tv Senator Chris Murphy Addresses J Street Conference CSPAN February 28, 2017 1:26am-3:11am EST
and marked a diplomatic achievements in a generation, successfully blocking iran from developing a nuclear weapon through diplomatic, not military means. we owe it largely to the leadership of leg slislators li chris murphy who i'm privilegeed to introduce today. senator murphy had been at the connecticut politics for decades before his election to the united states senate in 2012. the election brought him to national e tension and seat on the foreign relations committee. in a few years since he's taken the lead in promoting the approach to conflicts abroad. as the rankling member on the u.s. foreign relations committee, subcommittee on the year's, central asia and counterterrorism, senator murphy was one of the senate's most eloquent and informed advocates for the iran agreement.
during his robust speech, senator murphy invoked israel's negotiations with the palestinia palestinians. he quoted the enduring assertion, peace is never easy but history is almost always judges worthwhile. a year on with iran's nuclear program successfully defanged and an unprecedented inspection regime in place words prove entirely apt, senator murphy's support for human rights and preference for diplomacy has won him growing favor in a national growing constituency. i hope and i hope all of j street shares. is that senator more feast i
>> good morning. great to be here. the actual heart and soul of the american jewish community. [ cheers ] >> my name is thomas friedman, as we say in the new york times, no relation to david friedman. we have a great panel this morning. rob mali, former senior advisor to president obama in the middle east. michelle, former secretary of defense and former everything important on the middle east, okay, for several administrations. i want to begin by posing a question to all of you, what
strikes me about this moment as someone whose like the three of you followed this region and this conflict, most of my adult life, is i haven't been here before. haven't before to a time and place where israel was more free to be whatever it wanted to be. i can't imagine a time when the country surrounding it were weaker. when europe was more distracted, and when we had the administration in washington that either didn't care or wouldn't care about whatever israel does. martin, start with you and go down the panel. what do you think this means? do you expect to come out of this really unique situation for
the israeli government? >> not much. [ laughter ] >> thank you. michelle? [ laughter ] >> first of all, just want to say hi, everybody. it's great to see you here in such large numbers. i've had the honor of addressing j street conferences from inception and great to see how much it's grown over the last fau years. i could add a few other points to your late question. i mean, in terms of the strength of israel's economy, the strength of the military, the strength of its relationships with major powers, china in the
europe even though those are often under strain but well established. israel has never been stronger and more capable of taking for peace. and given me imperative of resolving its conflict with the palestinians for the sake. >> clearly, what better time when you have president of the united states and certainly congress will, too. so if not now, when? unfortunately and i say this
with great regret as somebody who strongly identifies and somebody who cares deeply about the fate of the jewish state and jaw wish people, something has gone very wrong and there is a deep simple state operating in israel today that will make sure that peace with the palestinians, if it involves giving up any territory west bank will happen and instead they see the opportunity to take advantage of this rise of populism and greater nationalism in the united states and around the world to advance their narrow nationalist agenda of annexation of the west bank and we know where that leads, blind freddy can tell you that that will lead to a by national state, not a jewish state and yet, they are determined to press on.
they have the prime minister of israel by the throat politically and there is a great danger in this environment, they will achieve objectives so i think that that really under scores the need to do everything we can to see clearly what the agenda is and call it every step of the way. >> martin, quick follow up, that is what does it mean to be ambassador to israel who will be prime minister? >> don't exaggerate the influence of the ambassador. he's going to be interested but
he's not going to be in washington. they could be in the white house. that's his channel, of course. but his influence of policy, when his job is to implement so i think we -- if we fix on the ambassador friedman instead of focussing on the policy constructed in the white house -- >> good point. >> we're looking at the wrong part, what's important is that not with standing and designated friedman boasting how he's going to move to jerusalem and that just under scores the point, why didn't it happen? issue in itself but i want to get into it but the point is that he clearly wanted to move
the embassy and clearly expected it would be moved but it didn't happen and i predicted boldly since very few of my predictions have came true. i think donald trump will not move the embassy to jerusalem short of an agreement between israelis and palestinians. >> is that because the prime minister of israel is not telling him to? >> the prime minister of israel would not dare to tell him not to for fear of the political consequences at home. he has to say, of course, we want the embassy running. no, it's because the -- it seems that the theory of the case that jared kusnyer has is that there's a way to achieve regional peace, to bring the sunni arabs to the intent of peace and that will somehow facilitate and lubricate the
