The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has issued a report which makes recommendations to the Obama administration about the Mideast peace process. The report summarizes its conclusions as follows:
1. Most importantly, the U.S. should clearly commit itself to some basic parameters of final status, namely two equally sovereign states, borders based on the 1949 armistice lines, removal of the settlers, redress for the Palestinian refugees, and a shared capital in Jerusalem.
2. The United States should state and act on its opposition to all forms of violence. This includes ongoing settlement activity, which we view as an act of violence against the Palestinians and their future, and the harsh regime of barriers and checkpoints that have destroyed the Palestinian economy and society. Terrorism is morally reprehensible and impedes any progress for the Palestinian people. It is up to the Palestinians to define the fate of extremist groups within the Palestinian territories.
3. It will be important to educate and mobilize American opinion in favor of a peace. A peace deal may require significant financial support from the U.S., both for resettling refugees and for moving Israeli settlers. In the current economic climate, such expenditures may be politically challenging to undertake. Some segments of American society may be strongly opposed to a two-state solution for a variety of other reasons, beyond the financial costs to the U.S. Their critiques should be anticipated and rebutted.
4. The U.S. government should forge alliances with liberal American Jewish and Muslim groups that can act to advance constructive policy and provide political cover for Congressional support for these initiatives. Groups such as J Street, Americans for Peace Now, Progressive Jewish Alliance, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council are essential to this dialogue and would serve as legitimate and credible partners towards peace.
5. We strongly recommend that Muslim-Americans be incorporated into the senior negotiating team. Through a common narrative and shared identity, American Muslims are situated to provide credibility as well as a unique perspective towards the peace process. Upon request, the Muslim Public Affairs Council can provide the administration with names of American Muslim academics and policy makers that would contribute to the senior negotiating team.
It is notable that in its condemnation of violence, that MPAC posits Israeli settlement activity as “an act of violence against the Palestinians” presumably equating such activity with terrorism. Palestinian terrorism is then attributed to unnamed “extremist” groups, omitting any mention of Hamas for example. Also notable is that MPAC both urges the U.S. government to partner with U.S. Jewish groups not usually considered “mainstream” while recommending itself as the arbiter of American Muslims who should participate in the peace process on behalf of the Palestinians.
MPAC itself was established in the mid-1980’s by individuals whose backgrounds are likely rooted in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and since its inception has acted in concert with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Although proclaiming a love for the Jewish people and engaging in interfaith dialog, MPAC has made frequent anti-Semitic statements that assert or imply an organized Jewish campaign to defame and exclude U.S. Muslims. MPAC has also gone beyond criticism of Israel, engaging in demonization of the Jewish state. Such demonization includes accusations of “rape of the Palestinians” in regard to the Al-Aqsa mosque, comparisons with Nazis, accusation of apartheid and genocide, accusations of “butchery”, and suggestions that Israel is seeking the eradication of Islam from its territories.