Obama gets it

The Obama trip to Israel and Palestine will be studied for a long time. The political meanings are layered, and not easily decipherable. And on our site, it falls to me to emphasize the positive, the extent to which Obama’s comments suggest that he has a rich understanding of the causes of the conflict, and of Palestinian conditions, even if he feels largely powerless to rectify those conditions (as he indicated to the Israeli audience on Thursday).

What follows are some of the statements Obama made reflecting his understanding, beginning with his Thursday remarks in Ramallah with President Abbas and his surprising nod to the popular struggle in the West Bank:

I think of the villages that hold peaceful protests because they understand the moral force of nonviolence. …

A repeated theme, identifying his own daughters with Palestinians. Though yes Obama also identified his daughters with Israeli youth, he knows about the segregation in Israeli society and needs to remind Americans of it:

Whenever I meet these young people, whether they’re Palestinian or Israeli, I’m reminded of my own daughters, and I know what hopes and aspirations I have for them.  And those of us in the United States understand that change takes time but it is also possible, because there was a time when my daughters could not expect to have the same opportunities in their own country as somebody else’s daughters. 
What’s true in the United States can be true here as well.  We can make those changes, but we’re going to have to be determined. 

Speech to the people of Israel on Thursday included the words justice for Palestinians and asked Israelis and Americans to put themselves in Palestinians’ shoes:

But the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized.  (Applause.)

Put yourself in their shoes.  Look at the world through their eyes.  It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own.  (Applause.)  Living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements not just of those young people but their parents, their grandparents, every single day.  It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.  (Applause.)  It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or displace Palestinian families from their homes.  (Applause.)  Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer.  (Applause.)  Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.  (Applause.)

I’m going off script here for a second, but before I came here, I met with a group of young Palestinians from the age of 15 to 22.  And talking to them, they weren’t that different from my daughters.  They weren’t that different from your daughters or sons.  I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say, I want these kids to succeed; I want them to prosper.  (Applause.)  I want them to have opportunities just like my kids do.  I believe that’s what Israeli parents would want for these kids if they had a chance to listen to them and talk to them.  (Applause.)  I believe that.

In that speech, he alluded to the Israel lobby and its hammerlock on Congress:

Politically, given the strong bipartisan support for Israel in America, the easiest thing for me to do would be to put this issue aside — just express unconditional support for whatever Israel decides to do — that would be the easiest political path. But I want you to know that I speak to you as a friend who is deeply concerned and committed to your future, and I ask you to consider three points.

And he described the power of grassroots movements to shift the conventional political understandings of issues:

And let me say this as a politician — I can promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks.  You must create the change that you want to see.  (Applause.)  Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.  

I thought his speech that night at dinner with Shimon Peres was deeply ironical: he kept invoking the U.S. civil rights movement, and mentioned by name three martyrs to the end of Jim Crow, and mentioned Selma and Joshua Heschel, a hero to social justice Jews. Do you think he fails to comprehend that Jim Crow is alive and well in Israel and Palestine? Of course he does:

As I said in my speech earlier today, this [Israeli] story — from slavery to salvation, of overcoming even the most overwhelming odds — is a message that’s inspired the world.  And that includes Jewish Americans but also African Americans, who have so often had to deal with their own challenges, but with whom you have stood shoulder to shoulder. 

African Americans and Jewish Americans marched together at Selma and Montgomery, with rabbis carrying the Torah as they walked.  They boarded buses for freedom rides together.  They bled together.  They gave their lives together — Jewish Americans like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner alongside  African American, James Chaney. 

Because of their sacrifice, because of the struggle of generations in both our countries, we can come together tonight, in freedom and in security.  So if I can paraphrase the Psalm — they turned our mourning into dancing; they changed our sack cloths into robes of joy. 

And this evening, I’d like to close with the words of two leaders who brought us some of this joy.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in Poland and lost his mother and sisters to the Nazis.  He came to America.  He raised his voice for social justice.  He marched with Martin Luther King.  And he spoke of the State of Israel in words that could well describe the struggle for equality in America.  “Our very existence is a witness that man must live toward redemption,” he said, and “that history is not always made by man alone.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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  1. Citizen says:

    Obama: “What’s true in the United States can be true here as well. ”

    How weak in leadership moral fortitude and reality-based rhetoric can Obama get?
    It’s like he’s a business lawyer, not the leader of the free world, choosing the contract language most in favor of those he’s paid to represent. He could have said, “What true in the US, and I and my family our beneficiaries, should be true here as well.”

    • American says:

      How Barack Obama learned to love Israel

      link to electronicintifada.net

      The Jewish donors put Obama in office to begin with , in his very first campaign for office and he’s sticking with them.
      And perhaps he believes WASP,whites,anglos were the original oppressors/enemy of blacks and therefore he identifies with the Jews more so than Americans.
      He’s done nothing to make America, the country, “more honorable” than it was during Bush. ..quite the opposite. He really doesn’t have any sense of this country I don’t think.
      Maybe that explains him…he’s grateful to or credits the Jews for his opportunities and success but doesn’t give America the country or Americans as people any credit for it.

      • tokyobk says:

        “Identifies with Jews more than Americans…”
        I don’t think you have written a single comment without the (absurd and bigoted) premise that these are somehow distinct categories.

        • tokyobk, is it reasonable for people to listen to the ‘jews as a people’ narrative day after and and think there is a distinction being made by many of the posters here? it can be difficult navigating the discourse when speaking of different ethnicities. had not american qualified his meaning you may have more of a point. what did you think of this:

          “he’s grateful to or credits the Jews for his opportunities and success but doesn’t give America the country or Americans as people any credit for it.”

          btw, i don’t agree with the assessment he’s making, but i think the idea, of America the country and Americans as people is as a whole, where as ‘WASP,whites,anglos, blacks and jews’ are all referenced separately.

        • tree says:

          I don’t think you have written a single comment without the (absurd and bigoted) premise that these are somehow distinct categories.