deal and once he started down that road, he heard from the sunni arabs don't embarrass, they didn't want to create problems. if that is in factories, they will continue to delay. because that reason is not going to go away. >> michelle, you served in a senior pentagon position. you saw this from the security side. give us your take on what do you think will evolve out of this very unique moment when israel is home alone more than it's ever been in terms of diplomatic actions. >> when i was in the pentagon, i did spend a lot of time on the question how do we bolster israel security working particular on edge issues and so forth. i must say i am more worried now about israel's long-term
security than ever. i agree with martin that the idf is stronger today than its ever been and the u.s. commitment to israel's security is as rock solid as ever. but what disturbs me is that this administration has sort of cavalierly walked away from a u.s. commitment to supporting a two-state solution that every administration republican and democrat has held on to and has advocated for for decades, and the reason for that is as was referred to by the senator, the only way that we can ultimately secure peace for an israeli state that is both democratic and jewish is with a two-state solution and this administration seems to have sort of said well, we don't really care whatever
they decide, without really delving into the details of could a one-state solution ever be secure? and as was mentioned, every security professional on the israeli side or almost every, 90% plus say the answer is no. we as a think tank have done a lot of work on the question of could you secure a two-state solution bringing american and israeli military officers together to design what that would look like and i'll tell you, the only thing that can secure israel long-term is a two-state solution. the fact that we are -- that is somehow now in question, i find that more disturbing than anything i've seen in all of my years working on israel securityish shsecurity i security issues. >> i was going to bring up your work at the think tank. give us highlights of the security plan, if you could. what is it about -- why should we understand that there is a
w way? >> we wanted to demonstrate that question could be answered. it involves a multi layered security system where first and foremost, we give the israeli state the capacity to defend itself by itself to every extend possible. we also do serious capacity building work with a new palestinian state but very important is the role of the neighbors. so what role for jordan? securing the jordan valley and egypt and helping to secure the sinai, what role for the united states and the international community as guarantees of the enranchment. it's a very detailed report. it wasn't just a bunch of
americans. we had officials from israel being part of the design team. the report is now published. you can find it on the cns website. we're also using this to have a series of conversations, not only here but in israel with the jordans, egyptians and to try to build consensus around this approach. >> thank you. rob, when the trump transition team sat down with you all and said what can we learn from what you learned in the previous eight years, what did you say to them? >> what makes you think to conversation took place? >> you mean it didn't? >> what transition team? >> pick up the question. >> i want to start first because it's the first time speaking to j street since joining administration. real shoutout fighting for the jcpoa which senator murphy talked about. we had all of down behind that effort. we couldn't do it without you and it's a deal i think as we heard that in our view
tremendous good for the united states and for israel, prevented iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb and avoided a war, opened the door to multi lateral dim plom see a -- diplomacy. first of all, most 50 billion and second of all, it's their money. it's a deal where iran is using its money to present itself from having a nuclear bomb. if trump did art of the deal man, he should appreciate that outcome. thank all of you for everything you've done over the last several years. >> so i don't know how to answer your question, it wasn't much of a transition passing of the baton on the middle east. i don't really answer that. i could answer -- >> talk about this moment, though, what do you expect and what from an israeli government,
miss obama because bb used obama a lot to say to his cabinet at times u suspect i would do this except obama won't let me. >> i don't mind what president trump said for the following reason. let me ask a question, i believe in a two-state solution, how many of you think he would have achieved it? i don't see too many hands. we've -- martin and i and others tried under the clinton administration and president brush tried to achieve administration and didn't succeed. president obama and secretary kerry was committed as anyone i knew and known to reach a two-state solution and didn't succeed, either. it's time for the palestinians and many for israel to ask themselves an honest question as spartans said and not look to the u.s., either side look to the u.s. for salvation or
protection or cover. so the fact that that cover is removed, there is some benefit to it. there is an hon conversation that has to take place and israelis have to ask the question without the resolution of peace and the notion of american restraint that didn't restrain that much and ask themselves what future do we want, how will we secure our future as a democratic state and if it's not a two-state solution, what is it? [ applause ] >> is it too late for that conversation? is it just too late? >> i'm not sure what that means. >> even if they had -- >> exactly right -- >> if they had that conversation, are the settlers as martin referred to just too strong that basically, nothing can happen? >> i'm -- if i would reach that conclusion, i would be doing
