In the Arena


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Let me get this straight: Dov Hikind is not only a U.S. citizen, but also a member of the New York state legislature…and he wants to buy property in an illegal Jewish settlement, in an East Jerusalem neighborhood that the U.S. government considers a disputed area where no additional construction should be taking place? Indeed, it is an area that would be the capital of Palestine, if and when we achieve a two-state solution.

This U.S. policy is not new. It has stood through Republican and Democratic Presidents since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967. There is a reason for that: the United States believes that it is in our national interests that the Israeli occupation end. Since the presidency of George W. Bush, the official policy has been that the occupation end with a two-state solution. Even before Bush, in the deal negotiated by Bill Clinton (and foolishly rejected by the Palestinians), and in every negotiation since, the assumption is that Jerusalem would be the capital of both Israel and Palestine. The continuing illegal construction of Jewish colonies in East Jerusalem makes such a deal less likely, if not impossible.

Therefore, Dov Hikind is acting against the best interests of the United States, as defined by Presidents of both parties over the past 40 years. He has, of course, every right to disagree and campaign against those policies. But I wonder, as an American citizen, what it means when he acts against our national interests, by seeking to buy property in a Palestinian area. Is that legal? Just barely, I’d guess. Is it patriotic? You make the call.

It may not rise to the level of an American doing business with North Korea or Iran, in contravention of sanctions. But Hikind is flaunting a warped form of Israelophilia, putting Israel first, that is not in the best interests of the United States, the country where he continues to live and prosper. (Add: And it’s not, in my opinion, as a lifetime supporter of the Jewish state, in Israel’s best long-term interests, either.)