Other people’s thoughts on Obama’s Israel speech *UPDATED*

I agree with the following thoughts, and pass them on to you for what they’re worth.

From Peter Wehner, giving the historical context that makes Obama’s position appalling:

To be specific: Is Obama aware that Israel has been willing to “act boldly to advance a lasting peace” since before its existence, when Israel accepted a U.N. proposal to establish two states in the region—one Jewish, the other Arab? We know that Arab states rejected that plan, which granted Israel land that constituted one-sixth of one percent of what was known as the Arab world, and five Arab armies invaded Israel the day after its independence was declared in order to annihilate her.

Is the president aware that from 1948 through 1967 Jordan and Egypt controlled the West Bank and Gaza—and during that time neither nation lifted a finger to establish a Palestinian state? Or that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), whose declared purpose was the elimination of Israel, was founded in 1964—three years before the West Bank and Gaza fell under Israeli control? Or that in 1970 King Hussein of Jordan announced a war on the PLO, his army’s slaughtering tens of thousands of Palestinians and eradicating the PLO from Jordan? Or that when the PLO moved to Lebanon and created a state within a state and that by 1975 Lebanon—once known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”—was ruined?

Is President Obama aware that the land Israel won in 1967—including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai desert and the Golan Heights—was the result of a war of aggression by Arab states against Israel? Or that after its victory in the so-called “Six Day War” Israel signaled to the Arab states its willingness to relinquish virtually all the territories it acquired in exchange for peace—but that hope was crushed in August 1967 when Arab leaders met in Khartoum and adopted a formula that became known as the “three noes”: no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, and no recognition of Israel.

Does the president realize that in 1978 Prime Minister Menachem Begin submitted an accord with Egypt to the Knesset that won overwhelming bipartisan approval—and as a result Israel returned to Egypt the strategically crucial and oil-rich Sinai desert—territory three times the size of Israel and more than 90 percent of the land Israel took control of in the 1967 war? Is Obama aware that in the summer of 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered up an astonishing set of concessions to Yasir Arafat, including having Israel withdraw to virtually all of the 1949-1967 boundaries, so that a Palestinian state could be proclaimed with its capital in Jerusalem? And that Arafat not only turned down the offer but responded with a second intifada?

I wonder, too, if President Obama is aware that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally and entirely withdrew Israel from the Gaza strip, only to watch as the militant group Hamas took control and began to shower Israel with rocket attacks.

From Ace, summarizing an NRO article, both regarding Obama’s double standards:

It’s all pretty neat, but these word-choices matter: These words have been chosen carefully. Including the passive/active voice and declarative or commanding tenses. This is essentially a publicly-delivered diplomatic cable.

There are other neat things, but the best observation, to me, is the fact that when Obama speaks of Israel, he speaks in terms of concrete demands that he, Obama, is laying upon Israel.

When he turns to the reciprocal concessions most urge on Palestine, however, he stops speaking in the command tense, stops speaking of demanding this or that, and simply says that Palestinians will do better if they stop killing Jews.

Not that they must stop killing Jews, mind you, like Israel must stop building settlements; just that hey, it would be better, you know? Or not, you decide.

For contrast, the writer quotes Bush, who was pretty command-tense with Palestinians: They must crack down on terror and dismantle the terror infrastructure.

Perceptive. Obama makes demands on Israel, but makes promises to the Palestinians. Tells you pretty much where he’s coming from.

From Lee DeCovnick, expressing a complete lack of surprise regarding Obama’s almost naked hostility to the Jewish state:

The citizens of the United States elected a President who attended a strict Muslim madrassa (parochial school) for two years. Our current Commander-in Chief, while an impressionable young boy between 6 and 10 years old, bowed down toward Mecca five times a day while praying to Allah. He studied the Koran, including Sura 7:166, Sura 2:65, and Sura 5:60 and its repeated calls for the transformation of Jews into apes and swine. Barry Soetoro was   indoctrinated, as were millions of young Muslim boys, in the  same anti-Semitism that has always been taught in the Muslim madrassa’s for the past thousand years.  Let’s be very clear, Barry Obama surrounds himself with anti- Semitic advisors who relish the elimination of the Jewish state, attended a church for 20 years where the clergy spewed anti-Semitic hate, and now bows, scrapes and sends millions of US taxpayer dollars to Muslim countries and terrorist groups such as Hamas, who are the most lethal anti- Semites on the planet.  So where exactly does Barack Obama stand on life and death issues important to world Jewery, since almost all of his public actions toward Israel and the Arab world strongly reinforce this notion?