          They are distinct categories. Not all Jews are American. Not all Americans are Jews. A Venn diagram would show an overlap between the sets but they are distinct sets or categories. And if Obama is embracing Israel in its ethnocratic form, then he is clearly identifying with a set of Jews that is distinct from Americans, and outside of the Venn overlap.

          And Annie is right. I’ve read numerous posts from multiple posters here that claim that their Jewishness is distinct from their national origin and that they believe that they belong to some international Jewish “nation”. I have never seen you criticize these posters. Why is that? Do you think it is one of those statements that is OK for Jews to make but only “absurd and bigoted” when a non-Jew makes the same distinction? Hmmm. isn’t that double standard of yours a case of treating Jews as distinct from other Americans?

        • Sin Nombre says:

          Ah, the invariable double-standard stigmata. All that we Americans (and indeed all others) are *constantly* told, so uniformly, by even the most mainstream jewish organizations and spokespeople, is that there *is* such a distinct category. So that we’re constantly lectured on how our Presidents must be oh-so-sensitive when talking to Israelis. Or that we non-jewish Americans can’t really understand the jewish perspective to the point where we are obviously and commonly highly excluded or limited from even speaking on issues such as Israel.

          And then of course what’s *the* most fundamental aspect of humanity of all? Well of course it’s their values.

          And what, again simply *constantly,* do we hear concerning same?

          Oh of course: That there’s a distinct category of “jewish” values. Which indeed are so often mentioned, and mentioned in such as way as to make it clear typically that they are thought to be far far superior to just regular old American or any other values.

          Your criticism of American then might be taken with a grain of validity after seeing you renounce the idea of “jewish” values and go savagely taking off after those who hold to that conception.

          Not that you’ll have to look far to find them. Nor that I’ll be holding my breath.

          Do you have *any* idea of how clearly this appears to be nothing but just some sort of smirky, in-group trick? “We can go about constantly and openly and indeed joyously distinguishing ourselves from all others, but let anyone else ever take us at our word and … anti-semite!”

          Or does the “chosenness” business extend to forbidding others from taking you at your word too?

        • tree says:

          BTW, Annie is there any chance that MW could get a longer interview with the heckler, Rabbea Eid? If Allison is still in Israel, might she seek him out. It would be good to get an interview focusing on the ideas and opinions of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

          Kate, in another thread, linked to a short interview of him here: link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

          Eid:I believe if he’s from a real democratic party, he should support a country for all its citizens and end the occupation, not to support a Jewish country and to support the Israeli army. He didn’t talk that much about the settlements. He talked about the violence from settlers but he didn’t say very clearly that something against settlements is that they are built on occupied land. He didn’t talk about the apartheid wall. And many things.

          Most of his speech was to me, and to a lot of others, a Zionist speech. He talked about the historical Zionist story about the Jewish people, starting from 2,000 years ago till today and the right of the Jewish people to have their own country, but he didn’t say that there are millions of refugees, Palestinian refugees that were expelled in 1948, just before 65 years ago.

          To me, I believe in one state for two people — one democratic state. There could be a special national thing for the Jewish or the Arab people, you know, but it could be one country. We need justice, you know. I actually don’t care what the name of this state is, but what I care is for there to be justice for two peoples in the state and to end this conflict.
          Before hanging up, Mr. Eid said, “It is important for us that the American people know what is happening here, and to know that the money from their taxes is going for the weapons for Israel and different places.”

        • tokyobk says:

          “American” is consistent in his regard of Jews as not fully or naturally American. I agree that Jews evoking transnational membership also can do this and that it can be confusing. I was not picking on a random poster but someone who has, as I mention, consistently referred to Jewishness as something which in itself denotes non-American-ness.

          If, for example, you had written a similar sentence I would not have commented because you have made it clear many times that you don;t see Jewish or Muslim Americans as incomplete citizens.

          I disagree completely with the supposed qualification and see it as more of the same.

          “he’s grateful to or credits the Jews for his opportunities and success but doesn’t give America the country or Americans as people any credit for it.”

          Its exactly my point. He did not say “other Americans” he contrasted Jews and Americans.

          And, its the 300th time, not the first.

        • American says:

          tokyobk says:

          “Identifies with Jews more than Americans…”
          I don’t think you have written a single comment without the (absurd and bigoted) premise that these are somehow distinct categories.>>>>

          Oh stuff it ….add “Jewish American” if you want to be pissy about it….you know exactly what I meant….you’re the fricking bigot, always *assuming* what other people mean, always trying to sniff out a insult.

        • Elliot says:

          “American” also referred to wasps and other groups. He just used unclear wording. It’s Jews as Jews; Americans as Americans and so on.
          I don’t agree with “American” that the categories of Jews and American are distinct and almost all other Jews wouldn’t either.
          But I don’t think he intended to give offense here either.

        • Sin Nombre says:

          “I agree that Jews evoking transnational membership also can do this and that it can be confusing.”

          “Confusing.” Yes, that’s it. Us goys are just too stupid to get it. How dumb of us to actually … take jewish exceptionalists at their word.

        • tree says:

          “American” is consistent in his regard of Jews as not fully or naturally American. I agree that Jews evoking transnational membership also can do this and that it can be confusing.

          I disagree with your characterization but note your double standard. If “American” says what he said, then the statement is “absurd and bigoted” If a Jewish American says it then its just “confusing”.

          Again, the sets are different, but with an overlap. By supporting Israel in its ethnocratic form, Obama is denoting “Jews” as distinct from Americans. In the US we are supposed to support a multicultural and egalitarian society, not one that places one ethno/religious group above another. In Israel Obama is praising a form of government counter to our supposed American ideals. He is placing (one set of) “Jewish values” over American values.

        • “American”‘s statement was not particularly against the Jews, but against Obama. Obama, american tells us, does not like america, he does not like wasps and therefore he does not like america. he does like Jews and therefore he likes israel.

          This statement is just pure nonsense and anti Obama nonsense more than it is anti Jewish nonsense.

