Obama’s speech is irrelevant

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments

Why do you care about what Chris Matthews says? Or NPR for that matter?  The fact is that the US has no control over events on the ground any more. You and your friends and the neocons should stop pretending otherwise.

37 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    May 19, 2011, 11:46 am

    If that is the case the vote at the UN in September will move things forward

  2. seafoid
    May 19, 2011, 11:47 am

    By extension that means Israel has no control over the dynamics. The “typical Zionist response” of brutal violence is suddenly useless.
    AIPAC has no answer to
    Qais Abu Alheija (from Houd, Haifa district), Bashar Ali Shahabi (from Lubya, Tiberias district), Samer Khartabeel (from the town of Tiberias), Abadah Zaghmout (from the village of Safsaf, Haifa district)

  3. annie
    May 19, 2011, 12:56 pm

    i’m disgusted. listening now. i posted some responses in the spit in the eye thread. the livestream linked is there.

    when is our front page comment livestream function coming back?

  4. James
    May 19, 2011, 1:02 pm

    obama and the usa foreign policy are both completely hypocritical… to not say anything about the murdering that israel has just commuted and to make like what is going on in and around israel is the only thing that matters, but never israel is just so typical…if it isn’t syria, it is iran, and blah blah blah… or libya, and egypt and pick any country other then israel, lol………geez, i don’t think israel could have a better leader then obama, even though the folks in the us didn’t realize they were voting for a servant to israel……

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 19, 2011, 4:42 pm

      “even though the folks in the us didn’t realize they were voting for a servant to israel”

      I sure didn’t. I did a lot of stupid, foolish things in my time, but supporting this clown was one of the tops.

  5. Richard Witty
    May 19, 2011, 1:18 pm

    I liked the speech. He saved his comments on Israel/Palestine for the end. If you turned off the speech in resentment, you missed his commentary.

    He stated his commitment to the two-state approach. He stated opposition to Palestinian unilateral declaration though, and that will be a big obstacle for them to navigate.

    He criticized the continuing settlement expansion, but cast Israel as attacked, not as attacking, as I’m sure you feel would be more representative.

    • Donald
      May 19, 2011, 2:51 pm

      “He criticized the continuing settlement expansion, but cast Israel as attacked, not as attacking, as I’m sure you feel would be more representative.”

      That’s why you liked the speech. For the type of liberal Zionist who habitually defends Israeli cruelty, Obama hit exactly the right tone. He characterizes the conflict in this fashion–Palestinians suffer humiliation, while Israelis lose their children in terror attacks.

      It’s the formulation one would use if you see the Israeli lives as more important than Palestinian lives, and if you think that Israelis are morally superior beings who can’t commit atrocities (with the exception of a few far rightwingers, maybe). It’s why the Palestinians should see the US government as one of the chief obstacles to a just peace.

      • Richard Witty
        May 19, 2011, 3:37 pm

        You still are looking for form over substance, when substance is needed.

        67 borders, loud and clear.

      • Donald
        May 19, 2011, 5:24 pm

        Wrong as always, Richard. Even if the Palestinians are willing to settle for a two state solution (which might be the case), there’s a question of how to get the best deal possible. And that’s not likely to come from a President who is so cowed by the Israel lobby that he won’t treat Palestinian concerns over Israeli violence with the same seriousness that he treats Israeli concerns over Palestinian violence.

        I know you don’t understand this, because you have a purely tribal outlook. But it’s true.

      • Richard Witty
        May 19, 2011, 5:51 pm

        I don’t have a “purely” tribal outlook. I have an outlook that includes humanity for all, humanity for specific neighbors (whomever is there), and particular concerns and sympathies for my own community.

        The best deal possible is not a relevant goal. You sound like a likudnik. A viable Palestine is the goal.

        Again, you want “victory” rather than success.

      • Shingo
        May 19, 2011, 6:14 pm

         You still are looking for form over substance, when substance is needed.

        Yes it was needed, and it was missing, which as Donald explained, is why you liked the speech.

        It’s you’re kind of speech Witty. Vague platitudes while not proposing any action. More of the status quo.

        Yes, we can see why you liked it.

      • Donald
        May 19, 2011, 6:18 pm

        The best deal possible, Richard, would be one state with equal rights for everyone, with Palestinians and Israeli Jews living side by side in peace with respect for each other. Horrifying, I know.

