Prominent senator rips Obama for his handling of Israel

McCain? Jim DeMint? Lindsey Graham?

Try Chuck Schumer. Seems he’s got a crazy hunch that it’s the Palestinians who are the “problem partner” in the Quest for Peace.

I told the President, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk. Palestinians don’t really believe in a state of Israel, they, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that they can live with a 2-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there. If the U.S. says certain things and takes certain stands the Palestinians say, “Why should we negotiate?”…

Israel apologized and when Biden left, and Biden is the best friend of Israel in the administration everything was fine. But then what happened is the next day Hillary Clinton called up Netanyahu and talked very tough to him, and worse they made it pubic through this spokesperson, a guy named Crowley. And Crowley said something I have never heard before, which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends on the pace of the negotiations. That is terrible. That is the dagger because the relationship is much deeper than the disagreements on negotiations, and most Americans—Democrat, Republican, Jew, non-Jew–would feel that…

When George Schultz wanted to sell (couldn’t hear) to Saudi Arabia? Every administration has this idea to talk tough to Israel and make nice to the Arabs and the Palestinians and that’s the way to bring about peace. It’s counter-productive, it’s actually the opposite. The only way the Palestinians will sit down and talk is if they know Israel and the United States are as close as could be. And each administration learns it. Schultz had to learn it and Reagan had to learn it. Clinton did it in the early years and later became a very good friend of Israel. George Bush the first did it and never got over it, (SEGAL laughing muffles SCHUMER). We are at a crucial moment here and I am hopeful that administration will see the right way to go. I am working on it.

He let The One off the hook a bit by not touching on his repulsive treatment of Netanyahu at the White House or his harebrained idea to propose a Palestinian state himself, but otherwise he’s on target — especially vis-a-vis the Palestinians’ willingness to adjust their demands to exploit disagreements between the U.S. and Israel. As Yossi Klein Halevi put it, “Obama is directly responsible for one of the most absurd turns in the history of Middle East negotiations. Though Palestinian leaders negotiated with Israeli governments that built extensively in the West Bank, they now refused to sit down with the first Israeli government to actually agree to a suspension of building. Obama’s demand for a building freeze in Jerusalem led to a freeze in negotiations.”

It’s not just Schumer who’s souring on Obama on this point either. According to Quinnipiac, his approval rating on the Israeli/Palestinian issue stands at a robust 35/44, with — wait for it — two-thirds of Jewish voters saying they disapprove, down from 55 percent approval last month. Good work, champ. Exit question: Is it in fact a sign of the End Times that a libertarian with the surname Paul is now issuing strong pro-Israel statements? And if not, how long can he keep that up before the Paulnut faithful start to defect?

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