Obama’s advice to Israel amounts to “toughen up”

posted at 11:10 am on May 23, 2011 by Tina Korbe

President Barack Obama was supposedly trying to soothe tensions when he spoke Sunday to Washington’s most-powerful pro-Israel lobby group — but he didn’t back off his suggestion that peace talks with the Palestinians should begin with the assumption of Israel’s 1967 borders, the assertion that so angered Israel supporters last week.

“Since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what ’1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps’ means,” Obama said in a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “By definition, it means the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.”

That’s an equivocation if ever I’ve heard one. But no surprise, the president’s confusing clarification doesn’t really change his position. He still means what he said Thursday. Here’s what he said later in the speech:

Ultimately, however, it is the right and responsibility of the Israeli government to make the hard choices that are necessary to protect a Jewish and democratic state for which so many generations have sacrificed. And as a friend of Israel, I am committed to doing our part to see that this goal is realized, while calling not just on Israel, but on the Palestinians, the Arab States and the international community to join us in that effort. Because the burden of making hard choices must not be Israel’s alone.

In the president’s mind, the burden to make peace falls “ultimately” on Israel. He says it is Israel’s “right and responsibility” to make “the hard choices” — not Palestinians’. He pays lip service to the idea of joint responsibility when he calls on Palestinians and the international community to aid in the effort to protect Israel — but the exhortation to be the bigger party, to toughen up, to come to the negotiating table with 1967 as the starting point, is to Israel.

No, the president’s speech Sunday doesn’t change what he said Thursday — and he doesn’t want it to. Headlines say he wants to soothe tensions with Israel — but he really wants to soothe tensions with the voting public. He admitted as much Sunday.

“I know very well that the easy thing to do, particularly for a president preparing for reelection, is to avoid any controversy,” he said. “If there’s a controversy … it’s not based in substance. What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately. I have done so because we cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace.”

Maybe so. But in diplomacy, the difference between “public” and “private” should actually mean something — and a position of strength in negotiations could presumably be undermined by making public something private.

While Obama addressed AIPAC, Israeli protesters gathered in Tel Aviv and outside the embassy in Washington with banners that read, “Israel won’t commit suicide.”

Other smaller signs read: “Israel can’t be divided,” “Obama change your mind,” and “No, to the Auschwitz lines of 1949.”

Although [the protesters] had not yet heard Obama speak, they were reacting [to] a statement that he made in his Middle East speech last week, that a two-state solution would be based on the pre-1967 border.

The activists were not mollified by the facts that Obama stated on Thursday – and again on Sunday – that Israel’s border would not be exactly on the ’67 line, because it would include land swaps.

The notion that the ’67 borders would be the basis for negotiations was enough to send them out to the street.

Obama’s AIPAC speech only further justified the protests.

Update: This post originally said “Palestine” where it now says “Palestinians.” Thanks to “Emperor Norton” for pointing out how that was misleading.

 


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Let’s just hope for the next two years that Mexico doesn’t make some sort of push to get all of the southwestern US back. Who knows what Obama is capable of doing.

Although, I would be fine with letting CA go./

tommer74 on May 23, 2011 at 1:29 PM

A commenter (Hope E. Changey) over at NRO clarified the two different meanings of the term “right of return”. The bottom line, he says, is that “Palestinians” have no such claim.

Re. “Right of Return” what nobody seems to mention or remember is this–it wasn’t invented by the Palestinians, but is, in fact, a jab by them at the Jews. Israel has had in it’s basic law since it’s founding what’s known as the Right of Return that basically says that any Jew can come to Israel and gain citizenship–i.e. to “Return” to the Jewish state because of their beliefs. It was done both to establish Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and, on the practical side, to boost the population. The first most Americans heard about it was when Meyer Lansky tried, after the fall of Cuba where he was avoiding U.S. legal prosecution, to claim citizenship in Israel under this law and was rebuffed due to his criminal past, some said due to U.S. diplomatic pressure. You might remember a little bit of this from the “Godfather” films, but it’s quite true.

