The US and Israel must defend their shared values to defeat anti-Semitism and terrorism, Attorney Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of slain US attorney general Robert Kennedy, declared at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya on Sunday, including "democracy, liberty, and justice."
Fighting both phenomena requires "collective commitment and determination," she began. "We cannot be passive."
Townsend proposed a double line of defense: a strong military and commitment to forming a Palestinian state through peace talks, the concessions for which she deemed "moral courage."
"The first line of defense is a smart and strong military," she noted, adding that the US's commitment to Israel and its support financially for the IDF has never been stronger, in her words, than under the administration of President Barack Obama.
"The second front in the struggle against terrorism is the battle of ideas," she continued. She cited how various terror groups "are seducing the young to choose death, not life," and that the idea of martyrdom is more dangerous than the physical war being waged.
She then drew parallels between terrorism and anti-Semitism.
"Both terrorism and anti-Semitism weaken the rule of law, breed fear of the other, and degrade the dignity of every human being," she said.
Townsend then drew on the idea of friendship being a recognition of each other's pain, using a story from the Maggid of Metzritch, a traditional Jewish Chassidic figure, to justify the means by which the US opines on Israeli-Palestinian relations.
She noted the double standard by which Israel is held, the fact that every war ends with Israel withdrawing from a front (i.e. Lebanon, Gaza) due to international pressure, only to strengthen the enemy.
She then pushed for the same in Judea-Samaria, explaining that, in her view, "a negotiated settlement is necessary to end the generations-long battle and to end the bloodshed" over the Jewish state.
"As a friend," she said, she called on Israel "not to give up on peace" and for "building settlements" to end.
The concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA), including yet another withdrawal, she deemed "moral courage."
Kennedy Townsend's father, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated by Palestinian terrorist Sirhan Sirhan on June 6, 1968. She has served as Maryland's first woman Lieutenant Governor, is a professor of politics and public policy, and is active on a number of non-profit boards.