        • yourstruly says:

          generalizing about a group, be it racial, ethnic or religious, is the sine qua non of the racist. in nazi germany, for example, jews were defined (without exception) as separate from germans. here in america the racial supremacist considers all blacks inferior to whites. based on the consequences of such generalizations, they’re not only absurd (am i the only jewish-american on mw who’s called for delegitimization of the zionist entity, not to mention the polls indicating that there is growing disillusionment for israel among jewish-americans) but dangerous (google nazi germany & slavery in america), which is why, when i hear someone stereotyping a particular group, immediately a red flag appears in my mind which tells me that person is a racist.

        • American says:

          “By supporting Israel in its ethnocratic form, Obama is denoting “Jews” as distinct from Americans. In the US we are supposed to support a multicultural and egalitarian society, not one that places one ethno/religious group above another. In Israel Obama is praising a form of government counter to our supposed American ideals. He is placing (one set of) “Jewish values” over American values”…..Tree

          Exactly, that’s exactly what Obama does. This is part of why I said Obama, as a black man, ‘may’ identify more with Jews than Americans. Americans as a whole do not ‘identify themselves as victims’ or oppressed the way Jews and Blacks do because of their past history. Obama seems to “make exceptions” to applying basic American principles when it comes to those he considers a victim class. Although I didn’t see examples of discrimination in accounts of his life I have read, there probably were some…some occasions when he was discriminated against which was made doubly vexing by the fact he was half white and may have felt ‘estranged’ from both blacks and whites emotionally. I can imagine a sob story Zio pitch given to Obama to play on whatever feelings he may have about his unique background….’like you we are/were people without a ‘belonging”…something on that order.
          But I am just speculating about any ‘personal attitudes” he may have that influence him because his actions do make him somewhat of an enigma.
          Maybe he is just purely ‘political’ and it’s all political calculations…..but I stand by my statement that I don’t think he has any sense of the core of the ‘American people”, the majority pubic, what they think. He gave good speeches, like cleaning up special influence and openness in government, which the public responded to….but then proceeded to do the exact opposite once in office, really taking donor cronyism to a even higher level……showing complete disdain for the public that elected him.
          IMO, if you use American to describe a person’s basic attitude about being American, something beyond simple citizenship, then it is someone who believes in governing the nation for the “common good” of all it’s people.
          I don’t see that in Obama or any other politicians, certainly not in the two parties these days and I certainly don’t see in those ‘ethnics centrics’ like zios who think their ‘ethnic rights’ trump all else.

        • Blownaway says:

          The obfuscation of Judaism and Israeli ethnicity has been a deliberate strategy as Israel became more and more religious. The goal all along has been to turn a political problem into a religious problem because the zealots on both sides really believe God is on their side and thus they will prevail. Its also useful to Israelis to conflate Judaism with ethnicity since many of the Jews in Israel are not ethnically Jews.

        • Americans as a whole do not ‘identify themselves as victims’ or oppressed the way Jews and Blacks do because of their past history.

          first of all, there are lots of jews and blacks who don’t identify as victims. although to romney, something like 47% of americans do and they don’t work either.

        • American says:

          I didn’t say all of them did…I (once again) speculated that Obama might have personal feelings on oppressed group and identify, feel more for them (except Palestines,evidently his feelings there are buyable)…………. I am not channeling Romney.

          You tell me why he doing the donkey for the “Jewish State—past victims—and not terribly concerned with Palestine as TODAYS victims.
          Present victims being victimized by the past victims he is unconditionally supporting for gawd’s sake….
          Beam, me up Scotty….it’s disgusting and unexplainable except as totally immoral.

        • i didn’t think you were channeling romney. that was my attempt at a joke.

          I didn’t say all of them

          considering the subject matter we’re discussing here day after day, it’s not that hard to preface words with ‘some’ or put that extra effort into articulation. it deprives those with sticky ears of hearing bells going off.

          You tell me why he doing the donkey for the “Jewish State

          ee gads, why do 99% of american pols do it? as for your ‘theory’, i don’t think it necessarily has to do with his upbringing as a mixed race person. i think he probably gets a to do list, something along the order of

          a) historic connection to the land x3 in every speech addressed to israelis
          b) american will always support you no matter how criminal you are x8 during visit
          c) bibi and i are best buds —lavish it on first day w/numerous gestures
          d) etc etc

          and then someone writes his speeches, and where there’s a gap here and there he can squeeze thru some of his own ideas (which is the ‘obama gets it’ part) knowing his hands are tied in terms of implementing any of them. meanwhile, he’s probably giving abbas the nod to go to the ICC after some grace period or something. i do not think he identifies more with the jewish community than any other. for all we know when he’s in private he references israelis the way he referenced netanyahu to sarkozy, that ‘every day’ comment. there’s no question in my mind obama has to spend 10 times as much energy on israel than he does with any one state in the union. they constantly need pampering. what gives you the impression he ‘identifies’ with any of them as a group? i’m sure he has jewish friends but group wise he probably thinks they are a pain in the arse. do you think he likes those group WH meetings where 30 reps from the american jewish community descend on the WH to share their concerns? seriously. do you? i doubt it, and he probably has teams to deal with all their many whims. i am sure they multi task at the WH and it’s his job to make all the constituents feel important via the teams.

          if i were you i’d stay out of the psychoanalysis biz, not your bag. that’s my 2 cents.

