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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Questions for the Obama campaign

Shavua tov - a good week to everyone. I'm starting a bit more after the Sabbath than usual because in Ashkenazi communities the bride's family usually makes the Sheva Brachot celebration on the Sabbath, and our daughter-in-law's family lives out of Jerusalem. We just returned home from a lovely Sabbath.

Friday's JPost editorial has some harsh questions for the Obama campaign.
We do not take it for granted that both candidates define themselves as friends of Israel - yet friendship has to be backed by substance.

• On Iran, Obama says he does not want Israel to feel as if its "back is against the wall," and wants America "to act much more forcefully." Yet he would also try to talk the mullahs into being better global citizens. What specific steps on Iran would an Obama-Biden administration take in its first six weeks?

• On borders and settlements, this is what Obama told the Post in a July interview here: "Israel may seek '67-plus' and justify it in terms of the buffer that they need for security purposes. They've got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party."

Biden once warned premier Menachem Begin that if Israel did not cease settlement in Judea and Samaria, the US would have to cut economic aid to Israel.

Do Obama and Biden think it is possible to be "pro-Israel" in 2008 while being sanguine over an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice Lines? Where does the campaign stand on strategic settlement blocs and a Jewish presence in such Jerusalem neighborhoods as Gilo, East Talpiot and Har Homa?

• On Palestinian refugees, Mahmoud Abbas has called for the "right of return" to Israel proper for the refugees and their descendents. What's the campaign's position?

IT MAY be unrealistic for Israelis to expect that an administration taking office in January 2009 will empathize with Israel the way a 1969 Humphrey White House might have.

But what the Obama-Biden ticket needs to demonstrate is that backing for a secure Israel living within defensible boundaries is as integral to Democrats today as it was when Hubert Humphrey was their standard-bearer.
And the problem is that it's not.


At 9:47 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its not because the Democrats are far to the left of the American mainstream. The American mainstream backs Israel. The Left doesn't.


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