The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
A new book by foreign policy pundit Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, seems certain to reignite the debate over President Obama’s feelings toward Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the focus will be a little different this time around. It will be not on his exposure to the likes of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayres or Rashid Khalidi but rather on the prominent members of the Chicago Jewish community who took him under their wing.
Mr. Beinart writes (in an excerpt of the book that appeared in Newsweek):
The story of Obama’s relationship to Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies is, fundamentally, a story of acquiescence. Obama took office with a distinctly progressive vision of Jewish identity and state, one shaped by the Chicago Jewish community that helped launch his political career. Three years later – after a bitter struggle with the Israeli government and the American Jewish establishment – that vision is all but gone.Obama entered the White House after an adulthood spent – more than any predecessor – in the company of Jews. Most of his key legal mentors were Jews (Abner Mikva, for example); many of his biggest donors were Jews; his chief political consultant, David Axelrod, was a Jew; he lived across the street from a synagogue. And for the most part, the Jews Obama knew best were progressives, shaped by the civil-rights movement and alienated from mainstream American Jewish organizations over Israel.
Mr. Beinart goes on to say that this all accounted for the fact that
Obama’s initial statements about Israel often mirrored the liberal Zionism of his Jewish friends. Like them, he embraced the progressive aspects of Israeli society and Jewish tradition while critiquing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank…. In the words of Rabbi Arnold Wolf, an earlier supporter who ran the synagogue across the street from Obama’s house, Obama “was on the line of [the dovish Israeli group] Peace Now.”
Indeed, during his 2008 run for the White House, candidate Obama said that being pro-Israel does not mean hewing the Likud line.
According to Mr. Beinart, political reality eventually set in and President Obama abandoned his push for a settlement freeze and no longer stated publicly that any Israeli-Palestinian agreement would have to be based on 1967 lines with land swaps. Of course, Mr. Obama’s new, more restrained approach ignores the issue of Israeli retention of the major settlements in any final agreement – something that had been recognized by President George W. Bush – and thus preserves his fealty to the vision of his early supporters.
And that is precisely why many of us will continue to wonder whether Mr. Obama will revert to form should he win in November and venture into a second term unconcerned with having to face the voters again.
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For a peace treaty with the PA, half the Israeli public would agree to divide the Jerusalem
As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.
What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.
The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.
The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.
Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.
Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion
Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry
Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/new-focus-on-obama-and-israel/2012/03/21/
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