something very different these days so maybe it's just for self-preservation, i'm not prepared to say what has been built through political decisions can't be unbuilt through political decisions. these are decisions. it's not an act of nature. it's going to be difficult and politics will be wrenching for any israeli prime minister but i don't know what the math formula is. it's out of political will and energy and courage on all sides, israeli, palestinian and ultimately, the u.s. and the rest of the world. i'm not a profit who knows what we've reached that tipping point. >> martin, i think it's dead. well, let's talk about that. i was going to ask you about the weather but if you think it's dead. [ laughter ] >> climate change. why do you say that? >> well, first of all, it's important to understand the holy land is a difference between
being dead and being dead and buried. [ laughter ] >> so dead doesn't mean it doesn't get re, look, i think w all at this point understand a number of realities the first is one i already described but the second is that doesn't produce a solution. the alternative to a two-state solution or one-state solution is one solution. they are recipes for continued conflict. it may be quiet now but it might be quiet forever. it's impossible to imagine that place between israel and palestinians will be achieved through anything other than
two-state solution but for the time being there is a way in which i can see that the two-state solution can be achieved. configuration and government and history and isn't even allowed to say the words when he coames to washington. but i'm also on the palestinian side. doesn't feel he has the mandate on palestinians that makes it impossible to move on his side and the notion now the sunni arabs real common interest that
they have with israel in combatting the ambition somehow to them being willing to in effect compromise being accused of, which they will be. there is no saudi or egyptian leader that will take that kind of risk. given all of those realities, with all the will in the world, donald trump, kusnyer will not achieve that two-state solution or one-state solution isn't achievable, either. what are we left with? the people that are pushing for a one-state solution. pushing against the two-state solution are the people that have bit in their teeth, particularly on the israeli side
and hamas and they are pushing it politically gaining strength in the west bank, consolidating control in gaza. so it's like the era of the triumphest now and that's where jay street and everybody else who cares about the future of israel and the palestinians needs to redouble your efforts, our efforts because in these circumstances, if the one staters are the on ones out there pushing, they will drive off the two-state solution for a long time and eventually it will explode. it is not -- in the short term it looks sustainable and so we have to watch out for that line that we always use that's not sustainable. it is sustainable. but in the long term it's not
sustainable and will explode and it will have -- i fear for the consequences for israel. so we must never give up on the effort to maintain belief in the two-state solution, even though today it doesn't look possible. >> if jared kusnyer were here, the president's son-in-law seemingly designated the next martin of this administration, what could you tell him? >> i'd start from here. i'd tell him, first of all, read tom friedman's book from beirut. >> thank you, thank you. [ applause ] >> by the way, i'm not just telling you that -- only to flatter you. because that's what i tell everybody who -- >> appreciate that, thank you. >> because just add one thing to the question, he does seem to think they rediscovered the
wheel, the idea that we'll have the arab states come in, i mean, those of us who know something about the saudi peace plan, i mean -- >> you were pretty excited about it. >> i was 20 years ago. [ laughter ] >> yeah, but why do i say read tom friedman from beirut to jerusal jerusalem. you unpacked for the naive am american solution who comes into the middle east bizarre believing that in the good old american way, every problem has a solution and so therefore, we'll just try a little bit different, outside in. >> that's right. >> bottom up. >> yeah. >> you know, and somehow because we have the will to do it, we'll find a solution that nobody else was able to find and what you explain in the book is that they are all just waiting for you out there. israelis and arab leaders alike.
>> have we got a carpet for you? >> exactly. [ laughter ] >> they are all very expert at selling shotty merchandise and dreams of peace and noble prizes to naive americans at twice the price and no peace in the end. i say that as a naive american who went through the experience is why i wrote my book called innocent abroad because that's what we are. we keep on doing it. every time. every administration because that's who we are. that's the great beauty of us as americans. we somehow believe it can be done. that's the first thing. don't be naive. don't be fooled by those who whisper ideas into your ear about how we can do it this way or do it that way. they just designing a rabbit hole for you to go down. and that's true of all of them. equal opportunity here.
they are all great at it. so secondly, do something which i think i actually give them credit for this, take your time to listen to everybody. they need to be talking more to the palestinians. jared kusnyer doesn't have exposure to the palestinians. he needs to -- his assistant in this, jason green is clearly going to have a role there. so i think that listening, taking their time to listen to get a sense of what actually can be done realistically before they decide what to do is really important. thirdly, they will get the structure right. they got it all mixed-up at the moment. this can't be done without the state department. pure and simple. cannot be done. >> interesting. and -- >> why not? >> well, first of all, jared kusnyer has a hell of a lot of
