web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Still Dancing Around Jerusalem


There are times when even the most ardent supporters of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem wish the politicians would just shut up.

Not that they mind it when men like Sen. Barack Obama, the putative Democratic nominee for president, wax lyrical about the Jewish state’s capital. When Obama told the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., earlier this month that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” he was cheered to the echo.

In doing so, Obama was following a long tradition observed by both Republicans and Democrats who have been feeding Jewish audiences the proverbial red meat about this core issue.

Indeed, Obama’s sudden annunciation of a hard line on Jerusalem recalls the decision of former senator Bob Dole – a man who’d previously never evinced much interest in Zionism – to introduce legislation in 1995 requiring the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This happened to coincide with the fact that he was running for president the following year and was hopeful of Jewish contributions, if not votes.

For decades, both parties played this card every four years, putting the same sentiment about the embassy in their platforms. Of course, no president ever elected on such a platform, including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom were sympathetic to Israel, ever fulfilled that promise. And though Dole’s bill was passed, it included a poison pill allowing the president to enact a waiver to put off moving the embassy. Both Clinton and President George W. Bush have used that waiver to make sure the embassy stays put.

Due to the fact that the United States has never formally recognized Israel’s hold on its “eternal and indivisible” capital, surely none but the most simple-minded of Israel’s supporters in this country ever thought that the embassy was going anywhere anytime soon. But the ritualistic statements put forward on the issue are considered a measure of good intentions, if nothing else.

Still, Obama’s speech was politically significant. Unlike most of the recent presidential candidates of both major parties, Obama does not have a track record on Israel. And his associations with some anti-Israel foreign-policy wonks, as well as with others considered favorable to the Palestinians, have raised other questions.

Like Bush, who entered the 2000 election with many assuming he was as unsympathetic to the Jewish state as his father, Obama has something to prove. But unlike Bush, who was elected with little Jewish support, Obama cannot afford to let the bad vibes about Israel significantly diminish the usually overwhelming Jewish vote for the Democrats.

That explains the decision to have him verbally wave the blue-and-white flag over Jerusalem. Unfortunately for Obama and Israel, his comments to AIPAC were spoiled within 24 hours when he backtracked on the “undivided” Jerusalem talk after the Palestinian Authority and various Arab nations denounced his stand. So a day after drawing a line in the sand on Israel’s hold on the city, Obama told CNN that while he wanted the city to stay united, “as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute.”

Later, a spokesperson tried to explain that what Obama was against was a return to a division via “barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-67.”

Well, I should hope not. During the 19 years prior to the unification of the city during the 1967 Six-Day War, Jordanian occupation of parts of the city meant no Jew could step foot on Judaism’s holiest places, which were also frequently desecrated.

Obama’s dilemma shows how hard it is for a man who likes the idea that most of the world (which does not share America’s love for Israel) is rooting for him but still wants to assure Jewish Democrats that they can trust him.

Of course, his Republican rival, the presumptive GOP candidate Sen. John McCain, was quick to deride Obama’s flip-flop. But even though Jewish Republicans think they can make hay on this issue, McCain’s stand is that Jerusalem’s status is subject to negotiations – the same, in other words, as both President Bush and Obama. But just to show how experienced a hand he is at working the pro-Israel crowd, McCain added, “we should move our embassy to Jerusalem before anything happens.”

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Still Dancing Around Jerusalem”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A scene from the opera "Death of Klinghoffer." Protests at Lincoln Center start Sept. 22, at 4:30.
Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Latest Indepth Stories
Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

syria_stratfo

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Phyllis Chesler

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Bomb Shelter

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

Jonathan S. Tobin is Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine.

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.

Palestinian leaders claim the kidnapping is an Israeli hoax or the act of Jewish criminals rather than terrorists.

If Peres has outlasted some of his critics and is still considered popular, he cannot outrun history.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/still-dancing-around-jerusalem/2008/06/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: