An Even-handed U.S. Policy Harms Israel, Says AIPAC Head

AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr: When the U.S. is even-handed, 'Israel is automatically at a disadvantage,' because the diplomatic playing field is tilted toward the Palestinians and the Arabs.

The United States should not take an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because that puts Israel at a disadvantage, AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr told the organization's annual conference yesterday.

"Part of being an honest broker is being honest," he said, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama had clarified his remarks regarding a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders. "One party in this process is our ally, with whom we share values and strategic interests."

When the United States is even-handed, Kohr said, "Israel is automatically at a disadvantage," because the diplomatic playing field is tilted toward the Palestinians and the Arabs.

Though Kohr said there was "an opportunity" posed by the so-called Arab Spring, he presented the situation far more dramatically than Obama had.

"This is something that friends of Israel have dreamt of forever - for Israel to no longer be the only democracy in the region," he said. "Because as we know, democracies do not attack other democracies.

"But there are many forces, both external and internal, in every one of the Arab nations, that would want to see a different end to the story, who seek to defeat America and destroy Israel," he continued. "We should all celebrate the genuine green shoots of democracy in the Arab world, but we must never shrink from calling out and condemning anti-Semitic policy under the guise of popular will."

Kohr called on AIPAC activists to remind Congress that it has an obligation to do all it can to ensure that Egypt upholds the peace treaty with Israel.

"The security architecture that has existed for the last 30 years and that has allowed Israel to flourish may be in jeopardy - indeed, it may be crumbling," he said. "If Egypt walks away from 30 years of peace...the militaries of both the United States and Israel would have to consider how to counter a possible Egyptian threat."