other things to do. he can't be the enjoy. it would be a terrible mistake. it would be his father in law setting him up for failure. i strongly recommend he not be the envoy if he gives it to donald trump's real estate lawyer, mr. greenburg, maybe that's the right thing to do. but he needs to be in the state department. >> interesting. >> the idea michelle can speak to this, that the white house is conducting its own diplomacy will lead to bad results in the end. and because this problem is so complicated, complicated, and especially if you try to bring the arab states into it involves such a time suck in terms of engagement and necessary engagement with them that the structure of it to sustain it in engage the is ment is going to important and then you have to see what will happen. i do think and this is something
michelle and i worked on with a group of other foreign policy experts, probably democratic to bring out the report on friday, but in the middle east, what we said, we developed this bipartisan strategy for the stru trump administration and said you need to spend some time rebuilding the relationships with the key sunni arab states and working with israel and them to deal with iran in a sophisticated way and out of that may come a better understanding of the way in which they can then help with the israeli palestinian dimension of the policy. but i think first things first, rebuild your relationships, establish an understanding of what is possible, and then see what can be done. >> you know, you remind me from beirut to jerusalem that central story there is when i was living
b beirut with my life we used to walk by a carpet store every day and they had this beautiful blue persian carpet in the window. and we admired it every day and one day we said let's just go in and see what it costs. we go in and the owner takes it out of the window. he lays it down on the floor, and he takes a high intensity lamp and puts it on top of it to examine the threads and just beautiful and we then said would you flip it over? and so we can see the threads on the back and he did and the second he did that, there was a power surge, which often happened in beirut and the high intensity lamp exploded and burning shards came down on the back of the carpet and without missing a beat, he said sometimes they are worth more this way. [ laughter ] >> i never forget -- that's the story i would tell jared
kusnyer. michelle, martin really set you up, i think for what for me is an important question and that is the iran question. that, you know, so far have been a lot of talk out of the administration but no action about either getting rid of the iran deal or adopting a more aggressive posture toward iran. what do you expect to happen out of them knowing the characters and we talked about mcmaster and tillerson and what do you think should happen vis-a-vis america, iran that would enhance the possibility as martin eluded to to actually advancing the israeli, palestinian process. >> the good news is the jpoa did take the nuclear question off the front burner with iran. the program is halted, if not
rolled back in some very important respects that rob -- or that were described before. at least for a decade or more. so what the focus is now is really on iran's other destabilizing activities in the region. it's support for proxy, use of the rgc cuts force, as to try to undermine regimes, to stoke civil wars and gain position whether it's in syria or iraq or yemen, and to gain power influence in the region and i think that concern is real. i think this administration right now is speaking loudly and carrying a small stick. we all know the right answer speaks softly in carrying a big stick but if they wanted to push back on iran harder, i think it would be the right course of action would be in quiet, intelligence and special
operations kind of activities between the united states and israel, the united states and other gulf partners and so forth. our experience has been with iran that when we actually put up some resistance to their behavior, not with a lot of public threats but hit a u.s. wall, they often back off. so we need to do that. we need to do it in a way that does not create so much tension and so much over -- you know, doesn't create a crisis that undermines the importantuclear . there are people inside administration like secretary mattias that like that. the question is will they be listened to? who will drive this train at a time when you really don't have an inner agency process and don't have a national security
counsel process that is leveraging the talent and experience you may have in your cabinet and departments to actually inform the decisions that are being made by the president. >> rob, can there be a successful and sustainable israeli palestinian peace process without a successful and sustainable sunni, shiite peace process? >> i think obviously one makes the other much more complicated and if i could say -- >> please. >> -- a little more about iran. three points. martin made the point about how we need to repair relations with the region and i'm not going to deny the obama administration had rough relationships. but this was not a matter of only maybe bad management in some cases, i would say it's mu mutual. there is a difference on the peace process with israel and a difference with israel on iran and the gulf arab neighbors on iran and not in favor. there are differences on the
wisdom of elections and allowing the muslim to govern and the role of democracy so the real difference is not going to be easy unless maybe the trump administration will put those to the side but it wasn't easy to keep those relationships in the state that they -- that one would have liked them to be given the substantive differences, which are real and part of the obama administration's approach is to clarify the relationships to clear the u.s. stands for deal with iran and stands for democracy in the region and two-state solution and doesn't want to get intervene in syria and if that creates problems, we have to manage the problems and not sacrifice the views that the administration had. that's point number one. point number two on iran, michelle just eluded to it, it's going to be very hard to crank up. i don't always understand when people say push back against iran. tell me, concretely what does that mean in iraq? does that mean in syria?