        • American says:

          Elliot says:

          “American” also referred to wasps and other groups. He just used unclear wording. It’s Jews as Jews; Americans as Americans and so on.
          I don’t agree with “American” that the categories of Jews and American are distinct and almost all other Jews would not either.
          But I don’t think he intended to give offense here either.>>>

          You know I could write the same thing the same way in a dozen different blogs and only those like Toyobk who ‘want to think’ and “want to find” and are ‘looking for ‘evidence of Americans not considering American Jews as Americans would ‘leap’ to conclude I meant US Jews weren’t America.
          It’s typical making a mountain out of a molehill.
          And I have noticed this same type accusation used before when people are discussing Jewish interest-American interest in the Israel problem…..they will talk about their” Jewish interest” and then if anyone starts talking about ‘American interest’, as in how their Jewish interest’ doesn’t represent the interest of the US population as a whole— then they get furious and pull out the ….’you’re saying Jews aren’t American you bigot anti semite.
          It’s a way to dodge the real discussion and real fact that US Jewish interest don’t represent all Americans interest or the US as a whole.
          That’s why anytime they can find a pretext to call some American opposed to the Israel fetish a bigot or anti Semite, they do…because all Americans who recognize, much less point out, the difference in US Jewish interest re Israel and the non Jewish US opinion on Israel–must be put down as anti Semites …after all what else could possibly ‘explain’ any Americans differing from American Jews on Israel except they are prejudiced against Jews!
          Cause we all know that American ‘overwhelmingly’ support doing anything for Israel….lol….and anyone who believes that hasbara I have some timeshare in Iraq to sell them..

        • tree says:

          if i were you i’d stay out of the psychoanalysis biz, not your bag. that’s my 2 cents.

          Its probably not my strong suit either, but here goes. I’ve always had the feeling that Obama was like Chance the Gardner in “Being There”. Of course, not as dumb as Chance, but not really a big thinker or especially bright, but all through his life he’s been treated as if he is something special, something different, and so he came to believe it. And whatever he does, there’s a group of people that will believe that he is expressing some deeper meaning when he’s not, and he’s incapable of that deeper meaning, or deeper thought. But people project all this onto him and it goes to his head. He seems to have no strong core beliefs, no sense of what he wanted to accomplish by being President, as if the goal was always simply to BE President, and as in another famous movie, “The Candidate” its “What do we do now?” once he was elected. He’s driven by his advisers.

          Essentially, Obama is an empty suit. He has no strong moral stands on anything of consequence, which is why he could so easily toss so many early supporters under the bus, rival Bush for trashing the Constitution and killing people, and why he’ll say anything if it puts him in with the people who have money and influence, which makes him feel special yet again.

          I don’t think he identifies with blacks or Jews, per se. He identifies with those that will bring him power and tell him he’s special.

          Alright, end of hackneyed psychoanalysis. But I still think of “Being There’ whenever I think of the Obama phenomenon.

        • American says:

          “if i were you i’d stay out of the psychoanalysis biz, not your bag. that’s my 2 cents.”..annie

          I don’t know …..it did get a rousing discussion going didn’t it?….roflmao !
          Actually I just threw it out there for the hell of it because I am tired of trying to read and ferret out O’s goals, objectives, political strategy, etc,.etc,etc.etc on I/P…b.e.c.a.u.s.e I don’t think he has serious strategy.

          And I am so tired of typing ‘some’ and besides you know ….1) I don’t write that well to begin with 2) my typing is even worse and 3) pc lingo gives me a headache. And besides that if I am suppose to read minds for any little thing said and not expressed just so that might offend a sensitive soul then damn it, I demand they read my mind also and not bother me with these nonsensical complaints…LOL

        • Donald says:

          ” Obama seems to “make exceptions” to applying basic American principles when it comes to those he considers a victim class. Although I didn’t see examples of discrimination in accounts of his life I have read, there probably were some…some occasions when he was discriminated against which was made doubly vexing by the fact he was half white and may have felt ‘estranged’ from both blacks and whites emotionally. ”

          I don’t think that’s Obama. Obama strikes me as someone who has struggled his way up the power structure wanting to belong and to be identified as a centrist with progressive leanings. Everything he’s said and done as a politician on the national stage gives me that impression. What’s weird to me are all the imaginary Obamas people see–the black radical Obamas seen by people on the right or the liberal Obamas who secretly agree with whatever the liberal Obama worshipper wants to see (Phil used to have a few tendencies that way and maybe is showing them here to a lesser degree.)

          Obama knows the Palestinian side of the story and when he was in Chicago he gave the impression of agreeing with Ali Abunimah (according to Ali Abunimah anyway). And he went to a fairly radical church. But he was in a liberal district and he used them as stepping stones and he dumped all that when it became inconvenient. In Washington during his first term he gave every indication of wanting to be seen as the great uniter, and what that means in DC circles these days is that centrists from both parties unite and give the conservative Republicans and the liberal Democrats the shaft. What Obama eventually discovered is that there are no centrist Republicans, but if you read some liberal blogs (the ones not deeply in love with him, that is) you’ll find a lot of worry that Obama wants to shaft the left on issues like Social Security. He badly wants to be seen as the President who struck a Grand Bargain against the will of the liberals in his party. He just hasn’t found Republicans who will take yes for an answer.

          The relevance to all this on Israel is that the mainstream position in American politics is to be very pro-Israel. So that’s where Obama is. There’s no percentage in being pro-Palestinian.

        • American says:

          @ Donald

          well I agree with you O is no radical black or radical liberal……I honestly don’t know how to figure O out……maybe he is nothing but the purist of political animals, maybe politics is his religion.

          Here he is the most powerful man in the entire world….and he says, as if it’s nothing to be ashamed of….that politicians won’t take ‘political risk’ unless someone ‘makes them’. ……even on glaring injustices like I/P that everyone in the universe knows is morally, legally, wrong.

          Here the US, the land of slavery, voted a black man into the most powerful office in the world, what I call a outstanding example of the US ideals finally come true…and what has he done?….where’s the ‘big’ courageous act to mark this honor and faith bestowed on him?…..where’s a Lincoln risk?

          The public believed his ‘passionate warrior reformer’ campaign….but it was false advertising.

      • mcohen says:

        american

        you confusing the horse with the chicken.

        israel is only one small slice of what is going on in america.

        this is not about who identifies with what,this is a jewish problem that american jews are trying to solve with the help of an american president

        small stuff compared to china or russia even europe.

        • small stuff compared to china or russia even europe.

          not really. the israeli pressure on the US is to invade iran. before that it was iraq. we’re borrowed trillions from china to fight ME wars. the day israel can be separated from our FP decisions and actions is the day there is no lobby writing congressional legislation.