Now, of course, the Palestinians claim their own “Right of Return” to a place they FREELY left, encouraged to do so by their brethren outside Israel on the basis that when the Arabs rode back into Israel in triumph, they’d get their former lands/property back and then some. Just as the original, genuine, and legal “right of return” for Jews was partially about growing the population, the faux “right” is based on this historical recruiting tactic of the forces of Muslim totalitarianism to get those with on-the-ground understanding of geography and other details within Israel to, in effect, defect by leaving with the promise that they’d be back with a reward. Of course, the victory of Israel against the odds in all their wars resulting from attacks by Arab nations made that return a bit tricky–and the idea that anyone with any sense would now expect Israel to say “Yes, of course, you who left, helped our enemies, and did so with the promise of being involved in our conquest and sharing in the booty of said conquest? C’mon back. You’re welcome.”

So much for the Palestinian “right of return”–utter nonsense.

onlineanalyst on May 23, 2011 at 1:39 PM

By the way: Obama is visiting Europe. Don’t be surprised if he gives a speech in which he asks France and Poland to “give back the occupied German territories”.

Sir Galahad the Pure on May 23, 2011 at 1:41 PM

American Jews should tell Obama to toughen up his ole self come 2012 elections.

hawkdriver on May 23, 2011 at 1:47 PM

“Palestine” is a Roman name for ancient Israel.

The “Palestinians” are therefore the Jews.

Those who moved into the region after the Jewish failed revolt against Rome are invading Islamic Arabs, mainly. They are not the “Palestinians”, but tribes from surrounding areas who took advantage of the forced deportation of the Jews by the Romans.

The Jews/real “Palestinians” were coming home in 1948.

Those Islamic Arab squatters who rose up in a war to destroy the Jews in 1948 lost, and should have been evicted en masse for their treachery.

That Israel has allowed them to remain as a Fifth Column is the Jews’ folly.

There will be no peace possible until the hostile Arabs- who remain in Jewish “Palestine”- are invited to emigrate.

And there will be no peace then until the imperialistic malignancy of Islam is driven out of human species.

Ultimately, it’s Islam that is the anti-peace problem.

But Obama cannot fathom that, being sympathetic to Islam’s imperialistic aims, for some insane reason.

profitsbeard on May 23, 2011 at 1:51 PM

But Obama cannot fathom that, being sympathetic to Islam’s imperialistic aims, for some insane natural reason.

profitsbeard on May 23, 2011 at 1:51 PM

But, today he is Irish, don’t forget.

The charlatan will be 70% White by 2012.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Slight OT: obama says Irish overcame occupation.
Facepalm of the day

ConservativePartyNow on May 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Ultimately, it’s Islam that is the anti-peace problem.

profitsbeard on May 23, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Amen.

Badger40 on May 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Cantor told this to AIPAC yesterday:

The following story illustrates Israel’s dilemma.

A Palestinian woman from Gaza arrives at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for lifesaving skin treatment for burns over half her body. After the conclusion of her extensive treatment, the woman is invited back for follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic. One day she is caught at the border crossing wearing a suicide belt. Her intention? To blow herself up at the same clinic that saved her life.

What kind of culture leads one to do that?

Sadly, it is a culture infused with resentment and hatred.

It is this culture that underlies the Palestinians’ and the broader Arab world’s refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

This is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not about the ’67 lines.

INC on May 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Watch this anti-Israeli, Islamofscist tool.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Pal uh who?

hillbillyjim on May 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Obama: It’s up to Israel to make “the hard choices.”

What’s the alternative? Ask Hamas to make the “hard choice” and stop randomly murdering people? That would be a precondition. And we all know how Obama feels about those.

I don’t know why everybody keeps saying Obama’s position is “unclear.” It’s pretty obvious: Israel must go back to ground zero before the negotiations begin, while Hamas gets to keep bombing and demand additional concessions from that starting point.

What’s so complicated about that?

logis on May 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Slight OT: obama says Irish overcame occupation.
Facepalm of the day

ConservativePartyNow on May 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

You know the Queen was just in Ireland the other week on a diplomatic visit.

Aides revealed the last-minute decision to break away from the tightly guarded schedule was made by the 85-year-old monarch herself….

The queen’s final day in the Irish Republic involved a tour of the medieval Rock of Cashel, where she was welcomed by Sinn Fein politician, Michael Browne, who shook her hand.