does that mean in yemen? does it mean reinstating sanctions that had been lifted under the jcpoa in which case some point the iranians may say what's in it for us? you are imposing because of grounds of regional activities. i think you can come to a point where the deal unravels. in terms of iran, the trump administration will face what i call a trump team's trilema. three objectives president trump during the campaign and elected said he wants for the middle east. crush isis, crush iran, but america first meaning keep our presence in the region to modest levels. my view region. you can to two of the three, if you want, i have my preference, you cannot have all three. you cannot simultaneously say the priority is to defeat isis. keep our presence on the mo des
and at the same time, iran has many ways to retaliating -- that's a real connumb drum. both in terms of whether the trump administration wants to preserve a deal and that means be careful how far you push. also this what i call try lem ma. it's not a menu where you can eat what you want. >> the obama administration chose crush isis and standstill with iran? >> with iran, the gamble was, i
would argue, it was well achieved. through the jcpoa through continued sanctions, through engagement, you can keep them in a place where it's management. iran has its own security situation. that was not part of the deal, if it were it would still be negotiated today. everything else would be worse. but that was the deal because the rest was not -- it wasn't that people didn't think it would be great if they didn't continue the program or other region activities, if you added that to the mix then the next would go on a decade or more. >> what do you say so the allies
when they say you have not taken the threats seriously. they are now the influencing power? >> first of all, this is not as if this happened all of a sudden. i think yemen is different case than good luck to nanyone who wants to govern there. i don't want it belittle their concern. we have to make a difference between understanding concern or buying into war or dismantle the deal. there's a line there. and i'm not sure the purpose of our allies was to keep iran in a
box. some had more aggressive agendas, that's why i think obama administration began. it didn't complete it. there needs to be a classification with our deali s dealings. no one knows the middle east better than we do. just an anecdote when i met a lebanese, and i was talking him about what happened if assad goes, he said he not going to go. don't think about it. he said okay let's assume you get what you want. assad is gone. things are better. who better at dealing with
chaos, you or us? we, is boll lar is better with dealing with confusion. we have to be clear about what is what's -- until we have that meeting of the mind between us and our allies, we're going to be at end with the -- i'm talk about the obama than the trump, it's going to be a gap. because what they want is different than what we want. >> martin, let's pick up on that. can we have a israeli/palestinian peace process without iran/u.s. peace process? as much as our i want to say more than anything, social security much as anything else. wouldn't the interesting radical
move for trump be to apply the art of the deal to the iranian's? >> that's a good question. there's a way that trump could approach this. let me say first of all, that understand from the perspective of iran, they see us coming always. they are smart. they understand the relationship between israeli conflict. and so if now it's israel and the sunni arabs are going to align against them and they are going to try to promote palestinian as part of this, they will make sure to start something in the israeli arena to prevent that from happening.
one of the consequences of all of this talk about regional peace is that the chances for conflict between is ba la, they will start it up one way or another. we have seen that so many times before. >> the minute we proceed down that track. >> yes. as you would be first -- >> yes. >> in terms of the art of the deal, here is the thing, he put his finger on it. if the iranians see that trump under the influence of benjamin netanyahu, then the iranians are going to get to the point where
they say hey, that's not the deal we made. it was sanctions relief for nuclear program not our nuclear program plus sanctions. so i think that's part of the calculations is by ratcheting up the sanctions, iranians will be the ones to walk out of the deal, not the united states. that could lead to bad consequences which i don't think president trump want. i think he like to be able to trash the deal, in terms of description, but to maintain the deal, because he has the stance, that it buys time. if he should have eight years, it's not go to face iran with nuclear weapons in the deal
holds. better i think, benefit to start to reach out quietly to the iranians and say the following, look, we can up the pressure on you with sanctions, but instead of doing that, let's talk about a deal in which we will remove our bilateral sanctions. that's what we're prepared to put on the table. here are the things we need from you. first of all, you have to back away interest exploiting sectarian in the region. secondly, you have to back away from your -- from your efforts to subvert israeli/palestinian negotiation, we need to talk to you about extending the deal. we want to talk about the subset
pro visions of the deal. to take the critiques of the deal, fix it by offering not to increase the sanctions, although it's out there, but rare to take the sanctions off. that gets to your part about how maybe, maybe, with a smart negotiator, you can get the iranians to the point where you want them to be not through confrontation but through negotiations. >> well said. [ applause ] >> there's a domestic parallel to that. you can make the point that if trump wanted to be successful, there's a mood out there, this administration reflects it, you saw it in brexit of what i call rip it, don't fix it. i use it a different word for the first part it starts with a
"f" that's the revolutionary mood out there. iran deal, rip it don't fix it. nafta, rip it, don't fix it. if they pursue it will have a negative implications. the interesting move would be to honor obamacare, you should called schumer to say you send three top negotiators, i'll send min mine. let them come up with a fix. i'll get more you would be okay. he would be at 70% of the polls instead of this. michele, martin notice i have 50 rules of reporting, one day i'll publish because they are
politically correct. the test is simple, it's one question. do you think that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. and if you say yes, you can serve in korea, japan, germany. but not in the middle east for the reasons that martin gave you. so take what martin's talking about, apply it to moscow and putin, this administration has this bizarre relationship with the russians, which we know nothing of, as you think about putin right now, ukraine, syria, influence on iran and iran deal. how do you look at u.s.-russian
relationship evolving? does the fact that we have all of these unanswered questions about trump's relationship with the russians, questions that go as deep as wondering whether they have compromising material on him, does it limit his ability going forward and what is implications of that might be? >> i do think that until we have a full independent investigation that gets to the bottom of russian interference of our political process and the role of people in the trump campaign and around the trump campaign there will be questions about any agreement that he negotiates on any topic when it comes to
the hill and to the american people for support potential radfication. the first step is we have to have independent investigation let it go where it goes and get to the bottom of this. when it comes to russian and the middle east, i think that putin has played a relevantly limited hand very, very well. he has wanted to reassert russian has a world power and one of the ways that he has done that is stepping into what he saw as a possibly vacuum in syria. he's done it without cost and put himself in a position of being a power broker in whatever negotiations occur to try to end the catastrophe. the thing i worry about is any
sort of trump/putin deal -- if trump goes into the negotiations thinking that the objective to lower tension, we'll get a bad deal. it would be nice to have a less tenuous relationship with russia, don't get me wrong. we have clear objectives in the u.s., and we have to protect it. israel has a stake in the kind of deal that comes out syrian negotiations. if it end up with iranian -- that is no the a good deal for israel. israel has to care about how this comes out. the other thing i would say is that it's very difficult to separate all of these issues. even with martin, what you were talking about, if trump wants to make subsustainly progress with
isis, you have to worry about iran. right now iran is pushing baghdad. as long as that approach of modernization continues, we'll have a hard time, even if you're successful in mosul, keeping it from coming back again and again. same is true with syria, you cannot solve the isis problem unless you get solution to the barter problem that doesn't marginize majority of the people. these are going to be connected. this is why i worry that a simp simplistic approach to the deal --
>> it's important. i want to get your take on that, both questions michele raise is, does trump's really odd and unknown relationship with the russians limit his capacity to do any major deal with them. and then does his -- i want to work with the russians to exka pate isis when iran did not go to syria to extra pate isis, is there any sort of u.s.-russian deal to be had? >> the answer to the question is paradox, yes, it does constrain the administration. it's notable after having spoke about how they want to work with russia on syria, nothing's
happened. u.s. has not sent delegate to russian's are sponsoring. they don't want to give validity to the untoward relationship with russia. it has to be a deal at some point. make no apology for that. the question is what the deal looks like. the problem right now within the four corners of syria itself, it's hard to see what the u.s. gives russia, that russia doesn't have. the question is whether you have to expand it to areas that i don't have. ukraine and others, which is dynamite, if i'm putin, what i
want is not syria related because i have it the way i like. yes, i want to cooperate more with u.s. on isis, but the real pay back, i think, it's european -- >> about cooperation with russia in syria, it's important to understand, rob can correct me, my sense is that russia is not fighting against isis. it's fighting against the i rab sunni arab opposition to assad. who is their client and their objective is to keep assad from
defeating isis. what they will get out of this any kind of partnership is the assurance that assad so there to stay. that means as long as that's the case, it kaecan't be a solution this arab because, they will not accept that. on the other hand, what happens in that deal who great ben fish year is not just assad but i reason. iran and -- that you were describing between yemen and iraq and syria and lebanon.
and so recognizing this, some in the trump administration said, well, the deal will be we will wing russia from iran in syria, good luck with that. there's any chance the russian will turn against iranians in syria us because they knee the consequences of that. for iran it's a poor interest. for anybody else it's good to have. but syria is critical to the iranians. if the russians would fuel the confrontation of there's a fundamental misconception here. what we need to be doing is weani weaning turkey away from russia. they want to play a more
assertive role and we need to assert our approach with them if we're to success in defeating isis. >> i want to jump back to you. should we declare the muslim brotherhood a terrorist organization? >> no. >> why not? >> it doesn't exist. there has to be prove the leadership is engaged in the way -- you cannot make the casech the brother brotherhood is they have ties to organizations here that do work that has nothing to do with terrorist. part of the reason why even though it was on the list, it hasn't happened, because some
have looked at it and said we can't do it. w where do you draw the line? . what do you do in countries like jordan why they have influential role. so that notion, is part of the misconceptions that have come up. but hopefully, the reason will prevail on that. it would be ongoing goal on muslim -- >> on all the of the issues of dealing with them, i'm remind probation department of my favorite quote interview with robe robert straws, a great
negotiator sent out to be the american negotiate. afterwards he gathered and he said mr. straws, what did you think of the west bank. he said i couldn't tell you. >> he said tell us what did you think. he said off the record. i don't know why one wouldn't want it and the other wouldn't just give it to him. i think of what secretary of defense or secretary of state, i want to close, is this not the worst time to be responsible for american foreign policy if somebody comes to you say i like you to be secretary of state, i
had my heart set on agriculture. you know what i mean. that the cold war was all about managing power. the post cold war is managing weakness. ours, our allies is hell on wheels. >> it's been managing the chaos around us in the world. what i would say is you know, i don't -- given our role, architecting the post world war ii order, incredible peace and prosperity in the number of regions in the world, given the pressure, this is what the report that martin and i participated in and is about, america has to lead.
we don't get choice to step back to say we don't have a an interest whether order surprise or whether adapted to deal with reality. to do that is to throw away an historical legacy but hope we're going to get a better future conducive to our interests, our values and ability to be a force in the world. >> i want michele to lead on this, but there's an international order out there that is now being threatened. it was already being challenged before donald trump came along. but donald trump has around him people who consider that this is a teardown not a renovation job.