        • American says:

          mcohen says:
          March 24, 2013 at 12:10 am

          american

          you confusing the horse with the chicken”>>>>>

          No I’m not…as I said I’m just ‘speculating’ on if any ‘personal” feelings Obama may have influence him…because he is NOT CONSISTENT in how he views the oppressed or victimized. He appears to have more sympathy for the ‘past’ Jewish story than the ‘present’ Palestine story.

          Speculating is speculating, not pronouncing it as ‘the’ explanation.
          Maybe his UNEVENESS AND INCONSISTENCY it is purely political.
          Which makes him even worse imo.

          However it doesn’t matter why really—–bottom line he’s not doing anything for Palestine or for America with his unconditional Israel donkeying.
          It’s disgusting.

        • American says:

          mcohen says:

          “this is not about who identifies with what,this is a jewish problem that american jews are trying to solve with the help of an american president”>>>>

          Yes it is a Jewish problem….that has been made into a problem for all Americans.
          And many Americans don’t like the way American Jews are ‘trying to solve it”…..specifically the delusion of the so called liberal Zionist who demand the US “save Israel” while still catering to it’s every demand.
          That will never work.
          The US need to get out of the business of supporting Israel..and ‘then’ leave Israel to the Jews to save or solve.
          That ‘might’ work…’necessity’ being the mother of invention…the sink or swim option.

        • hophmi says:

          “not really. the israeli pressure on the US is to invade iran. before that it was iraq. ”

          The President and Vice-President of the US had nothing to do with it, right, Annie?

      • hophmi says:

        “The Jewish donors put Obama in office to begin with , in his very first campaign for office and he’s sticking with them.”

        Sigh. I’d say the American people did, considering that he got the most votes in history. But you’re obsessed with the Jews.

        “And perhaps he believes WASP,whites,anglos were the original oppressors/enemy of blacks and therefore he identifies with the Jews more so than Americans.”

        Or, maybe, it’s as he said: Jews were actively involved in the civil rights movement as activists, marchers, lawyers, and so on.

        “He’s done nothing to make America, the country, “more honorable” than it was during Bush. ..quite the opposite. He really doesn’t have any sense of this country I don’t think.”

        It’s funny. I think you have no clue what the country is about. Because if you did, you wouldn’t write the stuff you write.

        “Maybe that explains him…he’s grateful to or credits the Jews for his opportunities and success but doesn’t give America the country or Americans as people any credit for it.”

        Yeah, that must be it. So you’re what, one of those neandercons? Paleocon seems too progressive for you.

        How about you do a search of Obama’s speeches and see how many times he’s talked about how great a place America is? Or you could continue to be Pat Buchanan minus the intelligence.

  2. MK_Ultra says:

    That Obama is using his daughters are political fodder shows how despicable he is and how nothing is too low or too sacred for him to exploit for personal political gain. In case you’ve forgotten, he also used his daughters to make jokes about drones while hypocritically using them as examples in the Sandy Hook massacre speech, leaving one to wonder if he also hugs them tight at night when he’s blown to pieces an entire village full of children in Pakistan or Afghanistan. The guy nauseates me!

    At a White House Correspondents’ Dinner in May 2010, President Obama noted that in the audience were the Jonas brothers.

    “Sasha and Malia are huge fans,” he said, “but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming.”

  3. Citizen says:

    So, Obama is asking the young of Israel to push for and back a peace plan not unfair to the Palestinians. But he himself will not come out against the illegal settlements —directly with the simultaneous spizza eating and dividing scenario as way of getting across to the world the most obvious unfairness. Obama could do this, but he has not done so–it’s all in his hands. He chooses not to be a real word ethical/moral leader. Good for the quality of his golf clubs, I guess. The guy’s very average. Not surprising, except he’s always campaigning for major change to correct the unfair power complextion of the world.

  4. American says:

    Politically, given the strong bipartisan support for Israel in America, the easiest thing for me to do would be to put this issue aside — just express unconditional support for whatever Israel decides to do — that would be the easiest political path. But I want you to know that I speak to you as a friend who is deeply concerned and committed to your future, and I ask you to consider three points. “>>>

    Wrong tactic….he should have said Americans are questioning the support they have given Israel for 65 years and the increasing amount of taxpayers money going to it every year with no progress and no indications of Israel’s ever making peace in the region or ending their occupation of Palestine, that oppression of another people goes against Americans values.

    • hophmi says:

      “Wrong tactic….he should have said Americans are questioning the support they have given Israel for 65 years and the increasing amount of taxpayers money going to it every year with no progress and no indications of Israel’s ever making peace in the region or ending their occupation of Palestine, that oppression of another people goes against Americans values.”

      Which Americans? The 4% who support Palestine? There is a small group questioning the US-Israel relationship, yes. But not enough for anyone to care. You should follow his advice. Build an actual coalition. Of course, that would at a minimum involve giving up your garden-variety antisemitism.

  5. jimmy says:

    i believed obama gets it to…just cannot aknowledge it

    just like the episode of west wing where the pres was advised not to put up a map from the 1700s that showed palestine without israel

    some people wouldnt like the advisors stated

    The West Wing – Holy Land Map

  6. Avi_G. says:

    And on our site, it falls to me to emphasize the positive

    Phil,

    Either I’m reading too much into this, or you’re insinuating that my evaluation of your stance on Libya in my comment yesterday stemmed from a natural inclination to be negative and view things negatively, regardless of minute positive progress here and there.

    If it’s the latter, then I think you’re being unfair and biased, vis-a-vis Libya.

  7. RE: “I think of the villages that hold peaceful protests because they understand the moral force of nonviolence. …” ~ Obama

    MY COMMENT: Israel will see to it that the Palestinian villages holding peaceful protests will do so only over many dead Palestinian bodies.