From Jonathan Tobin, explaining why those who don’t like Obama won’t like Mitch Daniels (include me in that list):

According to Politico, Daniels had this to say about Obama’s demand that the 1967 lines be the starting point for peace negotiations in the future:

What is going on in the Arab world these days has little or nothing to do with Israel or Palestine, it has to do with tyrannical regimes which have really stifled prospects for their people who are now restless for a better life. . . . I don’t think right now it pays very much of a dividend to try to cut the Gordian Knot of Israel and Palestine.

Daniels is right that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with the Arab Spring. But he failed to note how Obama had tilted the diplomatic playing toward the Palestinians or the significance of the 1967 lines for efforts to re-partition Jerusalem (a point that Pawlenty highlighted). Nor did notice, as Bachmann and Romney did, the fact that this was clearly intended as an insult to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who arrives in the United States today for a visit.

[snip]

Daniels has always been something of a cipher on foreign policy. As for his support for Israel, the sum total of proof provided by his friends of his affection for the Jewish state was one speech given at an ADL dinner. On the other side of the ledger, there was his recent appearance at a dinner given by the Arab-American Institute, a left-leaning anti-Israel group that honored him because the Indiana governor’s grandparents came from Syria. While his heritage means nothing in this discussion, his reaction to the president’s speech does tell us he doesn’t appear to have strong feelings about American support for the Jewish State

And once again, Benjamin Netanyahu, beating the horse pucky out of Obama with exquisite politeness:

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UPDATE: From Stanley Kurtz, a little more on what those of us paying attention knew was Obama’s big lie, namely, his claim that he was a friend of Israel:

The Los Angeles Times has long refused to release a videotape in its possession of a farewell dinner, attended by Obama, for scholar and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi. Obama spoke warmly of his friendship for Khalidi at that event. Unfortunately, the continuing mystery of that video tape has obscured the rather remarkable article that the LA Times did publish about the dinner — and about Obama’s broader views on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In light of the controversy over Obama’s remarks on Israel in his address yesterday on the Middle East, it is worth revisiting that 2008 article from the LA Times.

The extraordinary thing about “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama” is that in it, Obama’s supporters say that in claiming to be pro-Israel, he is hiding his true views from the public. Having observed his personal associations, his open political alliances, his public statements, and his private remarks, Obama’s Palestinian allies steadfastly maintain that Obama’s private views are far more pro-Palestinian than he lets on.

Having pieced together Obama’s history, I make much the same argument about Obama’s broader political stance in my book, Radical-in-Chief. Obama’s true views are far to the left of what he lets on in public. Yet it’s striking to see Palestinian activists making essentially the same point — not in criticism of Obama, but in praise.

Notice also that, in this article, Rashid Khalidi himself claims that Obama’s family ties to Kenya and Indonesia have inclined him to be more sympathetic to Palestinians than other American politicians are. That sort of claim often gets ridiculed when conservatives make it.

The point of all this is not that, as president, Obama is going to make policy exactly as Rashid Khalidi might. Obviously, no American president could take such a position and survive politically. Rather, the point is that Obama’s stance is going to tilt more heavily toward the Palestinians than any other likely American president, Republican or Democrat — just as Obama’s Palestinian allies argued in that LA Times piece.

And from me, a little finger wagging, directed, not at Jerry Seinfeld, but at Obama:

UPDATE II:  Ronald Reagan, of course, understood.  Here he is, speaking on September 1, 1982:

In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.

Hat tip:  Rob Long, who heard it from Richard Miniter

Oh — and Barry Rubin noticed a . . . hmmm . . . let’s call it a telling factual misstatement.

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