Learn More about Independent Challenger Ralph Nader:
AICE does not rate or endorse any candidate for political office. This page is for informational purposes only.
Nader on CNN Crossfire
CARLSON: Now, Ralph Nader, you've made the point many
times that both parties kind of look alike.
And on one point, I think you're right. Both parties
see Israel as America's friend and sort of the anchor of American foreign
policy in the region. How do you think America ought to change its relationship
with Israel and to what extent is our friendship with Israel responsible
for the terrorism against
NADER: Don't confuse Israel with the military government
now on top of Israel.
CARLSON: I'm not confusing
CARLSON: I'm asking you the question.
NADER: Yes. The Israeli peace movement is the way to
go. They've been connecting with the Palestinian peace movement. They've
had two-state solutions. They've had various agreements. And there's
more freedom to discuss this issue inside Israel and the freedom of
the press and debate and discussion on all issues than there is in the
CARLSON: Do you think
NADER: Wait. Wait.
The United States government is interested in peace
between those two peoples. President Bush has already said he believes
in a viable Palestinian state and, of course, Israel's security. If
they really believe it, they would align themselves with the Israeli
peace movement, which draws on ex-military
CARLSON: I understand. Then, do you think this administration
or Clinton's administration failure to align themselves with Peace Now
and instead of the Sharon government is partly responsible for terrorism
NADER: It's not just Peace Now. It's much broader.
CARLSON: You understand the question.
CARLSON: Do you think American support for that government
is partly responsible?
NADER: I'm saying that the United States gives a lot
of aid to Israel, economic aid, military aid, has great sway with the
Israeli government. Over 50 percent of the Israeli people will go for
a two- state solution. In fact, it gets up higher than that when the
violence subsides on both sides.
And that's what we should do. If you want peace, you
support the peace movement in the country that you want the peace movement-the
peace accord to be started. (Source: Project
Vote Smart [Nader on CNN Crossfire], March 30, 2004)
Nader on U.S. Support for Israel
The third, of course, is that these people see that
our country is supporting the Israeli occupation of what's left of Palestinian
territory, and that support is coming in the form of military, financial
support. Israel now is as secure as it's ever likely to be, according
to the Johnson Institute for Strategic Studies, in that country. They
are a military powerhouse visà- vis their surrounding countries.
They're a technological, educational and an economic powerhouse, and
their need for security has been established, and they're backed by
the United States. The question is whether we can balance Palestinian
justice in order to develop a peaceful settlement in that region. And
the negotiations at Tabba last year came very, very close, but there
were forces on both sides that don't want it. And we can see the results.
And that is a constant television program on Al Jazeera television that
millions of people in the Islamic and Arab world see again and again
and again. (Project
Vote Smart, October 11, 2001)
Nader on Peace Process and the U.S. Relationship
with the Israelis and Palestinians
QUESTION: Mr. Nader, you haven't identified yourself
in as far as Arab-American in this campaign why some critics consider
you the pro-Palestinians. How do you address that?
NADER: Address what? The ethnic issue.
QUESTION: Yes, they consider you as a pro-Palestinian.
NADER: Oh, well, I'm pro-peace between the Israelis
and the Palestinians. And if you're pro-peace, you have to recognize
that you can't take sides in a negotiated peace process, you have to
respect both sides: Israeli security and full justice for the Palestinians.
NADER: As I've said on other occasions, you cannot
be a friend of the Israelis without being a friend of the Palestinians
in this negotiated conflict, and you can't be friends of the Palestinians
without being friends of the Israelis.
And they're as close as they've ever been to a negotiated
peace in the last 50 years, and everybody hopes that they will accomplish
that negotiated and just peace, and then maybe a few years from now
both parties will wonder what took them so long. (Project
Vote Smart, November 6, 2000)
Nader on the Peace Process
Third, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they're
as close together as they've ever been in 50 years on issues such as
statehood for the Palestinians, some presence in Jerusalem, some right
of return of Palestinian refugees. And yet, in an election year, some
politicians in this country do not demonstrate a cool, committed head
for peace. They are taking sides. If the United States is going to be
an honest broker between the Israelis and Palestinians in this critical
time, with the violence flaring, with most of the casualties being Palestinians
in Palestinian territory, between Palestinian youths throwing ancient
rocks against modern Israeli armorif we're going to be an honest
broker, we cannot take sides.
And that means that if we're going to be friends of
Israelis, we've got to be friends of Palestinians. And if we're going
to be friends of Palestinians, we have to be friends of Israelis. And
if Israel's security is maintained, and it's as secure, according to
the Jaffe Institute in Israel, as it's ever been in its lifetimeoverwhelming
military superiorityif Israel's security is going to be retained,
Palestinian justice has to be institutionalized.
That's the basic approach. President Clinton, in some
ways in recent years, has tried to do that, but with Al Gore, who has
a disquieting animus toward the peoples of the Arab world, and towards
Palestinians, is going to be a poor follower of Bill Clinton in the
You all saw the debates, and you saw Al Gore being
asked about this question, and you saw Al Gore say that the Syrian-controlled
militias should return the three captured Israeli soldiers, but he somehow
couldn't find a few words to the Palestinian children and youngsters
who were destroyed by Israeli armaments for protesting, with rocks,
inside Palestinian territory. That is a very important signal as to
the year-long career of Al Gore and being anti-Arab. And he ought to
be brought to account here.
He will never be an honest broker if he takes sides.
And the perilous state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process hangs
in the balance. They must be brought back to the peace table so they
can negotiate a peace; they have to live together. And after they negotiate
a peace, with the peace forces on both sidesin Israel, such as
Peace Now, and in the Palestinian territoriesafter they get together
and they have a just and secure peace, maybe in a few years both sides
will wonder what took them so long. (Project
Vote Smart, October 30, 2000)
Nader Immediately Prior to Camp David Summit
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Joining
us now from Washington is Ralph Nader.
Good to have you on LATE EDITION. Thanks for joining
And I want to begin with the Middle East. You just
heard a lengthy discussion on the prospects at Camp David this week.
Was this a good idea for President Clinton to convene the Israeli and
Palestinian leaders and try to roll the dice and get a peace agreement?
NADER: Oh yes, a very good idea.
BLITZER: If you were the president, you would have
done the same?
BLITZER: And what about the possibility that a collapse
could so dash hopes that there would be intifada, there could be violence,
there could be a war, another war in the Middle East?
NADER: Well, let's not prejudge the outcome of this
latest negotiating process. It seems that there is a marker here. President
Clinton has said this is really his last opportunity to provide a mediating
role, and let's have an optimistic viewpoint on it. (Project
Vote Smart, July 9, 2000)
Nader Interview with Pat Buchanan
PAT BUCHANAN: Let me start off with foreign policy
— Iraq and the Middle East. You have seen the polls indicating
widespread contempt for the United States abroad. Why do they hate us?
NADER: ...we are supporting the Israeli military regime
with billions of dollars and ignoring both the Israeli peace movement,
which is very substantial, and the Palestinian peace movement. They
see a nuclear-armed Israel that could wipe out the Middle East in a
weekend if it wanted to.
NADER: Then you would say it is not only Bush who is
at fault, but Clinton and Bush and Reagan, all the way back?
NADER: The subservience of our congressional and White
House puppets to Israeli military policy has been consistent. Until
’91, any dictator who was anti-Communist was our ally.
BUCHANAN: Why do both sets of puppets [Congress and
the White House], support the Sharon/Likud policies in the Middle East
rather than the peace movement candidates and leaders in Israel?
NADER: That is a good question because the peace movement
is broad indeed. They just put 120,000 people in a square in Tel Aviv.
