by Anne Grant
In a May 19 press release, B’nai B’rith International reacted to President Obama’s speech on the same day regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.
First, B’nai B’rith expressed satisfaction with Obama’s continued promise of U.S. support for Israel. Obama noted an “unshakable” commitment to Israel’s security as well as identification of Israel as a Jewish state.
Concerning the expected declaration of Palestinian statehood to the United Nations in September, B’nai B’rith found Obama’s promised rejection of that declaration “encouraging”.
During his speech, Obama emphasized that the Palestinian party Hamas cannot participate in negotiations because of its continued call for Israel’s ruin as well as its refusal to recognize Israel.
Specifically, B’nai B’rith applauded Obama’s stipulation of a non-militarized Palestinian state.
While B’nai B’rith praised Obama for most of his speech, it expressed concern over Obama’s naming of pre-1967 borders as the lands of a future Palestinian state.
The organization stated, “Discussion about this difficult issue should be reserved for direct negotiations between the parties.”
Additionally, B’nai B’rith called attention to Obama’s mentioning of Arab but not Jewish refugees. B’nai B’rith then recalled the plight of one million Jewish refugees who have historically been expelled from Arab lands.