Other significant acts included a visit to Croke Park stadium, the site of the 1920 “Bloody Sunday” massacre perpetrated by British forces, and laying a wreath at Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance.

The queen was accompanied on her symbolic tour by Prince Phillip. The visit took place amid massive security and a number of bomb alerts.

Obama had the gall to say he was “proud” of her. How incredibly patronizing. Look at this–I can’t believe the bit about “talking instead of listening”!!!

“I think,” the president said, “what the Queen symbolizes — not just to Great Britain but to the entire commonwealth and obviously the entire world — is the best of England. And we’re very proud of her.”…

“One of the great aspects of this job is it gives you an opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life,” he said. “You’ve had a chance to talk to the Queen of England on one day, and the next day you have the chance to talk to somebody in a diner off a highway here in the United States. And what you find is that there’s a lot of wisdom to be found — if you’re willing to listen. And I think most politicians spend most of their time talking instead of listening. That’s a habit that I try to break.

INC on May 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM

What bugs me about this fiasco is that Obamaites who never question the one and never understood anything of substance going on in the middle-east will blindly side with their King in agreement against the nation of Israel.

shick on May 23, 2011 at 2:30 PM

It’s up to Israel to make the difficult decisions? What like smashing their enemies with overwhelming force? Okay then.

Dr Evil on May 23, 2011 at 2:53 PM

SouthernGent on May 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM
Yoop on May 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Lets focus on his replacement, and the confounding of the Left.

There is plenty of fuel for negative feelings, and I don’t want to get all competitive on this and hurt your egos. /

Let’s leave the Left in the rearview mirror of the bus we drive. Ad astra per aspera.

NaCly dog on May 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Someone please explain to me the mindset of the Arab world. What is so difficult about the concept of winning and losing? You lost the war (that you started); you don’t get what you want afterwards! To the victors go the spoils. In terminology Obamao may understand, “They won!”

rmel80 on May 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

As bad as Obama is, it’s the hyperactive, obsessive-compulsive, sadomasochistic J-Streeters and their ilk who most deserve to be slapped down hard. (Actually they’d probably enjoy it.) Those people can’t abide existence unless the poor, suffering Palestinian Arabs are propitiated now. Why J-Street & friends don’t walk over to Lafayette Park and set themselves on fire as a symbolic sacrifice escapes me. Most of them have fattened themselves up nicely during their years in DC and I imagine would be pretty juicy.

Seth Halpern on May 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

By the way: Obama is visiting Europe. Don’t be surprised if he gives a speech in which he asks France and Poland to “give back the occupied German territories”.

He is in Ireland so is he going to tell the English to return to the 1171 borders and support a two state solution?

Kuffar on May 23, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Someone please explain to me the mindset of the Arab world. What is so difficult about the concept of winning and losing? You lost the war (that you started); you don’t get what you want afterwards! To the victors go the spoils. In terminology Obamao may understand, “They won!”

rmel80 on May 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Obama doesn’t understand either. Jews can’t win.

ProfessorMiao on May 23, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Print it straight. The boundaries being advocated by teh Won are either pre- 1967 or 1948. The boundaries post Six Day War have been shrunken by unilateral Israeli belief in “liberal reasoning”. And that Gaza has been such a success NOT.

Caststeel on May 23, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Because the burden of making hard choices must not be Israel’s alone.

When it comes to Israel’s survival, I’m kind of sure it IS their burden. And only theirs.

Obama thinks he’s going to decide what’s best for them? I’m sure “go to hell” will be one of the lesser responses.

Squiggy on May 23, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Someone please explain to me the mindset of the Arab world. What is so difficult about the concept of winning and losing? You lost the war (that you started); you don’t get what you want afterwards! To the victors go the spoils. In terminology Obamao may understand, “They won!”

rmel80

Not only did they “Win” and deserve the spoils but they were “attacked” and still won and took more ground! The Jews were not the aggressors.

The land of every country on earth was taken by conquest from some other people who lost the territory. No people alive now is “native” to their land. Why should Israel be forced to do what no other people have done?

jtpcamp on May 23, 2011 at 11:22 PM

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