Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama At AIPAC (Updated)

The complete text of what Obama said is here.

Jennifer Rubin at Contentions notes:
On several policy points, the most obvious problem to me seems that there is a disconnect, and absence of means to ends, in his vision. He says he loves and will defend Israel but there is no road to get there (i.e. a more peaceful and secure Israel) other than some vague diplomatic avenue. But with whom shall we negotiate? Why will he succeed when others fail? In part, of course, this is because he repudiates means that might pressure opposing forces either diplomatically or militarily. And for those hoping that he might have seen the light on the surge, the answer is “no.” He is still pulling out and seems blissfully unaware what impact it might have on Iran, Hamas and other terrorists — that is, the enemies of Israel.
Of course, who ever expects details from Obama?

Rubin also has the reaction to Obama's speech from Senator Joe Lieberman, Rep. Eric Cantor and McCain foreign policy and national security director Randy Scheunemann:
First, he [Lieberman] noted that Obama had sought to minimize the threat from Iran when talking on the primary campaign trail, but before AIPAC now cast the threat as “grave.” Second, with a mild tone but forceful, they took Obama to task for his switch of position on classification of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. As the co-author of the amendment with Sen. Jon Kyl, Liebermann noted that it was supported by three-fourths of the Senate including Sens. Schumer, Durban, Reid and Clinton, but that at the time Obama opposed it. Obama says that it contained lanugage about military action. Lieberman said bluntly, “It has none of that.” Lieberman said he hoped that Obama would acknowledge that his vote was a mistake. Finally, he rejected Obama’s view that Israel was less safe because of American actions and said that if there is a culprit, it is Iran.
Read the whole thing.

But as long as the Jewish community is satisfied with platitudes and the same old promises, it does not really matter what Obama does or plans to do to back up his promises and assurances. Besides, the Jewish vote is more interested in the economy anyway.

UPDATE: FresnoZionism notes something surprising in Obama's speech to AIPAC:
In talking about the ‘peace process’ and its goal, Obama said,
The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper - but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided. [my emphasis]
The mention of a “Jewish state” is important, as I said yesterday. But the really big news is the last line. Does he really mean to say that.

Undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel — something that the US Congress has affirmed, but that no US administration has accepted. Will the US embassy finally move to Jerusalem?
I would think it unlikely that he would purposely make the same mistake others have in making such a promise and then having to weasel out of it. But to state the matter so strongly does beg the question of why not recognize Israel's embassy properly.

Besides, David Hazony points out that:
it was only three weeks ago that Daniel Kurtzer, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Obama’s adviser on middle east policy, announced that “it will be impossible to make progress on serious peace talks without putting the future of Jerusalem on the table.” Let’s just say that Obama’s thoughts on Jerusalem are still in their fluid stage.

See also: Obama At AIPAC: Promise Them "Everything"; Obama's AIPAC Speech Produces A Hat Trick (Updated); Gee That Was Quick: Obama Backtracks On Jerusalem; and Obama Doesn't Get It

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Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly believe Obama means it personally (it's consistent w/everything he's said before), however, it was a very, very bad move from a foreign policy standpoint, a serious mistake; in order to have any cred to negotiate with any Islamic country, not just w/over Israel, Obama's going to have to do some backtracking or create doubt that he meant it, maybe send out his anti-Israel advisers. In the past Obama has said Jerusalem would not be divided along the '67 lines, but this went beyond that. By saying what Obama did the ummah may well look to other intermediaries outside of the US, heck, even Israel herself is more flexible on Jerusalem than Obama!

Ashan said...

Actually BHO's statement is contradictory. A Palestinian state that is contiguous would make Israel un-contiguous, that is, split in half, and therefore, indefensible. Under these circumstances, and in any case, the Palestinians will never agree to anything that preserves Israel's identity as a Jewish state. (This is Israel's duty, alone.) If Israel is thus split and indefensible, this makes BHO's otherwise surprising Jerusalem quote insupportable. That is, when taken in context of the aforesaid comment, Jerusalem - not to mention the rest of Israel - would be in the hands of the enemy.

Cool, but dangerous, rhetorical trick.

Daled Amos said...

Good point--I missed that.