The new chair of the national Democratic party -- and prominent Jewish lawmaker -- is out with remarks praising President Obama's call for Israel's pre-1967 borders — adjusted by land exchanges — to be the basis of an independent Palestine, saying he has "demonstrated his stalwart dedication to the safety and security of our friend and ally, Israel."
Obama's remarks referencing 1967 touched off a storm of criticism --even among some Jewish Democrats -- but Wasserman Schultz -- who hadn't responded to them until Obama spoke today before a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group -- said they "reiterated long-standing American foreign policy.."
Obama at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference today said his remarks had been misrepresented by critics.
Wasserman Schultz said he had "presented a foundation for Israel’s security, completely and undeniably rejecting the notion that the Palestinians can unilaterally declare a state, as well as the notion that Israel should have to negotiate with the terrorist group Hamas, which flagrantly denies Israel’s right to exist.
"The President promised that the United States 'will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements.' Only after such principles are fulfilled could Israel be expected to negotiate through direct, bi-lateral talks with the Palestinians.
"The President reiterated long-standing American foreign policy that, should the Palestinians meet these criteria, negotiations be based on the 1967 lines incorporating mutually agreed upon land swaps that recognize both the current situation on the ground and the vital need to protect Israel’s security.
"Importantly, he pledged to redouble our efforts to derail Iran’s nefarious ambitions to nuclear power and he reaffirmed our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge and foreign aid, including the $205 million for the Iron Dome technology that has recently prevented missiles from entering Israel from Gaza.
"As a Jewish Member of Congress who cares deeply about preserving Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, I am proud that President Obama spoke forcefully about continuing the United States' strong and stalwart support of Israel."