Powered by WebAds

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Obama meets Jewish caucus

As the sun set on Tuesday evening and the holiday began, President Obama was meeting with the Congressional Jewish caucus. All but three members showed up; two of those who did not show up were two of the three non-Democrats (Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va) and Representative Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)).

Obama's key concern seems to be how to make Jews think that he is pro-Israel. Representative Shelly Berkeley (D-Nev) released a statement that the Jewish legislators told Obama that he should visit Israel. Jennifer Rubin laughs at the possibility (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
I suspect that Obama won’t go anytime soon because of the prospect of such events and because of the White House’s inability to stave off protests, catcalls, and boos in a country where citizens are not shy about expressing their political sentiments. The fact that an American president might very well be booed in the Jewish state is indicative of the pathetic status of U.S.-Israeli relations.


Recall that when Obama was in suck-up mode with American Jews (who gave him a pass for twenty years of listening to the anti-Semitic ravings of Rev. Wright) during the campaign, he went to the Wall in which he touchingly placed a note. No, he didn’t at the time mention that he wanted to carve up Jerusalem. But now that it’s out in the open, wouldn’t it seem extraordinarily hypocritical (even for him) to go there? Yes, we’ve come to the point where a trip to the Wall by an American president becomes an act of gross hypocrisy. Tragic, really.
Booed? Catcalls? Hell, we'd get 100,000 people out to demonstrate against that shmuck if he comes to this country. Western Wall? Hah. The only place he can show his face here is North Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, Ben Smith reports that Tuesday's meeting featured some sharp exchanges.
Jewish members, led by New York's Eliot Engel and Connecticut's Joe Lieberman, pressed Obama on their impression that he is putting more pressure on Israel than on the Palestinian side in peace talks, and asked about recent calls on Obama to jumpstart the process with an "Obama plan."

"I cannot impose a settlement," Obama said of the peace process, according to one attendee's notes. "Israel is a sovereign nation and the notion that I would or could do that is simply wrong.“

Obama told the group that the rift between the U.S. and Israel has been overstated -- though another attendee said he conceded some American missteps, as well as Israeli ones -- and stressed that the American commitment to Israel's military superiority is unabated.

"Everyone spoke their mind, everyone said what they felt, and the president responded," Engel said.

Another member present said the meeting was "frank and friendly, but tough."

Obama told the group he has no plan to propose his own peace settlement, though he also told them that he would not foreclose the possibility that, at some point in his presidency, he would outline principles, the attendee said.

In what one attendee described as the meeting's tensest moment, Lieberman told Obama that, in Lieberman's view, Obama was approaching the peace process with an eye toward repairing ties with the Muslim world, rather than brokering a fair deal -- a characterization Obama rejected.

Instead, Obama told the group, he sees an "opening" to press Arab States to say publicly what they say privately -- that their larger problem is with Iran, not Israel.
By the way, Smith claims that Israel's ambassador to the US Michael Oren briefed many of the members before the meeting.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is apparently trying to make up for blasting Obama on Nachum Segal's JM in the AM last month.
"Obama also noted that he'd spent more time with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than with any other foreign leader, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer suggested that Netanyahu be pressed to shore up the relationship publicly as well," Ben writes.

"Netanyahu had told Schumer privately, Schumer said, that the U.S. has given Israeli everything it needs on security -- something Schumer suggested American Jews needed to hear publicly from Netanyahu's mouth."
I don't think anyone here believes that, and I doubt most American Jews who care about Israel would believe it even coming from Netanyahu. They'd believe he was forced to say it.

If I'm Hillary Clinton, the very fact that this meeting needed to be held would make me think long and hard about seeking a promotion in 2012. Heh.


At 11:52 PM, Blogger ais cotten19 said...

Sounds like Leiberman had him nailed when he accused him of caring about muslim/arab sentiment more than fairness and justice. Obama's response was a little too smooth for me, indicating that the accusation put him on the defensive. Why would it, if it's not true? And his response was truly masterful - if one call lying through your teeth masterful. It reminds me of the time in the election campaign when he stated that Jerusalem would be Israel's eternal and undivisible capital. Not only can't you believe a word he says, you actually have to assume he means the exact opposite, in some cases. In this case, he has proven to all that he feels Israel is a greater threat to the region than Iran.


Post a Comment

<< Home