    SEE: “Netanyahu: Stupid Like a Fox?”, By Uri Avnery, Antiwar.com, 06/13/11

    [EXCERPT] Last week, there was a repeat performance. The Palestinians all around Israel have declared June 5 “Naksa” Day, to commemorate the “Setback” of 1967, when Israel spectacularly defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, reinforced by elements from the Iraqi and Saudi armies.
    This time, the Israeli army was prepared. The fence was reinforced and an anti-tank ditch dug in front of it. When the demonstrators tried to reach the fence—again near Majdal Shams—they were shot by sharpshooters. Some 22 were killed, and many dozens were wounded. The Palestinians report that people trying to rescue the wounded and retrieve the dead were also shot and killed.
    No doubt this was a deliberate tactic decided upon in advance by the army command after the Naqba Day fiasco and approved by Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. As was said quite openly, the Palestinians had to be taught a lesson they would not forget, so as to drive any idea of an unarmed mass action out of their minds.
    It is frighteningly reminiscent of events 10 years ago. After the first Intifada, in which stone-throwing youngsters and children won a moral victory that led to the Oslo agreement, our army conducted exercises in anticipation of a second Intifada. This broke out after the political disaster of Camp David, and the army was ready.
    The new [second] Intifada started with mass demonstrations of unarmed Palestinians. They were met by specially trained sharpshooters. Next to each sharpshooter stood an officer who pointed out the individuals who were to be shot because they looked like ringleaders: “The guy in the red shirt… Now the boy with the blue trousers…”
    The unarmed uprising broke down and was replaced by suicide bombers, roadside bombs, and other “terrorist” acts.
    With those our army was on familiar ground.
    I suspect very much that we are witnessing much the same thing once more. Again, specially trained sharpshooters are at work, directed by officers. . .

    SOURCE – link to original.antiwar.com

  8. Ramzi Jaber says:

    Oh my dear Phil, how much I wish you’re right!!! Yes, Obama MAYBE gets it but what is he gonna DO about it??? I just think it’s too little, too late.

    I give it 4-6 weeks, just in the faint hope that Obama told nutnyahoo to produce a map by then (not more talk or negotiations, we’re done with that), otherwise, the population and politics of Palestine must shift gear to demand equal rights under one state through non-violent resistance. After all, it is the only fair solution since two states means Palestine gets only 20% of our historic land.

    It is through the womb and not the bomb that we will win our right at the ballot box: one vote for each and every citizen in the DEMOCRATIC “State of the Holy Land”, whether s/he is Christian, Moslem, or Jew.

    That is the only FAIR, JUST, and LASTING solution given where we are today.

    • libra says:

      Another good post Ramzi. For me, yours is the clearest and most forward looking voice on Mondoweiss right now. I hope more Palestinians are coming to think the same way as you.

      I don’t get Phil’s obsession with Obama. Intellectually speaking, he seems to still be investing good money after bad in the man. After all, at best Obama is arguing, however weakly, for a 2-state solution through “negotiation”. Whereas at other times Phil himself seems to understand the time for this has passed.

      Ramzi, please keep pounding away. I think it helps enormously to have Palestinian voices calling for a single-state because really it’s something only the Palestinians can rightfully demand, the rest of us can only give support.

      And hopefully, some of your clarity will rub off on Phil. I’m waiting for strong editorial leadership on this issue so Mondoweiss can get back to being ahead of the curve on IP. Because if the future is to be a democratic single-state, then Mondoweiss surely has a role in preparing Jewish Americans for the change that is coming to their beloved (if only from a distance) Israel.

      • Ramzi Jaber says:

        libra, I am truly humbled by your support and very kind words. It is because of supporters like you, supporters of conviction and principles, that I know we will have peace eventually in one democratic state for all citizens of the State of the Holy Land.

        That may not happen in my lifetime but the one thing that keeps hope alive in my heart and my head is this: the arc of history always bends towards justice. Your support ensures that this arc does indeed bend towards justice. Thank you libra.

      • bintbiba says:

        Ditto , a heartfelt ditto, and double ditto!!

      • Kathleen says:

        Phil admittedly said early on that he jumped on the active Palestinian Solidarity bus in the run up to the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Taking note of how Israel, Aipac, PNAC etc had successfully pushed for the invasion. That he had some type of epiphany, a connecting of the dots in regard to what a destructive role the I lobby had and continues to play with their disproportionate influence and manipulation of U.S. foreign policy. An important transformation has been taking place in the American Jewish population which clearly seems necessary yet nothing at all has changed on the ground.

        My sense via his words is that not only had he found the unnecessary invasion of Iraq sickening that this pushed him to look more deeply into what was really taking place in the I/P conflict. Through more serious research he became morally horrified and mixed in there was his desire for the state of Israel to be maintained based on the 67 line. Visits to the area only confirmed what he was reading. Clearly Phil is morally outraged (which I do not think is the case for P Beinart at all) but is seems it took seeing apartheid to believe it. Which is not the case for many of us who have read about this racist situation for decades Only once do I remember read Phil writing one state, one person, one vote (but I am sure to have missed) Many here have referenced Mearsheimer ,Palestinians etc who have said the two state solution door was closed long ago. That the situation that has existed for decades is extremely racist and that Israel is an apartheid state. This is the reality on the ground. That as more people become aware of the facts on the ground the more isolated Israel will become. Obama did point at this situation in the speech Phil is mostly focused on. Mondoweiss is putting some serious cracks in the wall of silence that has existed in the U.S. for decades about this issue.
        I do think Obama was pointing right at the racism that permeates what has and continues to take place in his speech without having the cajones to say apartheid or really do anything about it. It does appear he has rolled over…..asking Abbas to come back to the table without supporting Abbas’s stand that all illegal settlement activity stop.

        • hophmi says:

          “Phil admittedly said early on that he jumped on the active Palestinian Solidarity bus in the run up to the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq.”

          Can somebody make Kathleen a t-shirt to wear that says “I was the first pro-Palestinian person ever” so she will stop feeling the need to play polisnobbery, that game where people try to prove that they were the first to adopt a political cause? You were first, Kathleen! We all prostrate ourselves before you!

        • Kathleen says:

          You can bet your ass that when I hear people claiming that a movement began with their involvement as I have heard Beinart, the Young Jewish and Proud folks, etc infer I will absolutely jump their claims.