They are composed of former government ministers, existing and former
members of the Knesset, former generals, former combat veterans, former
heads of internal security, people from all backgrounds. It is not any
The answer to your question is that instead of focusing
on how to bring a peaceful settlement, both parties concede their independent
judgment to the pro-Israeli lobbies in this country because they perceive
them as determining the margin in some state elections and as sources
of funding. They don’t appear to agree with Tom Friedman, who
wrote that memorable phrase, “Ariel Sharon has Arafat under house
arrest in Ramallah and Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office.”
Virtually no member of Congress can say that, and so
we come to this paradoxical conclusion that there is far more freedom
in Israel to discuss this than there is in the United States, which
is providing billions of dollars in economic and military assistance. (The
American Conservative, June 21, 2004)
Israel As Puppeteer
The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to
the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then
proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets,
should be replaced. (Washington Post, August 13, 2004)
Nader On The Conflict
How nice to hear your views. Years ago, fresh out of
law school, I was reading your clear writings against bigotry and discrimination.
Your charter has always been to advance civil liberties and free speech
in our country by and for all ethnic and religious groups. These days
all freedom-loving people have much work to do.
As you know there is far more freedom in the media,
in town squares and among citizens, soldiers, elected representatives
and academicians in Israel to debate and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict than there is in the United States. Israelis of all backgrounds
have made this point.
Do you agree and if so, what is your explanation for
such a difference?
About half of the Israeli people over the years have
disagreed with the present Israeli government’s policies toward
the Palestinian people. Included in this number is the broad and deep
Israeli peace movement which mobilized about 120,000 people in a Tel
Aviv square recently.
Do you agree with their policies and strategy for a
peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians? Or do you agree
with the House Resolution 460 in Congress signed by 407 members of the
House to support the Prime Minister’s proposal? See attachment
re the omission of any reference to a viable Palestinian state –
generally considered by both Israelis and Palestinians, including those
who have worked out accords together, to be a sine qua non for a settlement
of this resolvable conflict – a point supported by over two-thirds
of Americans of the Jewish faith. Would such a reasonable resolution
ever pass the Congress? For more information on the growing pro-peace
movements among the American Jewish Community see: Ester Kaplan, “The
Jewish Divide on Israel,” The Nation, June 24, 2004.
Enclosed is the “Courage to Refuse – Combatant’s
Letter” signed by hundreds of reserve combat officials and soldiers
of the Israeli Defense Forces. It is posted on their web at: www.seruv.org.il/defaulteng.asp
. One highlight of their statement needs careful consideration: “We
shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate,
expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that
we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission
that serves Israel’s defense. The missions of occupation and oppression
do not serve this purpose – and we shall take no part in them”
(Emphasis in original). Do you agree with these patriotic, front line
soldiers’ observation that Israel is dominating, expelling, starving
and humiliating an entire people – the Palestinian people –
and that in their words “the Territories are not Israel?”
What is your view of Rabbi Lerner’s Tikkun’s
call for peace, along with the proposals of Jewish Voice for Peace,
the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Americans for Peace Now? As between
the present Israeli government’s position on this conflict and
the position of these groups, which do you favor and why?
Do you share the views in the open letter signed by
400 rabbis, including leaders of some of the largest congregations in
our country, sent this March by Rabbis for Human Rights of North America
to Ariel Sharon protesting Israel’s house-demolition policy?
Have you ever disagreed with the Israeli government’s
treatment of the Palestinian people in any way, shape or manner in the
occupied territories? Do you think that these Semitic peoples have ever
suffered from bigotry and devastation by their occupiers in the occupied
West Bank, Gaza or inside Israel? If you want a reference here, check
the website of the great Israeli human rights group B’T selem.
Since you are a man of many opinions, with a specialty
focused on the Semitic peoples, explain the United States’ support
over the decades of authoritarian or dictatorial regimes, in the greater
Middle East, over their own people which is fomenting resistance by
These questions have all occurred to you years ago,
no doubt. So it would be helpful to receive your views.
As for the metaphors – puppeteer and puppets
– the Romans had a phrase for the obvious – res ipsa loquitur.
