Excerpts from Arab-American Institute
Speeches by Democratic Candidates for President
(October 17-19, 2003)
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.):
Several weeks ago, as many of you know, I had
a disagreement with one of the other candidates for the Democratic nomination,
Howard Dean, about something he said. He said that America should not
take sides between Israelis and Palestinians. In some sense it mirrored
something Ive always said myself, which is America surely can
be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. But I challenged him for this
reason because if we believe, as I do, that our foreign policy
is at its best when it is based first on our values and second on our
strategic interests, then America does have a special relationship with
Israel, based on its democratic values and political system, and our
strong strategic alliance.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio):
We must use our considerable influence with
Israel to ask Israel to stop building walls, ask Israel to tear down
the walls, ask Israel to not participate in the building of any new
settlements, because we have to recognize that in order to achieve peace
we must stop anything that smacks of isolation, or of creating conditions
which will make it that much more difficult to achieve a peaceful agreement.
Sen. John Kerry (Mass.):
No peace process will ever be successful unless
Israelis and Palestinians are committed to that process and willing
to take steps that each side finds difficult. Palestinian leaders must
bring an end to the violence against Israelis and find a way, with the
help of others, to rein in militant groups. Israel must be prepared
to meet its obligations, as outlined in the Bush administrations
road map, and in the Mitchell Plan, with respect to settlements.
The absence of movement on these two critical issues only serves to
convince each side that the other is not really serious about peace.
And I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the Israeli governments
decision to build a barrier off the Green Line, cutting
deeply into Palestinian areas. We do not need another barrier to peace.
Provocative and counterproductive measures only harm Israels security
over the long term, they increase hardships to the Palestinian people
and they make the process of negotiating an eventual settlement that
much harder. There is nothing to be gained in an endless cycle of violence
and reprisals that only point in a downward direction.
Gen. Wesley Clark was sick with flu and
had his speech read by proxy:
Israel is the key U.S. ally in the region and
it does have the right to defend itself, including going after terrorists.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean addressed
On terrorism: Eighty percent of the Palestinians
live below the poverty line, and every Israeli parent worries about
their child coming home.
On the security fence: Im concerned about
the course of the wall. I need to know more about it. Its a short
term measure of the difficulties the Israelis face in dealing with terror.
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun:
Certainly the Palestinian people have the right
to choose their own leadership, and to bring into the room whoever they
choose . . .
Theres no question but that the destiny
they have shared destinies, in regards to the region, in regards
to resources such as water, in regards to the economy, and so that shared
destiny ought to be able to provide the basis upon which there can be
some progress beyond what weve seen before.
When pressed on the security fence, Braun said: You
know, the United States can no more make Israel take down the wall than
it could make the Palestinians not send Yasser Arafat to the negotiations.
I mean, the fact of the matter is these are issues that have to be worked
out on the ground. I dont think theres anything we can do
to go in there and just force them to take it down. The wall is a provocation,
theres no question about it. It is a horrible idea, no question
about it. It really I dont think anybody has any doubts
about that. But, the question is, what as U.S. president can you do?
Well, you can use the bully pulpit to encourage the parties to come
together, to finally work out these issues, because certainly there
are enough needs on the ground, the people have needs, that these war-mongering,
and this continuing of throwing things at each other, I mean, provocations,
thats what I meant to say, the continuing provocations will not
Former Montana Gov. Mark Racicot, who chairs
the Bush re-election campaign:
The president has made it plain throughout the
course of his term that he is committed to the road map for peace in
the Middle East. He is committed to an independent Palestinian state,
and he has on more than one occasion spoken to the issues of violence
that have visited Palestinians and the people of Israel, throughout
a long and very difficult period of time. He is setting about to provide
the leadership needed and necessary, for people, individual people,
in that region to seize the moment, and the opportunity with assistance
from the international community to once and for all bring peace and
stability to that part of the world.
There is a firm commitment to the road map to
peace in the Middle East, in Israel, and in reference to all of the
issues confronting Israelis and Palestinians. In reference to the wall,
the president has said that the establishment of a wall is no way to
build a relationship that hopes for and seeks the opportunity for peace.
In addition to that particular issue, he has also commented upon the
needed, and necessary, and inescapable discussion that must surround
the settlement question all throughout the Palestinian region.