In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
Sarah Palin is a magnet for criticism and sometimes she deserves it. But not always.
Her statements while in Israel last week and about her visit afterward generated the usual scorn that anything she says produces.
An online discussion at Politico about her comments was headlined on its homepage as concerning “Palin’s idiotic comments about Israel.”
So how “idiotic” were they? The correct answer is not very.
During an interview on Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren show, Palin criticized President Obama for not being sufficiently supportive of Israel:
I think there are many in Israel who would feel even more comfortable knowing that there is an even greater commitment from those who presently occupy the White House that they are there on Israel’s side, and that our most valuable ally in that region can count on us . Why aren’t we putting our foot down with the other side and telling the Palestinians, if you’re serious about peace, quit the shellacking and the shelling. Quit the bombing of innocent Israelis.
Far from stupid, these remarks are actually very much to the point about the willingness of this administration, and some of its predecessors, to pressure Israel to make concessions when the real obstacle to peace is what it always has been: the Palestinians’ unwillingness to make peace or to give up terrorism.
But to supposedly smart Americans, the really “stupid” thing she said was her criticism of Obama’s stands about Israeli settlement building:
“President Obama was inappropriate to intervene in a zoning issue in Israel. Let Israel decide their zoning issues themselves.”
Her reference to settlement building as a “zoning issue” is considered by some to be more evidence that Palin doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
It is true that the question of whether Jews have a right to live and build in parts of their ancient capital or the West Bank is a bit more complicated than the conventional disputes about building a parking lot, a business, or even a house of worship in a residential area that roil American cities and suburbs.
The question of the legitimacy or the wisdom (two separate issues) of settlements is not just a matter of “zoning;” it is an existential question that goes to the very heart of whether there ought to be a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn.
But the scoffing at Palin is a bit overblown because, in the end, the question of where and where not to build is one that must be decided by Israel’s people. In that sense it is very much a local issue that the president was wrong to stick his nose into.
If Palin thinks of it in terms of zoning, it may be because, unlike Obama, she takes it for granted that Jews have the right to be in their own country and build wherever it is legally permissible to do so.
Twice in his first two years in office Obama picked very nasty fights with Israel’s government over the building of homes in existing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. They were both unnecessary and had the effect of making peace negotiations with the Palestinians less likely.
So when you look at it from that perspective, maybe it’s Obama and not Palin who has been the “idiotic” one when it comes to Israeli building policies.
Jonathan Tobin is executive editor of Commentary magazine and a featured blogger at Commentary’s “Contentions” blog, where this first appeared.
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine with responsibility for managing the editorial content of its Contentions website – as well as serving as chief politics blogger.
You must log in to post a comment.
Ahmadinejad may plan to reveal proof that the 2009 elections were rigged if his candidate’s registration for presidential candidacy is not accepted.
With a ‘friend’ like Erdogan, Obama’s policy toward Syria, Iran, the advance of revolutionary Islamism, and the Israel-Palestinian “peace process,” is in serious trouble.
The media loved Obama, but it discovered early on that he did not love it back.
How far the PA will go to present the lie as the truth and the truth as a lie? Its claim that Jesus was a Palestinian is old hat. But now the “resurrection” also refers to “the Palestinian state.”
The progressive consolidation imagines that organization can contain the messier side of man.
The Russian Yakhont missiles already delivered to Syria threaten Israel Navy ships carrying out vital missions in the Mediterranean.
Islamism represents the transformation of Islamic faith into a political ideology.
America could be said to be building a united front against Iran, but at what price?
The Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam.
Palestinian youths from Hebron, though, who met with Israelis near Bethlehem to share their problems and insights have been forced to issue a statement distancing themselves from the meeting.
Benghazi isn’t likely to keep Hillary out of the Democratic field in 2016, but after 2008, she is justifiably paranoid.
The contractors received the land at a bargain basement price, moved the prices up to 1.8 million NIS and pocketed one million NIS per apartment.
Many of my fellow college students are quick to voice their acceptance of their LGBT friends, but they turn up their noses and frown slightly when they speak of a Hasid.
The growing revelations that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty.
We must confront Islamist groups with what Prime Minister David Cameron referred to as “muscular liberalism.”
Freedom House recently released its annual report on press freedom throughout the world at an event sponsored by the Newseum in Washington. But along with the usual and appropriate condemnations of dictatorships and totalitarian states, the group decided to slam the one democracy in the Middle East as well as one of the few states in the region where press freedom actually exists: Israel.
We don’t normally pay much attention to what is published in Tikkun magazine, let alone what its editor Michael Lerner disseminates through his e-mail list. But occasionally Lerner’s tirades shine a light on the positions of the far left that illustrate exactly where some of Israel’s critics stand in a way that makes clear how they have made common cause with those who seek the Jewish state’s destruction.
The Al Jazeera television network has become a dominant force in Middle East communications as well as an expanding influence elsewhere, but up until now it has had trouble breaking through in the United States with a little watched English channel that is not widely available.
Israelis know that neither Fatah in the West Bank nor Hamas in Gaza will ever recognize Israel’s legitimacy no matter where its borders are drawn
The conventional wisdom about the Israeli government’s decision to allow new building projects in Jerusalem in the E1 area between the city and the Ma’ale Adumim suburb is that it was a blunder.
For most of the past two years, if not the past four, many conservatives and Republicans assumed that Barack Obama could not be reelected. A poor economy, an unpopular liberal agenda shoved down the throat of the country, and a largely uninspiring presidential leadership style combined to create a widespread belief on the right that the 2012 election would be a lay-up for them.
The morning after last week’s vice presidential debate, Democrats were delighted. Vice President Joe Biden’s obnoxious display was exactly what was needed to cheer them up after a week of morose speculation about why President Obama was so passive and uninspired during the first presidential debate with Mitt Romney.
Media spin helped turn his convention into a hit and the Libya disaster, combined with Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe, has seemed to produce a genuine surge for the president in the past few weeks. Conservatives may dispute the accuracy of polls that may be based on samples skewed to the Democrats or based on expectations of a repeat of the “hope and change” turnout figures of 2008. But after months of the race being seen as a dead heat, there’s little doubt Obama is ahead right now. However, the glee on the left contains within it the possibility of a reversal.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/whos-idiotic-on-israel-palin-or-obama/2011/03/30/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: