· Ron Klein, Chair of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), points out in an op-ed in Haaretz that “the current administration has been derelict in the long-standing American commitment to promote two states, the only feasible solution that will allow Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic for generations to come.” This was highlighted in February 2017 when Trump said, “I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like I can live with either one.”
· While in Israel, VP Pence will not be meeting with any leaders from the Palestinian Authority to discuss negotiations or the peace process. In fact, Arab-Israeli lawmakers protested his speech to the Knesset on January 22 and were removed from the chambers.
· Oliver Holmes of The Guardian reports that “Recent statements from the vice-president’s office have not even mentioned peace talks, saying instead that the trip will focus on security issues.”
· Former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas expressed his concern in Ynet News that VP Pence’s trip will be much ado about nothing. “It’s allegedly a diplomatic visit, part of a foreign policy. A visit which was planned and thought out, with carefully-considered goals and priorities. But only allegedly. It’s actually a ‘Seinfeld visit.’ A visit about nothing. A visit with no goals, with no required achievements, with no continuation in a chain of visits that are part of an organized policy. It’s just a visit. A nice one, but just a visit.”
Increasing Division Between Palestinians, Israelis and Americans
· The Trump administration’s Middle East policy has left Palestinians relations with the United States at a historic low. Joint Arab List chairman and lawmaker Ayman Odeh tweeted before VP Pence’s arrival that the Vice President “is a dangerous man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region. He comes here as the emissary of a man who is even more dangerous.”
· Max Fisher of the New York Times that VP Pence’s trip to Israel highlights how President Trump has taken the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one of the most contentious issues in American politics, and that “Mr. Trump, with his penchant for indulging his nationalist impulses and disregarding foreign policy doctrine, is a perfect vessel for carrying that culture war abroad, with potentially far-reaching consequences.”
Misguided Middle East Policy
· Shabtai Shavit, the former head of the Mossad and a member of the Commanders for Israel’s Security movement, wrote in Haaretz that the Trump administration’s Middle East policy “is an incoherent collection of unrelated decisions and whims. These are not based on a solid foundation of data, facts and assessments, which would make it possible to build a clear and comprehensive strategy with a good chance of bringing about its resolution.”
Damaging American Legitimacy
· As VP Pence prepared to arrive in Israel, former editor of the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Chronicle Jeff Barak wrote that Israel should be warry of “hitching Israel to Trump’s horse,” due to his unpopularity throughout the Western World. Barak states that are in danger of isolating themselves internationally by working too closely with the Trump administration.
· Orthodox Christian leaders in Israel canceled meetings with VP Pence during his trip, damaging the American narrative of religious freedoms and support for persecuted Christians in the Middle East