          Have and will continue to do so.

          I will give credit where credit is due to those who were truly brave (not Peter Beinart who some here have claimed is “brave”) and out on the front lines of this issue decades ago long before any of us. Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Said, Ilan Pappe, Carter, Barghouti, Art Gish. And I do believe that the silence of American Jews for decades gave a stamp of approval to the crimes being committed that has been horrific.

          But what I have said above has nothing to do with that

          Hop know there is no hope that you will join the better late than never crowd because you are a true believer in crimes against humanity

  9. Krauss says:

    Okay, even if we take this (very charitable) interpretation on it’s face-value and accept it, it still means little as he also compared, as you said, his daughters to young people in a society which is incredibly racist.

    Remember all those polls that showed young Israeli Jews favoring to abolish democracy just a year ago? Those people didn’t change in an instant because they saw Obama whisk through for three days.

    I also think Obama knows this, so why is he comparing his daughters to the society that produces that kind of filth? He’s a coward. He just is.
    And as David Bromwich added on your frontpage story, he basically endorsed blood-and-soil nationalism of the old-European kind. That’s what Zionism is(a few Ethiopians for tokenism none-withstanding, now the remaining African Jews can hardly get in anymore and those who are already there are shunted aside inside Israel).

    Would Obama support a blood-and-soil white nationalist movement in America? Would he declare himself a ‘friend’ of such a concept? Well, no, but that’s because there isn’t a strong donor base for that concept.

    I’m only half-joking.

  10. dbroncos says:

    “…there was a time when my daughters could not expect to have the same opportunities in their own country as somebody else’s daughters. What’s true in the United States can be true here as well. We can make those changes, but we’re going to have to be determined.”

    Obama speaks as if he is among those who are determined enough to”make those changes.” Clearly he is not.

    “Politically, given the strong bipartisan support for Israel in America, the easiest thing for me to do would be to put this issue aside — just express unconditional support for whatever Israel decides to do — that would be the easiest political path.”

    Here, Obama speaks as if he hasn’t already chosen the path of least resistence and greatest reward – that being unconditional support for Israel.

    “And let me say this as a politician — I can promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see. (Applause.) Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.”

    Ordinary people in America have at least a modest expectation that their elected leaders will lead and that leadership involves risk taking and making some tough choices. Where have we seen this from Obama on any issue?

    Obama gives good speeches from time to time. What else has he done that we can point to and say, “Now that is progress!”

  11. sardelapasti says:

    Phil – There is NOTHING positive in what you wrote.
    All these words (and, mark that, just fleeting words contradicted by the acts; also words that should have been said to the Zionist butcher govenment spoken instead to the Palestinian side!) are exactly what, to develop the very apt analogy by Citizen, any corporate lawyer for Blue Cross would have said to the cancer treatment patient illegally refused treatment.
    Once more: Obama’s owners are the Zionist lobby (and, the persons involved remaining in large part the same, the military-industrial complex) and he is fully their lawyer. Don’t overdo that My-Party-Right-or-Wrong identity.

  12. If Obama “gets it” or not is irrelevent. What matters is what he does and he has made it fairly clear that what he isn’t planning on doing anything differently. If he secretly feels like he should be doing more for the Palestinians but takes every action to screw them over because it is politically convient then it is the action that matters, not the feeling. He is correct though, in that ignoring the situation is politically the best move for him. He will do not so because he is an evil man who wants to savage Palestinains for lulz but because it makes sense for his own career and agenda. To take a line from Dune, you can’t truly blame him for this, only despise him.

  13. Keith says:

    PHIL- So you place great stock in what Obama says, ignoring what he does, and you find great meaning in meaningless bromides and ambiguities? So this proven liar and imperial militarist, Wall Street’s lawyer in the White House, continues to have great appeal for you, gives you hope? Have you established your liberal bona fides or what? Jeez, I hope you get some job offers out of this.

  14. yourstruly says:

    it’s not whether obama gets it

    but whether he does anything about it

    if he does he’s doing his job

    if he doesn’t he’s a fraud & a weakling

    for which, alas, there’s already ample evidence

    • paabrhm says:

      Amen. Amen. Amen.

      The power IS in his hands should he choose to use it. No more US tax dollars either directly via the Treasury or indirectly via tax deductions for Israel and its supporter/enablers.

  15. doug says:

    It’s hard to imagine any other figure in American politics expecting to remain in power that would say even as much as Obama did. And that’s a very sad state of affairs.

    Let’s face facts. Nothing more is going to happen without a significant change in Congress. That’s where the effort needs to be now. Not holding my breath.

    • kalithea says:

      “It’s hard to imagine any other figure in American politics expecting to remain in power that would say even as much as Obama did. ”

      As much? You set the bar low, don’t you think?

  16. Obama “gets it”?

    WOW!

  17. CarlK says:

    Obama “gets it”? How many times must one listen to an Obama speech, only to see his actions betray everything he said in the speech — how many times must this happen to understand that nothing Obama says means anything? Furthermore, the most important aspect of Obama’s speech was analyzed by Professor Bromwich in the lead article — Obama has now explicitly embraces Zionism, that is, the horribly destructive idea that political rights are based on ethnic identity. Notwithstanding the speech, we already know what will happen — nothing will change, which means, more settlements, and more misery for the non-Jewish people of Palestine. Obama is a fraud, a Trojan horse.

    Finally, who cares what Obama says? Another thing we know is this: For there to be ANY progress toward justice, it will come not because of but despite the best efforts of politicians like Obama to stop it. Agonizing over the interpretation of an Obama speech is a complete waste of time, especially when it comes to the Middle East. Obama is irrelevant.

    • tree says:

      That’s our Phil, digging through all the horse crap, desperately searching for the pony that must be there somewhere! Pollyanna would be proud. ( I say this a a recovering Pollyanna myself.)

