Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mush From the Wimp

Excerpts from a news story from this morning’s Haaretz:  “Obama Believes Netanyahu Not interested in Palestinian State.”

“U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with Huffington Post on Saturday that he is convinced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.


“During the interview, Obama expressed his commitment to continuing to work fully with the Israeli government in regards to military and intelligence-related cooperation, but declined to say whether the U.S. would continue to block the Palestinians' unilateral moves in the UN. Obama said that during his conversation with Netanyahu, he told him that due to his statement against a Palestinian state, "It is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible." The U.S., Obama said, would continue to insist on its view that the Israeli-Palestinian status quo is unacceptable. "While taking into complete account Israel's security, we can't just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements. That's not a recipe for stability in the region."


Obama also commented on Netanyahu's last-minute Election Day "warning" regarding a rise in voting rates among Israel's Arab public. "We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel's tradition," Obama said. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly," said Obama. "And I think that that is what's best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the name of democracy in the country."


“A White House official told Reuters that the U.S. president told Netanyahu “that we will need to reassess our options following the prime minister's new positions and comments regarding the two-state solution.” Obama said that in light of Netanyahu's stance, his administration would need to "evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region."

“Obama's spokesman clarified that the U.S.’s “security cooperation” with Israel was not under consideration.”



Charlton said...

The President knows that actions would speak louder than words, and therefore he is taking no actions. Instead, he will be like Jimmy Carter. He will wait until he leaves office, and theen begin to state that latter-day Zionism and Israel government policy is laced through and through with High Crimes and Misdemeanors (forbidden by our Constitution but not theirs. They have no constitution.. But then Obama, out of office, won't and can't do anything about the criminal behavior of Israel, aided and abetted in many ways by the USA, which will continue.

Jerome Slater said...

I fear you're right.

Henry Silver said...

President Obama certainly knows that neither Prime Minister Netanyahu nor any other major political figure in Israel supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state. He also knows that the facts on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza are contrary to every basic precept of the US constitution. Nevertheless he has always been unwilling to step out in front of this ongoing situation and confront the various lobbies that determine the unswerving public political support for Israel, no matter what. Whether it is the Jewish lobby, the Christian Evangelical lobby or the military industrial lobby, each has a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo in US-Israel relations. For whatever reason, whether lack of political savvy or lack of political guts, I am afraid that Obama will continue to utter the usual robotic pro-Israel form of words and fail to take on the institurional (military-industrial) and political forces that form domestic political opinion.

Bill said...

Reducing everything to personal character is misleading. It's a question of priorities. Right now, Obama's main priority in the Middle East is getting a nuclear deal with Iran. That involves an epic struggle, not just with the Iranians but with Congress and Israel. He certainly hasn't been unwilling to ignore Netanyahu on Iran. He's not going to go back into Israel-Palestine issues while Iran is unresolved.

Steve Hogarth said...

While eminent and balanced thinkers such as Prof Slater correct facts, point out statistics and highlight lobby-induced-slew in journalism and Presidential statements in relation to the, frankly, treacherous behaviour of Israel, I begin to wonder if progress can only be made in the HEARTS of us all. Political action tends to happen only when the public en-masse demand it.
The American and European public en-masse must sympathise with the plight of the Palestinian people before progress beyond rhetoric can be achieved. Perhaps we need the help of our poets, songwriters and artists as much as our journalists and eminent commentators.
I wrote a song called Gaza. It's on iTunes and I'm sure you'll quickly find the lyric in any search-engine. Lead us by the heart too, gentlemen. Remind us all of the children and the inevitable consequences of a life without real hope.
Keep up the good work. Your voices are much-needed oxygen.

Jerome Slater said...

I more or less agree with you. Reaching a deal with Iran is more important than real pressures on Israel, which Congress won't support in any case. And of course you're right that Obama's character--too soft when dealing with his enemies, such as Netanyahu and the Republicans when he had a majority in Congress--is not the primary reason for US policy towards Israel.

Still, conceding all that, it if damned frustrating to hear this kind of endless pap and inability or unwillingness in this country to confront the reality of Israeli policies and behaviors towards the Palestinians.

Donald said...

I just read the Rudoren story in Wednesday's NYT? It's an unbelievably bad piece of journalism. She is blatantly taking Netanyahu's side. Apparently every Israeli knows Netanyahu was just pandering and now Obama is the bad guy for taking it seriously. You'd expect this kind of thing from Fox News. Well, maybe also the NYT on this topic.

Anthony Greco said...

I have just posted ( on the Rudoren story today. My assessment of Obama is less harsh than Prof. Slater's. Yes, Obama's reproaches to Netanyahu are thus far only symbolic, but Obama is highly constrained by US domestic politics, and symbolism is important in politics. Rudoren worries that Obama's legacy might be an unprecedented low point in US-Israeli relations. To my mind, that would be a real, positive achievement. Obama has introduced a crack in the wall of the monolithic bipartisan consensus that Israel can do no wrong. Cracks can grow larger.

Fee Fi Foe Fum said...
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