Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Tuesday, October 23. 1) Daylight
Last week, Shmuel Rosner tweeted:
Did Obama say he'd put "daylight" between US-Israel?
The New York Times article linked to argues:
Mr. Romney said that “the president said that he was going to put daylight between us and Israel.” Is he correct?
The New York Times article did not link to the "newspaper account" cited
as the source for Romney's statement. (CNN quoted Romney more fully.)
The newspaper account did not quote Mr. Obama as explicitly stating that
his “goal” was to put distance between the United States and Israel, as
Mr. Romney characterized Mr. Obama’s intentions during a recent speech.
Instead, the account indicates that Mr. Obama was complaining that what
he suggested was the Bush administration’s unwillingness to challenge
the Israelis had reduced the American government’s leverage over Israel
and hurt its reputation with Muslim countries. At the same time, a plain
reading of the account would also suggest that Mr. Obama wanted for his
administration to be seen as less of a rubber stamp for Israel than the
Bush administration was.
In the final paragraph cited, the reporter is arguing that President
Obama "was complaining" about "reduced ... leverage." If that was
Obama's complaint that, in no way, contradicts Gov. Romney's charge. It
provides a reason for it.
CNN also "fact checked" Romney.
The Obama administration has stressed repeatedly that it is committed
to maintaining a strong relationship with Israel. In May 2011, Obama
said, "The bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable,
and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is
Again CNN plays word games. If President Obama said (or implied) that
"daylight" between Israel and the United States was something that was
necessary, why wasn't that a goal.
The exact context of Obama's remarks in his closed July 2009 meeting
with Jewish leaders is not clear. And it hasn't been proven Obama
"explicitly stated" then that it was "his goal" to put "daylight"
between the two countries. His remarks, as reported, suggest rather that
"our credibility with the Arab states" suffers when U.S. and Israeli
policies are mirror images of each other.
One newspaper account pretty much confirmed this.
The glimmers of daylight between United States and Israeli interests
began during President George W. Bush’s administration, when the United
States became mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Three years ago,
Condoleezza Rice, then secretary of state, declared during a speech in
Jerusalem that a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians was a
“strategic interest” of the United States. In comments that drew little
notice at the time, she said, “The prolonged experience of deprivation
and humiliation can radicalize even normal people.”
That's from the New York Times. It's true that the article attributes
the divergence between Israel and the United States to beginning during
the Bush administration. But the report argues that the Obama
administration adopted "tougher policies" towards Israel. In other words
its actions matched its rhetoric.
But President Bush shied away from challenging Israeli governments.
The Obama administration’s new thinking, and the tougher policies toward
Israel that could flow from it, has alarmed American Jewish leaders
accustomed to the Bush administration’s steadfast support. They are not
used to seeing issues like Jewish housing in the West Bank or East
Jerusalem linked, even by implication, to the security of American
soldiers. Some fret that it raises questions about the centrality of the
American alliance with Israel, which the administration flatly denies.
In his initial reporting of the attack on the American consulate, David Kirkpatrick reported in Anger Over a Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt:
Protesters angry over an amateurish American-made video denouncing
Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on
Tuesday, killing a State Department officer, while Egyptian
demonstrators stormed over the fortified walls of the United States
The next day he (and Steven Lee Meyers) followed up in Libya Attack brings challenges for the U.S.:
The United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. An American staff member was killed there, Libyan officials said.
On the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the
assaults were a violent reminder that the changes sweeping the region
have hardly dispelled the rage against the United States that still
smolders in pockets around the Arab world.
American and European officials said that while many details about
the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well
trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level
of advance planning. But the officials cautioned that it was too soon
to tell whether the attack was related to the anniversary of the Sept.
The bolded text suggest that Kirkpatrick source appears to have been some of the actual attackers.
Fighters involved in the assault, which was spearheaded by an Islamist brigade formed during last year’s uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, said in interviews during
the battle that they were moved to attack the mission by anger over a
14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad,
Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting
buffoon. Their attack followed by just a few hours the storming of the
compound surrounding the United States Embassy in Cairo by an unarmed
mob protesting the same video. On Wednesday, new crowds of protesters
gathered outside the United States Embassies in Tunis and Cairo.
The wave of unrest set off by the video, posted online in the United
States two months ago and dubbed into Arabic for the first time eight
days ago, has further underscored the instability of the countries that
cast off their longtime dictators in the Arab Spring revolts. It also
cast doubt on the adequacy of security preparations at American
diplomatic outposts in the volatile region.
MEMRI released the testimony (taken from an Arab newspaper) of one of the Libyans who had been charged with guarding the consulate compound:
'Ali, who was assigned to the consulate's main gate (referred to as
"Charlie 1"), was taken by surprise by the attack, which he said "seemed
to come out of nowhere." He said that he first noticed that the police
car outside the consulate – an additional layer of security provided by
the Libyan government – "took off quickly, fleeing the scene." He then
saw some 50 men, mostly unarmed, approaching the consulate by foot on
the dirt road leading up to it, headed by eight masked men, two of whom
carried RPGs. Another guard said that the mob seemed to be unsure as to
the exact layout of the consulate, because they were searching the
various entrances for "Charlie 1." Shortly thereafter, one of the
attackers fired three rounds at the main gate, while others stormed the
"[C]ame out of nowhere," does not suggest a demonstration but a planned
attack. I am unaware that the New York Times used the account given
Charles Krauthammer contradicts President Obama's outrage over the charge that the administration has not been forthright about the events in Libya on September 11.