        Failing that, the Palestinians should try to get as much as they can. Unlike the likudniks, I don’t mean ethnic cleansing of Jews, I mean that if Israelis are wedded to their rejectionist beliefs and don’t want to live with Palestinians in equality, then Palestinians should at least try to get as good a deal possible for themselves. They are the chief victims here and deserve that much. So I hope the Palestinians stay unified, don’t use violence, and use the UN to obtain statehood and then use every means of nonviolent pressure they can to obtain their goals. They can’t trust the US government, but much of the rest of the world is more sympathetic. But cheer up–I seriously doubt they will able to obtain a one state solution without Israel’s consent. So your side gets to profit from the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (which you approve). Perhaps bigots with your views will die off and gradually, a future generation of Israelis will see the wisdom of establishing a single multicultural state unifying Israel and Palestine.

      • Shingo
        May 19, 2011, 6:54 pm

        I don’t have a “purely” tribal outlook. I have an outlook that includes humanity for all, humanity

        Except when it comes to the I/P confict, in which case, your only concerns are for your tribe.

      • Donald
        May 19, 2011, 6:59 pm

        Here’s a serious question for you Richard. Why shouldn’t Obama criticize the atrocities on both sides and empathize with the victims of war crimes on both sides? Isn’t that what a fairminded mediator would do? Why can’t he condemn the terrorism of Palestinians and empathize with Israeli victims, and criticize the war crimes of the Israelis and empathize with the Palestinian victims? Notice, by the way, this still privileges the Israelis. They inflict more harm and they are the ones who forced the Palestinians out of their homes and are occupying them. I’m just asking for a mutual acknowledgment of atrocities without getting into which side commits more or which side is more at fault. But Obama can’t even do that.

        Now I know the reasons for this–Obama like most US politicians is under tremendous pressure from the Lobby and also, the US itself is guilty of some of the same crimes against civilians. But it’s what a mediator ought to do. Doesn’t it ruin his credibility and America’s credibility as a peacemaker if we are seen only condemning the cruelty of one side?

      • pjdude
        May 19, 2011, 10:44 pm

        Witty you do know the US cannot legally recognize the 67 borders( well if we really and truly want to be brutally honest legally the US can’t recognize Israel)

      • Richard Witty
        May 20, 2011, 5:13 am

        I think the speech was mostly a reasonable statement. There were a couple phrases that I objected to.

        It is truly a roadblock to the UN ratification.

        The only condition that will allow change to the Palestinian status in the REAL world, is acceptance of Israel as Israel, actual, not a carrot.

        Palestinians have demonstrated historically that they are willing to kill, to mass murder, to war (more than mass murder) for property. (Yes, I know that the same applies to Israelis.)

        If you want to argue for the single state, then shift already to what constructs that. And, the largest component is strong and confident assertion of safety for minorities.

        Whenever the single-state advocacy is stated as Palestinian nationalist, in any way, it is rationally understood as a racial exclusion movement (in sheep’s clothing).

      • eljay
        May 20, 2011, 7:48 am

        >> I have an outlook that includes humanity for all, humanity for specific neighbors (whomever is there), and particular concerns and sympathies for my own community.

        And you demonstrate your “humanity” every time you:
        – justify the “necessity” of ethnic cleansing;
        – hypocritically defend Israeli actions while condeming similar or lesser Palestinian actions;
        – sneer at universal human rights, justice and accountability;
        – dismiss the concerns of victims; and
        – argue for a supremacist “Jewish state”.

      • Richard Witty
        May 20, 2011, 9:31 am

        “Here’s a serious question for you Richard. Why shouldn’t Obama criticize the atrocities on both sides and empathize with the victims of war crimes on both sides? Isn’t that what a fairminded mediator would do? ”

        Two reasons:
        1. Obama is not the judge and jury of a condition that is ambiguous at best. He KNOWS that the stimulus to Cast Lead was continued attack on Israeli civilians which is Israel’s responsibility to protect. And, he has ordered intense military acts even when US civilians were not in direct harm’s way. It would be hypocrisy for him to declare that Israel had no right to defend itself. I’m sure that he has urged restraint on Israel repeatedly, and has been listened to.

        2. Condemning is the OPPOSITE of what a mediator does. A mediator in a design-process reconciles needs, not condemnations. Thats what those without responsibility for subsequent consequences do, they judge and condemn only, never proposing and never responsibly advocating for their proposals.

      • Donald
        May 20, 2011, 12:06 pm

        Okay, Richard, thanks for the reply.

        1. There isn’t much ambiguity about Israeli war crimes. There is a dispute about whether it is correct to say that they targeted civilians as a matter of policy, but Israel definitely targeted civilian infrastructure and used indiscriminate firepower in urban settings. Those are war crimes. As for what Obama KNOWS (btw, capitalizing words doesn’t give your argument any extra force), he seems to only KNOW what he wants to know. Israel killed far more Palestinian civilians in the period leading up to the war and they had Gaza under an inhumane blockade, treating every Palestinian there as a prisoner. The second part of your part 1 is half-right–Obama himself has the blood of civilians on his hands, but that doesn’t stop him from condemning Palestinian violence. He never says they have the right to defend themselves. Both you and he seem to think that only Israel has that right. As for hypocrisy, that never stops Obama or any other politician, so please don’t pretend that is something he wishes to avoid. And anyway, I agree Israel has the right to very carefully target rocket launching sites. They didn’t have the right to use indiscriminate violence.

