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April 17, 2016 9:23 pm

MK Tzipi Livni: ‘What Is Your Suggestion — That We Live With All These Antisemites Together in One State?’ (VIDEO)

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Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, in an interview with Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief Dovid Efune at a Ruderman Family Foundation-sponsored event at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Mass. Photo: Screenshot.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, in an interview with Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief Dovid Efune at a Ruderman Family Foundation-sponsored event at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Mass. Photo: Screenshot.

“When I made decisions in the Israeli government, I thought not only about the Israeli citizens, but also about the impact of my decisions on world Jewry,” said prominent Israeli politician Tzipi Livni on Wednesday, during an annual mission to the US, sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation.

This concluding remark of MK Livni’s on-stage “Knesset Town Hall” interview with Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief Dovid Efune – delivered to hundreds of people at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts – was the culmination of her views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the BDS movement and Israel-US relations.

Livni, co-leader, with MK Isaac Herzog, of the oppositionist Zionist Union party, was warmly received by the audience, as she reiterated her “vision” – which she referred to as her “GPS” — on the imperative for “two states for two peoples,” which, she said, “is not a favor to the Palestinians; it’s not even a favor to any president of the United States; [it] is the only way, basically, to keep the values of Israel as a democracy and a Jewish state.”

This she reiterated in response to a question put to her by Efune about Herzog’s recent admission that he does not see the possibility of a two-state solution happening in the near future.

“I’m not that kind of leader [who] would say to you, ‘Just give me a Palestinian for five minutes and we will solve the conflict,’” said Livni, who has the distinction of being the only woman in Israel’s history to have served in eight different cabinet positions, among them foreign minister and minister of justice. “But I believe that we should not put aside this…aspiration.”

Since one of her key roles in government was as chief negotiator with the Palestinians for the three years – 2006-2009 – following Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Efune challenged her to address what he called the “gap between visions and reality,” citing a recent Anti-Defamation League poll revealing that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians hold antisemitic views.

“So, what is your suggest[ion],” she retorted. “That we…live with all these antisemit[es] together in one state?”

“No,” she continued. “The whole idea is to separate us from the Palestinians… There is incitement [in the PA] and antisemitism there and this should be stopped, and this is part of what we need to do during the negotiations – to speak about a culture of peace, to speak about education, to speak about changing their books in schools. But this is just part of what needs to be done. It’s not a reason to stop negotiations.”

Though hinting, thus, that the current Israeli government (of which her party is not a member), rather than the Palestinian leadership, is responsible for a halt in peace talks and for being “isolated in the international community,” Livni unequivocally called the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement an “ugly phenomenon.” She pointed to the “similarity between antisemitism and BDS” as being “not about what we do, [but] about who we are.”

The problem is, she added, that many young people who are critical of Israeli government policy “join BDS because of their ignorance; because they don’t understand that BDS doesn’t represent just criticism of an Israeli government policy, but [is] completely against the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish state.”

Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which sponsored the week-long Knesset Mission to the US — and whose stated aim is to “strengthen the relationship between Israeli and American Jewry” — told The Algemeiner that the Knesset Town Hall “was an opportunity for the six members of the mission to speak to the general Jewish community about how they see the challenges facing Israel and Israel’s relationship with American Jews. It also gave the community a chance to see and interact with the members of Knesset close up.” 

Watch the full interview below:

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