Congressman Cramer discusses Israel/Palestine conflict, election hacking, and more

We spoke with Congressman Kevin Cramer about Secretary of State John Kerry's address about bringing peace to Israel and Palestine, and much more.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

(Please note - this transcript was copied from an electronic captioning service. We apologize for any errors, spelling, grammatical, or otherwise.)

Chris Berg:
Good evening, welcome to Point of View, I’m Chris Berg, great to be back with you, hope you had a great merry Christmas. Want to wish you a happy new year as we head into 2017. As I’m sure you are aware, we're in the middle of Hanukkah.

Secretary of State Kerry was asked about the recent UN vote condemning Israeli settlements. Joining us in the studio is Congressman Kevin Cramer. Merry Christmas, happy new year to you.

Rep. Kevin Cramer:
Merry Christmas to you and all of your viewers.

CB:
I've been checked out for the holiday enjoying some vacation, but it sounds like what happened was we didn't veto this resolution that was basically condemning the Israeli settlements. Walk us through what's going on here.

KC:
It is interesting because the problem with the un resolution that we don't veto, realizing as members of the National Security Council, the united states is one of the countries that has veto power. We've always used it whenever there's been an anti-Israel resolution. We'll never undo it since we're the only entity to veto it, we won't get a unanimous consent to undo it. It's quite serious. What's at stake here, the Gaza strip, west bank, Palestinian occupied territories? It would take a long time to understand the 1949 green line, 1967 six-day war that was fought over those occupied territories, and Israel’s occupation of them. But what's at stake here is simply this, Chris, Israel is our best friend in the Middle East, the only true democracy in the Middle East, the only country that shares our values of open, independent media and press, equal treatment for women and minorities. And this is a resolution of condemnation, not just of the occupation --

CB:
But many people would say, isn't a two-state solution the only way to get to peace?

KC:
First of all, let's talk about that premise. If that's true, it's not going to be imposed on them but the United Nations. If it's the solution, it's got to be the two states, Palestinians and Israel. We can't forget that Palestine is largely Hamas and Hezbollah. They're basically terrorist organizations. The other thing is to suggest somehow that Israel doesn't have any claim to these territories, does not understand history at all.

CB:
They got that territory based on the 1967 war.

KC:
That's right.

CB:
So many people would say, you took this land, but many people are saying the settlements are illegal because it was taken in a war.

KC:
It was taken in a war started by Egypt, Jordan.

CB:
Israel was more than a match for them and they consequentially took back many of those territories. And so you could argue that it's not theirs.

KC:
And they have ceded.

CB:
Kerry said they had a choice, referring to Israel, they can choose to live together in one state or separate into two states, but here is a fundamental reality, if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both and it won't ever be at peace. Your thoughts?

KC:
This is the first time I’ve heard this and on the surface it doesn't make sense to me, because what's nondemocratic about a Jewish state? The fact that the Palestinians will not acknowledge -- by the way, I was in Jerusalem when John Kerry started the most recent round of peace talks and it was clear then it wasn't going to succeed. Our delegation met with the Palestinian delegation as well as Benjamin. We're not going to impose peace on them.

CB:
The thing is, to condemn Israel and yet it's Hamas bombing Israel.

KC:
While we were there, there were bombings. You could hear the bombings, the sirens. So you're exactly right. There have been more resolutions of condemnation against Israel by the United Nations than all the other thugs in the world combined.

CB:
Let me ask you this, why should the people of North Dakota and South Dakota care about this?

KC:
Because Israel is our best friend in the Middle East, without that stabilizing force, it's chaos, many would argue it is anyway. Chris, it's biblical, but it is Hanukkah, it is Christmas. God has been very clear in script you are. Forgive me for bringing religion into politics, but this is not trifling, this is not trifling. So they are -- even if you didn't believe any of that, Israel is our only true democratic ally in the Middle East.

CB:
I think everyone would like to see peace.

KC:
Sure.

CB:
Trump obviously, his ambassador is going to put the capital back in Jerusalem.

KC:
Jerusalem is the heart of it. Tel Aviv is not the same as Jerusalem. When you start talking about this conflict, Jerusalem is to be split in half, this resolution doesn't allow Jews to pray at the wall. First of all, I don't think it's going to be as difficult as some people think, because Donald Trump doesn't screw around and people know that and they count on that. I think that just by the virtue of his strength of his rhetoric and his actions, because he's a man of actions, not just words, there will be a different situation.

CB:
I want to stick with the international stuff. You've got Senator Graham, McCain coming out and saying we want a bipartisan investigation of the Russian hackings. Would you support that?

KC:
I don't mind having an investigation into it, but I’m certainly not going to make a major case out of it. I don't think anybody should be messing with our elections, I don't anybody should be able to hack the United States government or anybody else, and we ought to retaliate when they do. As long as it’s in that form, I’m fine.

CB:
As long as there's an investigation, what happened here and what went down, would you support that?

KC:
I'm fine with that.

CB:
The fact that we're sitting here, I don't want an investigation into Russian -- seems odd to me, we're not putting America first. When we come back, we're going to talk about Trump's trade advisor, he wrote a book called Death by China, what could that mean. Also refugee resettlement and this paper about the energy department that he recently released. That and much more coming up. Head to our website, povnow.tv. More with Congressman Cramer when we come back.



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