        2. Condemning is NOT the OPPOSITE of what you and Obama do (say, this capitalizing is fun). You are both quite free with your condemnations of Palestinians. I’m not asking him to condemn only–I’m asking both him and you to acknowledge that both sides commit atrocities. It’s the morally decent humane and honest thing to do, but unfortunately it is something Obama refuses to do. And why? Well, he has to worry about offending people in America who give his campaign a lot of money. Which makes him a pretty rotten candidate for fairminded mediator.

        As for being responsible, the first rule of being a mediator is to be fair to both sides. Obama is not. As for proposals, one that I would make is that until there is a final peace agreement, both sides refrain from killing civilians. We all know here that Israel is the one that most often breaks lulls in the violence. But again, to appease the Lobby, Obama pretends that violence is only something Palestinians initiate. There’s nothing more practical and responsible than recognizing that there are two sides in a conflict that are guilty of atrocities. It’s something you and Obama refuse to do, which means you and he are giving Israel a wink and a nod saying that while we may urge them to practice “restraint”, we won’t ever do anything beyond that.

      • pjdude
        May 20, 2011, 3:31 pm

        Sorry witty that the rest of us are not accepting your idea of pretending the law doe4sn’t exist and that justice is wrong. and really ignoring my statements to you doesn’t change the fact the questions I asked you really need to answer to be taken seriously.

      • Richard Witty
        May 20, 2011, 3:49 pm

        I think your first assumption about no ambiguity as to Israel committing war crimes is a false one.

        There is a great deal of ambiguity as to that assertion. For one, to state that Israel committed war crimes is to state about intent of the policy of a state. If that contention is subject to a material degree of doubt, then it is by definition uncertain.

        I find it wierd that you insist on framing every discussion on “guilt of atrocities”. The very vast majority of diplomacy is oriented to constructing relationships, NOT on condemnation.

        It is an entirely different orientation than you engage in.

      • Donald
        May 20, 2011, 5:50 pm

        “I think your first assumption about no ambiguity as to Israel committing war crimes is a false one.”

        Your opinion is worthless. You pay no attention to the evidence.

        “I find it wierd that you insist on framing every discussion on “guilt of atrocities”. ”

        The spelling is “weird”, not “wierd”. And you don’t find it weird that Obama and every American politician denounces Palestinian atrocities. You accept that. You only find it weird if someone thinks Israeli atrocities matter.

        And I think you’re disingenuous (that’s fancy lingo for “I think you’re lying”) in saying this. I’ve explained several times why it matters and it’s common sense. There’s the question of simple fairness and establishing credibility with both sides and there’s also the fact that Israel will continue to commit violent acts against Palestinians unless they are told in no uncertain terms that the US regards them with as much disfavor as it does rockets aimed at Sderot.

        But I know this means nothing to you.

      • Donald
        May 20, 2011, 6:25 pm

        Incidentally, Richard, I bet you would have trouble personally reconciling with a Palestinian who defended suicide bombings against Israeli civilians as legitimate.

        For you, reconciliation doesn’t seem to involve any genuine give and take, any real admission of wrongdoing on the part of the side you identify with. You just want to end the conflict on terms as favorable as possible for your side, with some bones thrown to the Palestinians as a sop to your conscience, but your pride forbids you to ever really admit to wrongdoing. It’s why you reject the even a simple fairminded proposal that Obama condemn terror from both sides. This self-centered attitude of yours is no way to reconcile on a personal level or on a larger scale either. What sort of neighbors would Palestinians and Israelis make if each continued to think they were justified in blowing up the other side’s children?

      • James North
        May 20, 2011, 6:33 pm

        Richard Witty said: ‘When Palestinians commit atrocities, I talk about them at length, with specific examples. When Israelis commmit much greater atrocities, I make no mention of them, but start talking instead about “humanizing the other.”‘

      • James North
        May 20, 2011, 6:45 pm

        Richard Witty said: ‘I mean something very specific when I use the expression “humanizing the other.” I mean that Palestinians should forgive Israelis for everything, up to and including the illegal settlements that continue to this very day. In return, once I and the Israelis are convinced the Palestinians are genuine, Israel will stop invading, murdering and jailing Palestinians.’

      • eljay
        May 21, 2011, 6:46 pm

        >> For you, reconciliation doesn’t seem to involve any genuine give and take, any real admission of wrongdoing on the part of the side you identify with.