No one misled? His U.N. ambassador went on not one but five morning
shows to spin a confection that the sacking of the consulate and the
murder of four Americans came from a video-motivated demonstration
turned ugly: “People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very
violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with
Kirkpatrick, this past week tracked down one of the terrorists reportedly involved in the attack, Ahmed Abu Khattala, and interviewed him.
But there was no gathering. There were no people. There was no fray. It was totally quiet outside the facility until terrorists stormed the compound and killed our ambassador and three others.
Not wishing to admit that we had just been attacked by al-Qaeda affiliates,
perhaps answering to the successor of a man on whose grave Obama and
the Democrats have been dancing for months, the administration
relentlessly advanced the mob/video tale to distract from the truth.
Owing in part to the inability of either the Libyans or the Americans
to mount a serious investigation, American dissections of the assault
on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi have become muddled in a political
debate over the identities and motivations of the attackers. Some
Republicans have charged that the Obama administration initially sought
to obscure a possible connection to Al Qaeda in order to protect its
claim to have brought the group to its knees.
Of course this raises the question, if a reporter for the New York Times
could contact one of those responsible for the Benghazi attack, why can't the United States and deliver the retribution that President Obama promised last night in the debate?
Mr. Abu Khattala, 41, wearing a red fez and sandals, added his own spin.
Contradicting the accounts of many witnesses and the most recent
account of the Obama administration, he contended that the attack had
grown out of a peaceful protest against a video made in the United
States that mocked the Prophet Muhammad and Islam.
He also said that guards inside the compound — Libyan or American, he
was not sure — had shot first at the demonstrators, provoking them. And
he asserted, without providing evidence, that the attackers had found
weapons, including explosives and guns mounted with silencers, inside
the American compound.
3) Jimmy, again
I have no idea why but Jodi Rudoren finds Jimmy Carter newsworthy. In In Israel, Carter Derides Netanyahu and Obama, Rudoren reports:
A born-again Christian who served a single term as president from
1977 to 1981, Mr. Carter said he has been to Israel and the Palestinian
territories about 30 times. He recalled swimming in the Dead Sea on his
first visit, in 1973, and noted that there were then about 1,500 Jewish
settlers in the West Bank, compared with the 350,000 living there now.
And he has long been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy, particularly
in his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”
But Mr. Carter said Monday that the situation is “worse now than it’s
ever been for the Palestinians” because of the expanding settlements and
lack of prospects for change. Describing himself as “grieved, disgusted
and angry,” he said the two-state solution is “in death throes,” which
he called “a tragic new development that the world is kind of ignoring.”
Surveys show Palestinians and Israelis overwhelmingly support a
two-state solution, but intellectuals on both sides have increasingly
been talking about a binational, single state. But models for such a
state generally either imagine Israel losing its Jewish character, or
ruling over a Palestinian majority in an undemocratic way. Mr. Carter
called the one-state option “a catastrophe — not for the Palestinians,
Mr. Burg said Mr. Carter dominated the three-hour conversation and
displayed impeccable knowledge of the intricacies of the situation. Mr.
Abdul Hadi said the former president urged the Palestinians to follow
through on their bid for statehood at the United Nations — a move the
Obama administration opposes — and to reconcile the rift between the
Fatah faction, which dominates in the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules
the Gaza Strip.
Note that the way things are presented the problem is the "rift" between Fatah and Hamas, not Hamas's continued terrorism.
Late in the story Rudoren quotes Mark Regev, but why didn't she, in any
form, challenge Carter's false charges? Or is it that Rudoren believes
that anything anti-Israel is news, regardless of its plausibility.
The reason I bring up Carter, is because there's perhaps a bigger story that Rudoren misses.
In his analysis of the Israeli election campaign, Israeli Political parties find their voices, Seth Mandel quotes Yair Lapid.
The Yesh Atid leader courted rightwing voters, saying “I’m not a
lefty,” that settlement blocs, including the city of Ariel, must stay
under Israeli sovereignty, and Jerusalem should not be divided.
Lapid is seeking votes. He doesn't see any benefit to calling for more
concessions or condemning his nation. I would argue that Lapid's view is
the "center" in Israeli politics.
As for the lack of peace talks in recent years, Lapid said “the
Palestinians brought this upon themselves. If after the disengagement
[from Gaza] they didn’t build hospitals and schools, but training sites,
there is no doubt that it is their responsibility – but we also need
negotiations for ourselves.”
This is the land of the Jews, and we have the right to finally get
rid of the Palestinians. There won’t be a new Middle East, but we won’t
have 3.5 million Palestinians in Israeli territory.”
Carter and his cheerleaders may think that this anti-peace or to
Israel's detriment, but they are caught in a time warp in which Israel
never withdrew from most of Judea and Samaria; Israel didn't pull out of
southern Lebanon; Israel didn't withdraw from Gaza - and in each case
was rewarded with an increase in terror rather than peace.
Rudoren appears to be reporting from some ivory tower version of Israel
that exists in the minds of academics, diplomats and activists, but she
is not reporting from the real Israel.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Benghazi, Jimmy Carter, Libya, Middle East Media Sampler, Soccer Dad, US-Israel relationship