Monday, March 31, 2014

For the Record: They're Not 'Occupied'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized to Sheldon Adelson in a meeting Saturday for stepping on a fault line in Middle East politics during a speech he gave earlier in the day...Invoking a 2012 trip he and his family took to Israel, Christie recalled in the speech: “I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across and just felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand, the military risk that Israel faces every day.”

...his use of the term “occupied territories” set off murmurs in the crowd...the term is rejected by some conservative Zionists like Adelson who see it as validating Palestinian challenges over Israel’s presence. Other supporters of Israel oppose the use of the term as well.

Not long after his speech, Christie met with Adelson privately in the casino mogul’s office in the Venetian hotel and casino, which hosted the RJC meeting.  The source told POLITICO that Christie “clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.”...Christie made clear “that he misspoke when he referred to the ‘occupied territories.’...Adelson accepted Christie’s explanation, the source said.  ...Morton Klein, president of the hawkish Zionist Organization of America, had confronted Christie about his use of the term, telling POLITICO he explained to the New Jersey governor that “at minimum you should call it disputed territories.”

Christie was non-committal, said Klein, who concluded afterwards that the governor “either doesn’t understand the issue at all, or he’s hostile to Israel.”

And J Street snaps to attention:

in a craven attempt to win the blessing of right-wing gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is ready to throw aside 47 years of bipartisan US foreign policy: To suck up to Adelson and hopefully get his hands on some of his dollars, Christie is apologizing for using the term "occupied territories."

Tell Governor Chris Christie you stand with Israel and every US President since 1967: "Sheldon Adelson is wrong. Israel must end the occupation."
These hawkish heavyweights need to hear the truth: denying the occupation is an obstacle to peace, and fundamentally un-Presidential.
Sheldon Adelson will never listen to reason. But Chris Christie needs to hear that real support for Israel means ending the occupation and reaching a two-state solution. 
That's what we work for every day, and now--when talks are at a truly critical moment--it's that much more important for responsible voices to be heard.

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