        RW’s defence of DSK: “While it was necessary for DSK to self-(self-)determine himself in a chambermaid, thankfully it is currently not necessary. Given that the PRESENT is what matters, let us focus on reconciliation rather than revolution or maximalist concepts such as ‘justice’ and ‘accountability’. Look to the future! Make better wheels!”

    • pjdude
      May 19, 2011, 10:42 pm

      of coursed you liked it. it follows your own beliefs of promoting the “rights” of thieves over the rights of the thieved.

  6. Chu
    May 19, 2011, 1:37 pm

    The Might makes Right argument, that US has been heavily abusing the past decade(s) cannot work forever. The hypocrisy of our supposed justice has caused us to shrink in magnitude from leadership.
    An article today asked a Egyptian woman about her vision of democracy, and she said ‘we surely don’t want the US style democracy’.

    Israel should take heed, as they will become irrelevant unless they make reparations to their neighbors, from damage inflicted from the state’s founding. Their colonial enterprise effects everyone.

    They need to understand they are what Germany or Spain is to the EU, not the 51st state of the US. They wanted to land so bad, now they have to integrate into the fabric of the Middle East. But Jewish Exceptionalism prevents them from doing so, and they’re left trapped in their own design.

    • mig
      May 19, 2011, 3:55 pm

      chu :

      “”An article today asked a Egyptian woman about her vision of democracy, and she said ‘we surely don’t want the US style democracy’.””

      ++++ This goes with similar line when in time US reporter asked from Gandhi, what he thinks about western civilization. Gandhi give reply ” that would be good idea”. ;)

    • seafoid
      May 19, 2011, 4:27 pm

      I don’t believe any exceptional Jews live in Israel, chu. The imagination is sucked out of them and swapped for a tribal paranoia.

      Maybe they have Amos Oz but nobody on the scale of a Philip Glass.

      You just get left with the posturing, like “Max Brenner chocolate, the world’s best from Israel.”

  7. yourstruly
    May 19, 2011, 3:19 pm

    when the u. n. general assembly votes to grant palestine statehood

    the affect of this on palestine?

    on the still to be in full bloom arab spring?

    on the american people?

    but not on the u.s. government?

    even though america’s supposedly a democracy

    has elections

    but elections alone do not a democracy make?

    what’s missing?

    the popular will

  8. Justice Please
    May 19, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Steve Walt agrees with Jack Ross:

    “I’m finding it hard to get motivated this time around, because I don’t think all this blather means anything.”

    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

  9. Donald
    May 19, 2011, 6:22 pm

    “Why do you care about what Chris Matthews says?”

    Good question. I hope Phil finally gives up his love for the man after tonight’s commentary. Good old Chris said that the Palestinians should promise to brutally suppress any violation of a peace treaty with Israel and if they don’t promise that, then he would never recommend that Israel make a deal with them. Of course it doesn’t bother good old Chris that right now and for the past 60 years Israel has been stomping on the Palestinians.

    I have no idea why Phil likes Chris Matthews and fantasizes about the day he will come around. Chris is one of the dumbest people on television.

  10. Avi
    May 19, 2011, 7:43 pm

    The BBC’s propagandist Jon Donnison has just reported that he spoke with Palestinian Authority’s Abbas regarding Obama’s speech.

    Donnison claimed he told Abbas that Obama mentioned the 1967 borders, with some land swaps of course (can’t have it without those glorious land swaps). Abbas’ response — claimed Donnison — was genuine surprise. Abbas was pleased, claimed Donnison.

    That’s right folks, Obama’s speech today was unprecedented in its generosity to Palestinians for the 1967 borders were mentioned.

    But, forget about the last 10 years when each and every US administration mentioned the 1967 borders while emphasizing that a final solution will have to involve the 1967 borders.

    The BBC must think their viewers have the brain of a chipmunk.

  11. stevieb
    May 20, 2011, 11:01 am

    “He KNOWS that the stimulus to Cast Lead was continued attack on Israeli civilians which is Israel’s responsibility to protect”.

    I noticed people just stopped responding to you after that hilarious bit of rubbish.

    How many times have I read people calling you out on this nonsense and you simply ignoring them?

    Witty, the claim above is absolutely disgraceful….

    • Mooser
      May 20, 2011, 11:54 am

      “Witty, the claim above is absolutely disgraceful….”

      Stevieb, how can you say that? Why, I’ll betcha Witty can come up with any number of quotes supporting his statement. And since Witty said them, they’re real quotes! Anybody can see that.
      As far as links go, well, he don’ need no stinkin links!

      But Stevieb, why read Witty, or Hophmi, or Wonderkind Jew or the rest, when you can simply read one short article (if you haven’t already, and you probably have, but I like to mention it once in a while) and know exactly what they will say, and in what order they will say it.

      See: link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

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