to take your "f" world ask rework them into civilized language. so that is the challenge here. yes, it's difficult. it's always difficult. but the united states has huge ability to lead the world. there's still a great deal of desire for american leadership. when america whether the united states say we're going to put america first, he sends a signal to everybody first let's put our own interest first. particularly larger power like china and russia who want to do it any way. they look to us to put this international order, freedom, rule of law, and protection of smaller states against the stronger ones and promotion of
back and preserve the idea of two-state solution and the future of the democratic israel because it's important but who, but the jews, all of this have an interest of liberal international order with you need to pushback on that as well [ applause ] >> rob, you're batting clean up. >> basically, the question is is this worst time to be u.s. given what's happening in the world? is the question is is this worst world given what's happened to the u.s. >> let's thank the great panel. [ applause ]
political action committee. [ applause ] ambassador the key negotiator, a passionate supporter was schedule to join us today. unfortunately, we learn that he is unable to make the trip. but we're very, very grateful that his colleague ambassador another great friend of j street was able to step in and join us on short notice. ambassador -- [ applause ] the ambassador is chief representative of the general delegation of the pat stanian liberation organization to the united states. he dedicated his life to bringing about a two-state solution for israel and
palestine. let me say that again. a two-state solution for israel and for palestine. [ applause ] as a pro israel american jew, it is a high honor to introduce him today over the course of his career ambassador has served as a leading palestinian diplomat and negotiator, and representing the palestinian people around the world. last fall he joined speaking tour, a first of its kind between an american and palestinian leader speaking to packed house ask meeting with communes in seattle and san francisco, they helped showcase the value of open debate.
as they wrote together in the seattle times these discussions allows to recognize our humanity and interest they are vital if we're going to move forward toward an solution that both sides can claim. our main focus must be the future. ambassador knows firsthand that negotiating compromise and peacemaking are built on critical debate. that hasn't stopped some from political organizations are
outside the tent. ambassador, on behalf of j street cannot think of anything more appropriate for the pro israel pro peace movement than continuing to engage with us. that is why we are honored to have you here to speak with us. in the spirit of our shared commitment to peace, join me in giving a war welcome to the ambassador. [ applause ] >> thank you, very much. thank you, victor. good morning, to you'llall of y the it is an honor and pleasure to be here today. i'm filling in for --
unfortunately, he could monot me it to the conference. so it is an honor to speak at your 6th annual conferences. a few years ago not too many people thought you would last that long but here you are doing [ applause ] doing what you have to do which is to serve the cause of peace between palestinians and israeli in the middle east. i know how much criticism has been directed at j street for inviting pal lanian officials to
speak. my friend came on direct -- when we were on our tour in san francisco from source -- unusual course of criticism. the roll j trestreet is playing important. we do not agree as palestinian is everything j street is advocating. we do not agree with some of the narrative. there's a strong shared value and agreement between us. which is there's no way out for this conflict between palestinian and israelis but the two-state solution. this seems to be getting
difficult every day. unfortunately, the current policy are the policies of the israeli government is making things more difficult on the ground to realize that objective of two states palestine and israel living side by side. the government is acting with total impunity. defying international laws, and signed agreement, with the palestinians and also undermining the creation of the palestinian state that will put an end to the conflict and put an end to all historical claims. this is is something people tend to forget here, the president
has said that the agreement we are seeking with israel will not only end it but it will end all historical claims between the two people. this is very important for you to remember. [ applause ] this shows you that our objective of creating a palestinian state is not -- it is strategic objective. when we made compromise in 1988 to accept a creation of palestinian state in the west bank, the gaza strip, we accepted the creation of a state on 22% what used to be historic p palestine. that was compromise for us. we are still commitment today
that painful compromise. however we cannot compromise on the compromise. [ applause ] i enjoyed what the panelists or the guest who were here earlier, fine group of people, ambassador i met him first time in 1993, '94 when he worked to the clinton administration. on two occasions. and they both spoke about one state versus two states. now, if this current israeli government and the supporters do not want a two-state solution, what do they want? they want one state with equal
rights. fine. let's go for that. if this is what they want, we are willing to accept that as solution to the conflict. however, you know that this is not what they are exactly seeking to achieve. they are trying pro long the conflict to sustain the status quo and to continue building illegal settlement, continue to swallow more palestinian land and destroy any possibility for the establishment of a palestinian state. now, this is an outcome that neither you or us are working to achieve. and today despite all the
actions that israel is taking on the ground, we continue to be committed to a two-state lugs. what we are having is one state with two system. we have occupation, settlement enterprise and a population that does not have control over its life and is still under military occupation. we have to be careful because alternative to a two-state is not going to be favorable to either israeli or palestinian. that's why we share that with j street and commend you for your courage, the work you are doing, the work you are doing with congress, with the government to
continue to drive this message across and to continue to rally support for the two-state solution. through on the ground it's fading away. however, again, there's no other solution that will put an end to the conflict and allow both palestinians and israeli to develop their identity and to be good neighbors and to turn the page and open a new chapter in their lives. [ applause ] now, of course, we cannot ignore the recent changes that took place in this country, the new administration, the confusion about one state, two-state, back
to two-state, everybody is confused. it's going to be difficult to predict the course of action that this administration is going to take. however, as palestinians and we have not been approached yet by this new administration believe it or not, they have approached other countries in the region, they have sought the advice of others in the city about the future of the region, and they still are calculated or waiting for the right time to approach us. we have had indirect contacts with them through third parties. the highest level meeting that took place between us and the new administration was with the cia director visited the west
bank two weeks ago and met with president. however, we are ready to engage this administration. we are ready to engage this administration based on mutual respect international law, long-standing u.s. positions that do not condone on support settlement activities and does not turn their eyes away from any violations or action that israel takes to undermine the prospect of peace between palestinians and israeli. so the talk about transferring the embassy from tell veef to jerusalem, now jerusalem is a sensitive issue. jerusalem is important to i
rabs, muslim, christians, jews and israelis. we understands that. our vision is a city of peace. that will be opened to all the followers of the three religions. that all religions have the right to protect and preserve their holy site. this is our vision. not divided city where east jerusalem is totally different sector. what we envision jerusalem to be is the capitol of all capital for both israel and can palestinian. our vision is a peace co existence and tolerance.
