web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Who’s ‘Idiotic’ On Israel – Palin Or Obama?


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 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 “Who’s ‘Idiotic’ On Israel – Palin Or Obama?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
B'Tselem ran a campaign this summer attacking Israel for its actions when searching for the missing Israeli teenagers. They called the campaign, "Hitching a Ride."
Israeli AG: Anti-Israel NGO Can Utilize National Service Volunteers
Latest Indepth Stories
terrorists

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

obama

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in Gaza City on April 22. Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government, but since then little progress has been made.

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status

David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?

sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience

Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem at the President's Residence, February 2014 (archive)

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

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 […]

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.

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: