After meeting with Israeli and PA leaders, a U.S. bipartisan delegation spoke at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem about tensions between Jerusalem and Washington regarding the reopening of the American consulate for the PA in Jerusalem.
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) shared the principle message from his meeting with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah.
“It is important for the United States to continue to have an open dialogue with the Palestinian Authority,” Coons said, adding that the issue of the consulate was raised in each of his meetings.
He added: “We went a number of years without senior level direct engagement between the administration and the Palestinian Authority.”
“We talked about a number of issues. The Palestinian Authority and the prime minister said that it is far preferable for American leaders to engage with them directly,” Coons said. “[Shtayyeh] wanted to engage around a number of different issues that have been a challenge in our relationship in the past, and was appreciative, and this is reflected in the appropriations bill, that the administration is renewing support for UNWRA, and renewing conversations about how to provide support.”
Coons would not elaborate on his position on reopening the consulate, stating that the implementation was an executive branch matter for the Biden administration to decide. However, he added that the issue of the Jerusalem consulate was “discussed in all of our meetings, we recognize its importance as an issue. Speaking for myself, I recognize the importance of having an open channel of communication with the Palestinian Authority but in exactly what space that should occur, I think I will leave that to the administration.”
He noted that during his meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, “We all remarked on the breadth of the coalition government” which Coons called “truly impressive.”
The lawmakers also touched upon the issue of how to fight the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide.
Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), the co-founder of the bipartisan task force to combat anti-Semitism, said that “we are profoundly aware of where the attacks come from. They come from left, they come from right, they come from center.”
“It is our job to fight anti-Semitism at its core, because we know anti-Semitism is the oldest form of hate, and particularly in America, domestic violent extremism in the form of anti-Semitism it is one of the number one crimes according to the FBI,” Rosen said. “We have to be sure, whether it’s in the halls of Congress, or whether it’s in our communities, we have to educate and illuminate and begin to talk about these issues and bring people together.”
She added that one way to tackle anti-Semitism is to increase Holocaust education with additional government funding, which they are working on in the Senate.
“I can tell you we have a broad coalition of partners within the Senate, around the country, both Jewish and non-Jewish, that are going to be working with us to combat anti-Semitism wherever we find it,” she said.
Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) noted that anti-Semitism is found on the far left and on the far right.
“We have unfortunately a mass movement on the fringes of American society,” he said. “It’s a very serious problem and I think it trivializes it to suggest it exists only on either side of the spectrum.”
Malinowski added: “The good news is that there is an overwhelming bipartisan consensus uniting responsible leaders on both sides that anti-Semitism is wrong and has to be fought.”