In his Sunday interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, President Barack Obama said two different things to the two sides currently keeping up the appearance of negotiations.
Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “seize the moment” to make peace, saying time is running out to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
And Obama said he believes Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist.”
See, I would have wanted my president (I voted for him in 2008) to say something along the lines of: Netanyahu and Abbas are both sincere and willing to recognize each other’s right to exist.
Alternatively, I would have accepted my president’s urging both Netanyahu and Abbas to seize the moment because time is running out—I don’t think time is running anywhere, but at least it should be running an equal distance for both sides.
I haven’t seen two consecutive American administrations—Bush 2 and Obama—bring so much violence and suffering to a region since the Johnson and Nixon administrations collaborated to decimate South East Asia. I’ve learned to always expect the worst possible reaction from my current president: he has botched Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iran. He will now reek havoc on both Israel and the Palestinians. It’s his default setting. Because he is a new breed of American politician: the intellectual non-thinker.
Permit me an aside: I heard Secretary of State John Kerry rebuking Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading another country based on made up allegations, and I was thinking, wait a minute, name Iraq and name WMD don’t sound familiar to you?
But enough about self righteous politicians—except, of course, that watching how America is defending the Ukraine from being molested by the bear next door does make one think about American security guarantees and in what anatomic context they could fit best.
I spent my morning reading through the interview transcript which Goldberg generously deposited online for the rest of us to dig into. I’ll try to quote lavishly without breaking copyright rules and Internet etiquette. Do go online to read the full thing—it’ll serve us all as a baseline in examining the coming Obama-Bibi matches.
GOLDBERG: Let me read you something that John Kerry told the American Jewish Committee not long ago: “We’re running out of time. We’re running out of possibilities. And let’s be clear: If we do not succeed now – and I know I’m raising those stakes – but if we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance.” He has also suggested strongly that there might be a third intifada down the road and that if this peace process doesn’t work, Israel itself could be facing international isolation and boycott. Do you agree with this assessment? Is this the last chance?
OBAMA: Well, look, I’m a congenital optimist. And, obviously, this is a conflict that has gone on for decades. And humanity has a way of muddling through, even in difficult circumstances. So you never know how things play themselves out.
But John Kerry, somebody who has been a fierce advocate and defender on behalf of Israel for decades now, I think he has been simply stating what observers inside of Israel and outside of Israel recognize, which is that with each successive year, the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept – in part because of changes in demographics; in part because of what’s been happening with settlements; in part because Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like.
Kerry’s quote represents the fundamental evil of all the peace deals between Israel and the Arabs, possibly with the exception of Jordan. Israel has always been coaxed into accepting these deals not based on the inherent logic of the deal being offered, but on the threat of what would befall it should it refuse to sign.
It’s always Munich in The U.S. Dept. of State.
The Munich Agreement allowed Nazi Germany to take over portions of Czechoslovakia which the Nazis renamed “Sudetenland.” Nobody had ever called them that before Hitler decided they were part of the fatherland. The agreement was negotiated in Munich, Germany, among the major powers of Europe, without the presence of Czechoslovakia.
Sounds familiar? Of course, every right wing newspaper and website has been using the Munich deal as a metaphor, complete with those pictures of British Prime Minister Arthur Neville Chamberlain waving a piece of paper and promising long term peace.
But the Czechs and Slovaks did not call it the Munich Agreement. They called it the Munich Dictate (Mnichovský diktát).
We’re looking into a new peace dictate.
Because, let’s face it, the two-state solution is absolutely the worst possible solution imaginable to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Eretz Israel. And every singe time it was suggested, starting with the 1937 Peel Commission report, it was followed by rivers of blood. This one will, too. And as has been the case since the first time that stinker has been released from the box, Arabs will suffer worse than Jews.
Look at what Obama is saying about Abbas: he’s urging Israel to make a deal with the Palestinian Authority chief because he’s coming on in years, and who knows who would replace him.
That’s not a recommendation, it sounds more like the due diligence guy recommending not to touch this deal. Sign with this guy before he dies and we have no idea who would replace him, that’s the plus side? Are we thinking before we’re talking, Mr. President?
And then, naturally, Obama pushes the tired, outdated, non-think line of the left circa 1993: “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?”
This supposedly caring, Israel-friendly question, repeated by both Kerry and Obama, is not pro-Israel at all. It appears to be coming from a position of worrying that Israel would have to lose its democratic state values to survive the ever burgeoning Palestinian population, or it would soon be under water demographically.
But this is not a caring appeal at all, it’s a vicious lie. For one thing, Arab birth rates have been plummeting, for a variety of reasons, urbanization and a better life style being two of them. The most stunning birth rate is on the Jewish side, specifically the settlers, who are way ahead of everyone else in the birthing Olympics, including the Haredi team, and certainly ahead of the Arabs.
But that’s not such a vicious lie, it’s more like willful ignorance on the part of politicians living off the 1980s stats.
You know what’s vicious? The line of thinking that says, Israel is already increasing its unfair and undemocratic methods, its apartheid system, against the Palestinians – imagine how bad things could get in a few years. How soon before there are Soweto-like enclaves across Israel, with roundups and beatings and hanging—and then, obviously, the Palestinian Auschwitz, complete with gas chambers. It’s only a matter of time.
It’s vicious because the trend has been in the opposite direction. The IDF has been laboring to make the checkpoints it’s been using more dynamic and less permanent—to improve Palestinian civilian life. Palestinians in Judea and Samaria are experiencing a renewed wave of prosperity. There are new Palestinian millionaires, employment figures are improving, education levels are on the rise. Arabs lucky enough to be working for Israeli companies or doing business with them are doing much better. If anything, the trend is in the opposite direction, with reduced rather than added restrictions on Palestinians—so why would this dystopia of Israel going Nazi unless there’s a 2-state solution be so ever present in the Obama White House narrative?
Because they have nothing real to sell. Because they know the next ruler at the PA is Hamas, and then we’ve gotten ourselves a second Gaza strip. Because they want Israel to be taken down a few pegs.
Israel scares the Western world. When Israel is permitted to thrive beyond its pestering security concerns, it outperforms every single country in the world. An independent Israel, free from the murderous chaos which the next year is harboring for us, courtesy of Obama and Kerry, can change the face of the region. This must not be permitted, because the stronger Israel gets, the less control the U.S. can exert over it.
U.S. and Israeli policies never completely complemented each other. But this may be the first time in these two countries’ history, that their interests are so contradictory to each other. Most decidedly because of the way the man in the White House thinks.
Netanyahu is not about to meet with a friend or an ally in the White House. He’s meeting with an enemy emperor.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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