Israel must leverage peace with Arab neighbors when speaking with US liberals
Ari Fleischer gives a unique take on the new peace
By NOA AMOUYAL
In order to meaningfully communicate with the liberal base of the Democratic party, Israel needs to capitalize on its newfound peace with gulf nations, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said.
Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush from 2001-2003, addressed the Knesset Caucus for Israel-American Jewry Relations, co-hosted by the Caucus’ Co-Chairs Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) and Member of Knesset Keren Barak (Likud) and the Ruderman Family Foundation last week.
"What is Israel's message to the United States' people?" Fleischer asked rhetorically. He said Israel doesn't have to worry about currying favor with Republicans since the majority are already staunchly pro-Israel.
"Your best messengers to the liberal base of the Democratic party are your new friendships and relationships with Bahrain, UAE, Sudan,"
However, Israel is becoming increasingly out of touch with the liberal base in the Democratic party. In order for them to best understand Israel's narrative, he suggested, Israel's should partner with their new Arab friends in order to convey that Israel is indeed a nation of peace.
"Your best messengers to the liberal base of the Democratic party are your new friendships and relationships with Bahrain, UAE, Sudan," he said. "The very fact that you have indeed now made peace with your Arab neighbors and are increasingly making peace - you always have - make those people your spokespeople."
He recommended Israel advocates embark on a speaking tour across the United States in college campuses and synagogues where Israel and members of these Arab nations would speak about Israel's role in the world.
"Don't just have an Israeli come and speak," he warned. "Have them come shoulder to shoulder with someone from the Arab world. The fact that you have an Israeli and an Arab standing side by side talking about Israel as a peaceful peace-loving nation, is your best way of dealing with those in the liberal community who think Israel is not interested in peace and that all they want to do is crush the legitimate hopes of the Palestinians. I don't think that liberal groups in America will listen to Israel. I do think they'd be more willing to listen to an Israeli and an Arab side by side telling a story."
Fleischer went onto say that the schism between Democrats and Israel is getting wider. Not because Democrats are anti-Israel, rather, that an increasing number of them would prefer for the US to remain neutral on Israel's issues in the Middle East. This split, he said, has largely stemmed from Israel's great success. The more successful Israel has become on the world stage, the less Democrats are willing to advocate for a country that is no longer perceived as an underdog.
"When Israel was perceived as the David and Arab nations the Goliath, almost all American Jews were powerful, strong supporters of Israel, there was no neutrality. But as Israel has grown stronger and many people - especially in the Democratic party- perceive Israel is turning into a Goliath and others are David, that's where the neutrality movement is coming from," he said.