Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement from Rabbi Joseph Berman, manager of government affairs and grassroots advocacy, prior to the vote on H.R. 11.
“The UNSC resolution confirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements, in line with long-standing international consensus and U.S. policy,” he said in the statement. “The Congressional legislation rejecting the UNSC resolution falsely claims to support peace.”
UNC sociology professor emeritus Anthony Oberschall said the original U.N. resolution was largely meaningless.
“The U.S. vote was totally symbolic, the resolution in the U.N. was meaningless, and it’s basically public relations by the Palestinians, the U.S. and the Israelis,” he said. “But in terms of substance in what happens on the ground: zero.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in support of the U.S.’ decision to abstain from the U.N. resolution. Kerry defended a preservation of a two-state solution as the only way to achieve lasting peace in the area.
“Despite our best efforts over the years, the two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy,” he said in the speech.
Oberschall said Kerry’s speech as well as the U.N. resolution were largely symbolic as well.
“For the past 25 years, settlement expansion has been condemned and criticized by just about everybody, and what happened in the U.N. and what Kerry talked about is really nothing new,” he said.
Mitch Kokai, spokesperson for the John Locke Foundation, said Kerry’s speech was without consequence given the impending change in administration.
“Secretary Kerry’s comments seem to be fairly well in line to what the Obama administration has done in its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, on the whole, from the Obama administration, has been a sharp departure from previous American foreign policy,” he said.
Steve Feldman, board member at the Coalition for Peace with Justice in Chapel Hill, said Kerry’s speech took a step forward by considering the rights of both parties.
“I think the U.N. and the United States are headed in the right direction in terms of recognizing that Palestinians have fundamental rights just like Israelis do,” he said.