Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obama's Still Got it Wrong

This item from a New York Times blog, about a meeting Obama recently had with a bunch of prominent American Jewish figures, is a pretty clear indication he's not making his Jewish supporters happy. For a man touted for his high intelligence and sophisitication, he's managing this pretty strangely. How complicated is it to accept that even if peace in the Middle East were to be possible (it probably isn't), it won't be achieved unless the Arabs make some fundamental changes to their positions?

I found this part of the story especially interesting:
Participants said some of the toughest questioning of Mr. Obama came from Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Two said that Mr. Hoenlein told the president that diplomatic progress in the Middle East has traditionally occurred when there is “no light” between the positions of the United States and Israel. But Mr. Obama pushed back, citing the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
“He said, ‘I disagree,’ ‘’ said Marla Gilson, director of the Washington action office of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization. “He said, ‘For eight years, there was no light between the United States and Israel, and nothing got accomplished.’

Nothing got accomplished? Let's see. The Palestinians launched the worst wave of suicide murders anyone had ever seen (the various factions in Iraq later outdid them). Israel figured out how to beat them, in spite of the 100% of contemporary observers worldwide who said this couldn't be done and Israel must cave in. Later on, Israel unilaterally left Gaza, disbanding all its settlements on the way out. The Palestinians responded by democratically electing Hamas to govern them, and cheered as Hamas and it allies (including some Fatah elements) escalated the rocket attacks on Israel.

Seems to me there was quite a bit going on, much of it very instructive. It's unfortunate none of the President's interlocutors thought to point this out to him; the deeper problem, however, is that he doesn't seem to be aware of it on his own.


zj said...

and yet nobody came up with the idea that the US policies are influenced by the Arab lobby. maybe Mearsheimer and co should write a new book

Anonymous said...

Nope. No Arab Lobby. Just Jews in the Shadows.

Yup, we control everything.

Anonymous said...

Well, to give some credit to Obama, when he said nothing was accomplished over the past eight years, he was referring to the absence of any progress toward peace. Obviously, much has happened, but none of it positive.

I think Obama is trying to make a show to convince the Arabs and the rest of the world that the US is willing to hold Israel's feet to the fire - countering the perception that Israel's fudging on its commitments is merely winked at. Of itself, this is not terribly disconcerting, although one hopes there would be a parallel effort to bring some pressure on the other side.

adam d. said...

There's a discrepancy between what he's saying about himself and what he's doing.

He says he has unique political capital to bring and a unique ability to talk to the Arab world. But he's not spending that political capital to tamp down Arab rejectionism. And if he's not prepared to do that, what's the point of even mentioning it?

If anything, he seems to be trying to earn capital with the Arabs by pressuring Israel.

There's no need to be subtle about the analysis of this. He's full of it, and he's counting on most people to be too stupid to notice.

Anonymous said...

Israel withdrew from Gaza. If "progress toward peace" is measured by compromise and giving Palestinians an opportunity to govern themselves, that was the biggest "progress toward peace" ever. The fact that the Palestinians chose to use this opportunity to fire 10000+ rockets at Israeli civilians should not be confused with Israeli intransigence or failure of Israel to take risks for peace.


Anonymous said...

I wonder whats his opinion is on the 'House of Saud' funding (buying) Paki nukes.