The Israelis have a joke for the obvious – that the United States
is the second state of Israel.
How often, if ever, has the United States – either
the Congress or the White House-pursued a course of action, since 1956,
that contradicted the Israeli government’s position? You do read
Ha’aretz, don’t you? You know of the group Rabbis for Justice.
To end the hostilities which have taken so many precious
lives of innocent children, women and men – with far more such
losses on the Palestinian side – the occupying military power
with a massive preponderance of force has a responsibility to take the
initiative. In a recent presentation in Chicago, former Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak made the point explicitly – Israel should
take the initiative itself unilaterally and start disengaging from the
West Bank and Gaza and not keep looking for the right Palestinian Authority.
Amram Mitzna, the Labor Party's candidate for Prime Minister in the
2003 election, went ever further in showing how peace can be pursued
through unilateral withdrawal. Do you concur with these positions?
Citizen groups are in awe of AIPAC’s ditto machine
on Capitol Hill as are many members of Congress who, against their private
judgment, resign themselves to sign on the dotted line. AIPAC is such
an effective demonstration of civic action – which is their right
– that Muslim Americans are studying it in order to learn how
to advance a more balanced Congressional deliberation in the interests
of the American people.
Finally, treat yourself to a recent column on February
5, 2004 in The New York Times, by Thomas Friedman, an author on Middle
East affairs, who has been critical of both the Israeli and Palestinian
leadership. Mr. Friedman writes:
“Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he’s
had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office. Mr. Sharon has
Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and
Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who’s
ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates, and by political handlers
telling the president not to put any pressure on Israel in an election
year—all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing.”
These are the words of a double Pulitzer Prize winner.
Do you agree with Mr. Friedman’s characterization?
Sounds like a puppeteer-puppet relationship, doesn’t it? Others
who are close to this phenomenon have made similar judgments in Israel
and in the United States.
Keep after bigotry and once in a while help out the
Arab Semites when they are struggling against bigotry, discrimination,
profiling and race-based hostility in their beloved adopted country
– the U.S.A. This would be in accord with your organization’s
(Letter to the ADL, Nader
Responding To Post Criticism
An Aug. 14 [Washington Post] editorial's juxtaposition
of my words, taken from a statement that was rooted in advocacy for
an Israeli-Palestinian peace, was shameful and unsavory. Your objection
to my description of the need to replace the Washington puppet show
with the Washington peace show reinforces the censorious climate against
open and free discussion about this conflict. When Israelis joke about
the United States being "the second state of Israel," it sounds
like they are describing a puppeteer-puppet relationship. Or, would
your paper prefer using the descriptor "dominant-subordinate?"
That many other Israeli and U.S. peace advocates with
impressive political, business, academic, military and intelligence
experience receive no hearing in official Washington is further indication
of bias inside both political parties.
When the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
works to obtain a recent 407 to 9 vote for a House resolution supporting
the latest Sharon strategy and rejecting any mention of an independent
Palestinian state, how would you describe such a surrender of the privately
held positions of House members who favor a two-state solution?
Half of the Israeli people and more than two-thirds
of Jewish Americans believe the conflict can be settled only by allowing
an independent Palestinian state together with a secure Israel.
Why does your paper object to a description of AIPAC
as an awesome lobby on Capitol Hill, labeling it "poisonous stuff"?
AIPAC has worked hard over the years to enlist the support of both Christians
and Jews. Its organizing skills are the envy of the National Rifle Association
and other citizen groups. Muslim Americans are trying to learn from
its lobbying skills to produce a more balanced congressional debate
on Middle Eastern policies. How does acknowledging such an achievement
play on age-old stereotypes? The bias may be in your editors' minds.
(Letter to the editor of the Washington
Post, August 21, 2004)
“And we talk about how U.S. government should settle the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict by connecting with the broad and deep Israeli movement and
their Palestinian counterparts, who have long ago developed an accord
for a two-state solution to that seemingly interminable conflict.”
(Speech on November 2, JTA, November 4, 2004)