southern Israel.

    For Hamas this is a win-win situation. With the blockade continuing, they can keep their hold on the population; if the blockade is relaxed or lifted, Hamas will claim it as their victory.

    What should be done is the UN taking over the control of Gaza for 5 or 10 years, the same way as done in Kosovo. Disarming the militia’s, which will allow Israel to end the blockade, and start the rebuilding.

    I have written some more about this solution on the last post of my webblog. You are welcome to read it on

  8. Perhaps if J Street would have stayed away from some of the issues it delved into last year, such as gratuitously defending the right of a play comparing Jews to Nazis (when nobody with any influence was suggesting that the play should be banned), or playing host (though not really or something) to Israel-hating bloggers at its conference, the compelling case it makes about the Gaza blockade would have more resonance in the American Jewish community and then the Administration. Alas, Mr. Ben-Ami went too far showing that J Street was different, and now its influence is minimized and confined to preaching to the converted.

    P.S. Dan’s book is the next non-fiction piece on mh reading list. I am genuinely interested in seeing whether J Street could have taken hints from some of Dan’s recommendations about overcoming the preeminance of a right or wrong approach to “pro-Israel” lobbying in this country. Am I the last “regular” who comments here who hasn’t read Dan’s book yet? I hope not! Worry not Dan, I’ll get there (but do I have to read MJ’s introduction?) 😉

  9. Here is an interesting exchange between MJ Rosenberg, who wrote an introduction to Dan’s book, and a critic over at TPMCafe

    More of what President Obama thinks of your rantings, Mr. Rosenberg:

    President Barack Obama defended Israel yesterday at his Florida town hall gathering. When an audience member asked a targeted, anti-Israel question, Obama rose to Israel’s defense and publicly supported Israel by saying:

    Israel is one of our strongest allies … It is a vibrant democracy. It shares links with us in all sorts of ways. It is critical for us and I will never waver from ensuring Israel’s security and helping them secure themselves in what is a very hostile region… So I make no apologies for that.

    Posted by bal4
    February 6, 2010 11:53 AM | Reply | Permalink


    MJ’s reply:

    Right, you know what he believes? Why? Because you attended the panderfest along with the other donors!
    I know what he thinks.
    I discussed Israel with him for about an hour.
    And he agreed with everything I said but asked me to understand the constraints on him placed by a certain lobby. I do.
    So be proud. You and your rich friends are literally holding America hostage.
    I mean, you really don’t believe that anyone with Obama’s background could actually agree with the Israel firsters of AIPAC.

    Posted by M.J. Rosenberg in reply to a comment from bal4

    I find this very revealing-MJ is telling us that his hero Obama tells the public untruths for political advantage and that they do not represent his real views and policies…in this case about Israel. So Obama is as “pro-Israel” as MJ is and, no doubt, as J-Street is.
    Very interesting. What other policies does Obama lie about?

  10. On the other hand, maybe Obama is lying to MJ and telling the truth to his audience. Or maybe he is lying to both…telling both what they want to hear. You never know with politicians. A politician is not what he SAYS, but what he DOES.

  11. Anybody who hung out with Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abumineh, And of course that noted man of the cloth, Jeremiah Wright. Was never going to be on Israel’s side in its battles with hamas, Islamic jihad, not to mention the soon to be Iranian bomb. It would be nice if Rosenberg took Israel’s side against people that would wipe out every Jew on earth and then sit down to a nice plate of hummus. But I guess it would take a guy like Samir Kuntar visiting his house to make him change his mind.

  12. BTW Witty, If your somebody takes a shot at Bronner on his speaking tour do you think your scumbag buddy would be complicit.

  13. Bill,
    The guys name is Abunimeh–if you are going to use these names to demonize someone at least get the names right. But this is typical of your “expertise” on anything related to the Middle East.

  14. Your style is so unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
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