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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ron Lauder writes a letter

World Jewish Congress Chairman Ron Lauder has written a letter to President Obama (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Mr. President, we are concerned about the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.

The Israeli housing bureaucracy made a poorly timed announcement and your Administration branded it an “insult.” This diplomatic faux pas was over the fourth stage of a seven stage planning permission process – a plan to build homes years from now in a Jewish area of Jerusalem that under any peace agreement would remain an integral part of Israel.

Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.

Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history.

Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

The conflict’s root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Every American President who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later. Recall President Clinton’s anguish when his peace proposals were bluntly rejected by the Palestinians in 2000. Settlements were not the key issue then.

They are not the key issue now.

Another important question is this: what is the Administration’s position on Israel’s borders in any final status agreement? Ambiguity on this matter has provoked a wave of rumors and anxiety. Can it be true that America is no longer committed to a final status agreement that provides defensible borders for Israel? Is a new course being charted that would leave Israel with the indefensible borders that invited invasion prior to 1967?

There are significant moves from the Palestinian side to use those indefensible borders as the basis for a future unilateral declaration of independence. How would the United States respond to such a reckless course of action?

And what are America’s strategic ambitions in the broader Middle East? The Administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim world is well known. But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy? Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims? History is clear on the matter: appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended.

And what about the most dangerous player in the region? Shouldn’t the United States remain focused on the single biggest threat that confronts the world today? That threat is a nuclear armed Iran. Israel is not only America’s closest ally in the Middle East, it is the one most committed to this Administration’s declared aim of ensuring Iran does not get nuclear weapons.
I would say that's a fair summary of the Jewish people's concerns right now.

And the answer is that yes, part of this 'strategy' is distancing the US from Israel by creating friction. It's part of Obama's moral code. As Victor Davis Hanson wrote several months ago regarding what Obama's views on the Middle East might be (and I would argue that a year later we can say pretty definitely that these are Obama's views):
Israel is an aggressive, Western imperialist power exploiting indigenous people of color who simply wish to be free--in other words, the Rev. Wright-Bill Ayers-Rashid Khalidi view of the Middle East.
And that's why Lauder's letter will unfortunately have little effect on Obama, but will hopefully have some effect on a sleeping Jewish people.


At 8:07 PM, Blogger ultranana said...

I sorrowfully have to agree with every word written here. The President of the United States is definitely pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel, and his actions have proven so, despite the overwhelming support of the Jewish state among the American Citizenry. All we can do, as a people, is continue to pray for Israel and her people, and bombard our elected officials with the contradictory opinions we hold regarding the Obama Administration's stance.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Obama is never going warm up to Israel. But the poor relations between him and Netanyahu means Israel is not going to bend over backwards to please him in the future as it did in the past.

And let's hope Israel will resume with construction in Yesha in September. The Palestinians have made it clear they want no part of negotiations or a two state solution. Israel must not continue to put the lives of its citizens any longer on hold for them.


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