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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Testing Obama's commitment to Israel

In Monday's New York Times, there was an op-ed by liberal apologist Henry Siegman, who claims that President Obama has an 'unqualified' commitment to the State of Israel, and who blames Israel's antipathy for Obama on its 'pathological' rejection of a return to the 1949 armistice lines (that's not the term Siegman uses, but the term Siegman uses is incorrect, as you will see if you follow the next link).

Rick Richman devises a test to determine whether President Obama's commitment to Israel is 'unqualified.' Richman's test is acceptance of President Bush's 2004 letter to Israel. And of course that means that Obama's support for Israel is not unqualified.

So far so good: Rick defines the test in a manner in which Obama is sure to fail it. But the key here isn't Rick's definition of the test. The key is why Obama fails the test and that goes beyond a simple refusal to accept the Bush letter.
The Obama State Department has declined, no less than 21 times, to pass this test. The administration’s continued silence about it leads to a certain amount of doubt about Obama’s commitment — a doubt increased by Hillary Clinton’s BBC interview on Friday. Asked about Israel’s settlements, she said this:
We continue to have very serious questions about the legitimacy of the settlements that Israel has promoted. We understand that to a large extent, it has to do with their security needs and fears about trying to have a defensible perimeter around Israel.

But we also are committed to a two-state solution. And as President Obama said, that two-state solution will take place in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967. The question is how we get to it. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve.
The paragraph-long “But” that follows Hillary’s asserted understanding of the need for a defensible perimeter undermines Obama’s allegedly “unqualified” commitment — particularly given the structure of her answer, which sets Israel’s desire for such a perimeter against what Obama is “trying to achieve.”
There is an unqualified commitment here, but it's not to Israel's security. There's an unqualified commitment to a 'Palestinian state.' If one commitment is unqualified, the other cannot be. Obama has chosen his side. Henry Siegman has too.


At 1:28 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Both the Administration and Siegman know the Palestinians don't want a state and refuse to talk to Israel. At some point ideology has to give way to reality. The Palestinians and the Arabs give Obama zero credit and will do nothing to help him fulfill his commitment to them. In fact they will do everything to see to it that he can't. And it can't be carried out without harming the Jewish State.


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