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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Democrats' quandry: Do they cheer when Netanyahu rejects '67 borders'

On Thursday, President Obama issued what was in essence a call for Israel to return to the 1967 borders 1949 armistice lines. On Friday, at a joint press conference with President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu correctly characterized those lines as 'indefensible.' Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening, where he will undoubtedly repeat his view (and the view of most Israelis) that the 1949 armistice lines are indefensible. The Republicans will all stand up and cheer. What's a pro-Israel Democrat to do?
The disagreement between Obama and Netanyahu puts Jewish Democrats in a tough spot, forced to pick between a president of their own party and a country that typically wins their unflagging support. While most have chosen not to speak publicly on the matter, the few who did mostly sided with Israel’s leader.

“A two-state solution agreed upon by the Israelis and Palestinians should be negotiated through direct talks, but it is important to remember that a full return to the 1967 borders will be indefensible for Israel and that talking with terrorists who want to destroy Israel is a non-starter,” Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) said in a statement issued Friday morning.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said the president “omitted or glossed over several themes,” and noted that “such territorial adjustments would be very significant so that Israel would no longer be nine miles wide at its narrowest point.”

And Rep. Steve Israel, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called the reference to the 1967 borders “gratuitous” in an interview with his hometown paper, Long Island’s Newsday.

While land swaps are widely considered a central tenet of any long-lasting peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, many supporters of Israel take issue with the president embracing a particular demarcation before any negotiation has taken place and, specifically, a set of 1967 borders that they say would be impossible to implement without leaving Israel more susceptible to attack.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), whose wife is a top adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, opened up on the president on Twitter Thursday. “Remind me again, why did the ‘67 borders change? #IsraelAttacked.”

While some Jewish Democrats gave Obama a bit of grace period, Republicans of all religious persuasions criticized his tack in a series of scathing statements on Thursday and Friday.
Indeed they did (Hat Tip: Memeorandum):
"It would undermine Israel’s strategic depth, increasing its vulnerability to both military invasions and the sorts of rocket and missile attacks that Hamas carries out in Gaza," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Friday in a statement. "Doubling down on failed policies will not lead to the changes we need. It’s time for the Obama administration to change course.”


Obama did not address the refugee situation in Thursday's speech – an omission that wasn't overlooked by Ros-Lehtinen.

“Israel cannot be expected to concede on its borders without the assurance of its survival as a Jewish state," she said. "Yet, the President did not reaffirm the previous U.S. commitment that Palestinian refugees must not be resettled within the State of Israel, since that could mean the end of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state."

In the upper chamber, Sen. Orrin Hatch has been critical of Obama's push as well. The Utah Republican, who has veered right in recent months in the face of a tough 2012 reelection bid, has vowed to introduce a resolution rejecting Obama's position on Israel's border lines.

"Rather than stand by Israel against consistent unprovoked aggression by longtime supporters of terrorism, President Obama is rewarding those who threaten Israel’s very right to exist," Hatch said this week. "This is not only ridiculous, but dangerous."
In fact, the only pro-Israel Democrat I've seen come to Obama's defense is Representative Howard Berman (D-Cal), the ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Let's watch closely on Tuesday night who stands up and cheers for Bibi - and who doesn't.

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At 8:26 AM, Blogger ryanshaunkelly said...

Names and faces.
Remember every person in the media that lies to you.
Remember every person in the government that lies to you.


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