we want to continue to promote. the united states cannot take unlateral action to undermine issue between palestinian and is israeli to be decided. neither west or east are recognized by any country in the world as being the capital of palestine or israel. we need to sit down palestinians and israeli in order to sort out this problem. any emotional edition to move the embassy from tell aviv to jerusalem is going to be repercussion and could complicate and undermine any future efforts to resolve conflicts between the palestinian and israel.
we have made our positions clear directionally and indirectly and i hope that this administration will be wise enough to understand how sensitive and delicate is the issue of jerusalem and leave it to the parties to reach a final agreement on the future of this city. you hear many talk about outside in, in side out. they spoke before about economy first, they spoke about security, they spoke about peace with the i rabs first, now we are hearing this once against. that they are trying to make peace with arab country and i
don't like the description of sunni countries. i'm sunni muslim. but i never really thought of myself as a sunni muslim unless recently when they starting talk -- i am a muslim and any attempt. i urge people not to further divide between among muslims by describing some to be shi ad and some to be sunni. it is time we stop that. if you look at arab countries, 22 countries, 20 of them are sunnis. iraq is not divided. the population is shy ad and sunni. lebanon is a different situation
of co existence hair the country. what is the purpose of describing them as being divided. i reject that. and can i urge everybody to be careful about this descriptions. we don't want more religious sectarian stride in our region. we've had enough. this is an issue that many may be in the administration think it could be done. let's bring the saudi, the gulf countries, and try to make them sense this danger with the country region power and hopefully, maybe israel can planning
manage to convince them to accept to peace with them first before they make peace with palestinians. this has been tried before. it didn't work. even if there's certain who want to do that in the region, it's not going to happen. it's going to be difficult to justify to other people in all these countries why their governments are making normizing peace with israel because palestine conflict is not resolved. insteading doing that, that push initiative that will enable israel to have peace with 22 arab countries about 57 arab countries and normalize relation and the muslim world at large.
this is best approach to resolve the conflict. now, i don't want to talk much, but i want to touch on the issue of anti-semitism and tell you all if you know that i'm a semite. so you have to understand, you have to understand i am a muslim semite. and we have we have to all work together to make sure that these big ots, do not success in this
country. we -- [ applause ] we know history. we know history very well. it's not a surprise when a mosque can attacked or to your knowledged -- tofrm. torched. it was not surprise to see them race $100,000 to repay damage to jewish cemetery. this is a fight that we would like to see our christians brothers in this country also join us. [ applause ] there's no -- there's no place, no room for bigotry and anti-semitism, islam phobia and
those exporting fear should not prevail and succesed. we want this country to be example of tolerance between different ethics, but i respect -- should not be only because he supports israel, it should be because it violents u.s. principles and values. it's not enough to say i'm doing this because i want to protect israel. i want to protect the existence of israel. it undermine the basic foundation that this country was built on [ applause ] so, guests and friends here, we
will continue to work with us. we will come under attacks. you will come uner attack. however, we do have a fundamental shared value to see an end of this conflict. we talk about your children and you talk about my children. i want palestinian children and israeli children to have a better future and a better life. ask we only can do that if we put an end to this perpetual conflict based on a two-state solution, palestine and israel, a viable sovereign, continues palestinian state that can live
side by side with israel with peace and security for both. because we need security. and this is not slogan. it's not a slogan. this is a very solid commitment on the part of palestinians, the plo, to continue to work with you to promote our joint message and to achieve our joint objectives. thank you, very much. [ applause ]