Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the head of Israel’s negotiating team in talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), spoke Saturday night at the opening of a conference organized by the left-wing American group J Street.
Livni won applause for her defense of the “two-state solution” and the creation of a PA state in Judea, Samaria (Shomron), and Gaza.
“It’s not a favor to the Palestinians, to the Arab world, to President Obama. It’s in our interest,” she argued.
“We can love Israel and search for peace at the same time… Those who love Israel must search for peace,” Livni said.
She appealed to J Street, “In your quest for pace, don’t abandon Israel’s security needs.” Israel will remain in “a tough neighborhood” even if a peace deal is signed, she warned.
Livni’s strong defense of the IDF won weaker support.
“Delegitimization of Israel focuses on our soldiers,” she said. “Believe me, what they are doing is defending the state of Israel and trying to avoid civilian casualties.”
“I don’t ask the world to turn a blind eye to our military action. I ask them to judge us according to the same values that they apply to themselves,” Livni declared.
“No democracy, no legal system would compare killing by mistake in a car accident to a premeditated murder,” she continued. “I am not willing to accept any comparison between a terrorist who is targeting children in school and an Israeli soldier defending against that terrorist.”
Another speaker at the J Street event was Dror Moreh, who directed the controversial film "The Gatekeepers."
Moreh has previously warned that United States Jews “cherish Israel” too much, and are supporting a trend of Israel “going towards an apartheid country.”
J Street's opponents say its self-definition as "pro-Israel" is misleading, and that it is in fact a pro-Palestinian group. The group has also come under scrutiny over its funding, much of which comes from controversial figures such as George Soros and Bill Benter who are widely considered anti-Israel.