      • CarlK says:

        I’m not dumping on Phil, by the way. I have been taken in by Obama’s speechifying in the past. In fact, I voted for him in 2008 largely based on his speech on race, delivered in Philadelphia after the Rev. Wright incident. If there’s one thing Obama has taught us over the past four years, it’s that his words should not be taken seriously, because they are always based on short-term expediency rather than conviction or commitment. At this point, it’s doubtful that ANY American President could change America’s course, but with Obama, a quintessential political coward, it’s out of the question. I am ashamed of my 2008 vote.

    • joemowrey says:

      Carl K is absolutely correct. Nothing Obama says means anything, other than that he is a very skilled and articulate liar. And most importantly, as Carl says, agonizing over the lies Obama tells so easily and with such conviction is truly a waste of time.

    • Donald says:

      “Obama “gets it”? How many times must one listen to an Obama speech, only to see his actions betray everything he said in the speech — how many times must this happen to understand that nothing Obama says means anything? ”

      Sums it up nicely. I don’t doubt Obama is an intelligent man and I’m sure he understands the truth behind the conflict. But one slight correction–in another thread I just quoted from Obama’s famous speech on race in the 2008 campaign, where he says this–

      “But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.”

      Those are the words of a man seeking the Presidency, the words of a man who who was friends with Rashid Khalidi and knew Ali Abunimah. He knew better, but lied to our faces in one of the most widely praised speeches of his career. And what he said there was a pretty strong indicator of what sort of foreign policy he would have in the Middle East. Sometimes you can trust what he says–you can trust him when he lies, because the pressures that make me lie are the same ones that will drive his policies.

  18. Erasmus says:

    Obama : …” And let me say this as a politician — I can promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks….”

    And I am ONE of THESE……

  19. radkelt says:

    Perhaps I need help here to stop hyperventilating. Did
    de’prez not say that the Pals should stop whining about
    the settlements? assume the compliant position?
    Has the Empire renounced international, as well as
    domestic law? Disregard for the rule of law invites
    chaos and its tragic consequences.

    • kalithea says:

      I knowwww, pretty wonky around here today, right? It’s like the pod people took over. Maybe we should blame it on Passover, it seems when the tribe gets together for the holidays, the Zionists start influencing those that are sitting on the fence.

  20. pabelmont says:

    “And let me say this as a politician — I can promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see. (Applause.) Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.”

    FDR (or someone else) once told a lobbyist, “OK, you’ve persuaded me. Now pressure me.” Politicians always need a reason outside themselves to act, or at least permission, something. How can Obama (or any other politician) act agianst AIPAC without a huge showing of support to do so from someone else?

    Hispanics, perhaps? worked with Republicans. But in any bcase, a LOT of people, enough people to win elections. You can fight money with votes, but not without votes.

    • kalithea says:

      You do understand that Americans are not the type of people to fight other people’s battles unless of course there’s oil involved? Besides, the Zionist media gatekeepers ensure Americans are well-disinformed. Have you seen the polls lately on American support for Palestinians?

      Second, have you seen the polls in Israel? Have you seen the recent election results and what the shift to the right represents for Palestinians?

      Obama’s perfectly aware of the polls. He’s being totally disingenuous.

      That audience Obama was speaking to was a “select” bunch; and even the select Zionist liberals in Israel suffer from apathy and what is called the radical left in Israel represents a few thousand and in that crowd it was the lone person who shouted Rachel Corrie’s name.

      Sure they applauded the “people need to push” moment ’cause mostly they were star struck and seized by the moment. Obama’s a hypocrite; if he really heeded pressure by the people, on the left AND the right, he wouldn’t compromise Constitutional rights the way he has and that’s where he could have risked his political capital!

      As for Obama and his motivational speaking: he loves to rev up the crowd, loves the sound of his own voice and he’s full of hot air. Maybe after the Presidency he can go on tour with Tony Robbins and they can wow the crowds with their toothy smiles!

  21. Ira Glunts says:

    Ok. Obama gets credit for words that I did not expect. The guy is brilliant and so is his support team, all 600 of them. His Hebrew even sounded remarkably good, except for ha’aretz which everybody botches.

    Still the value of his words of empathy have to be judged in the context of his other words and actions.

    These are some things that struck me:

    Probably the biggest is Obama’s backing off US involvement. The pledge to the 25 Jewish leaders at the White House that he is not bringing any new initiatives, that the peace prospects now are “bleak,” and his statement that maybe in “6 months or a year” the climate for movement will be better. This tells me that Obama has been scared off by the Lobby, although I guess the whole trip speaks of the Pres. being afraid of the Lobby. Why else would he go, now?

    Obama strongly advocating the idea of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a very difficult item for the Palestinians to accept and with good reason. That’s why Netanyahu threw it out there in the Bar Ilan speech. The President be repeating this is not helping increase the chance or success of negotiations.

    One thing that I thought was very unObama-like was the condescending tone of his remarks to Abbas at Ramallah about entering negotiations without preconditions, i.e. forget about any settlement freeze. First, the freeze was Obama’s idea which he abandoned leaving Abbas in a very bad political situation. Why rub his face in it? Second, it is a reasonable demand which the President belittles at the risk of making his criticism of the settlements less believable. Finally, it has been reported that there are ongoing negotiations about compromising on the freeze and restarting negotiations. If this were true, declaring publicly that Abbas should drop the freeze demand is not an appropriate action for an “honest broker.”

    The now is not the time for peace, the recognition of the Jewish state and the negotiate without preconditions all are major Israeli talking points.

    All the talk about shared military and political concerns in the region makes me wonder if writing off Israel’s value to the American empire as a strategic asset may have been a bit premature. The possible growing military collaboration between the US and Israel in Syria, Iran, Lebanon and beyond is worrisome in the extreme and may provide another justification for postponing resolution of the Palestinian problem.

    I believe that the Obama that brought George Mitchell in as envoy, demanded a settlement freeze, spoke of settlements as illegitimate in Cairo and tangled with Netanyahu is gone. And we know why he left. If there is a third intifada, our President’s retreat will be listed as helping to bring it about.

    The tragic irony is that even if Obama tried to do what Clinton did at Camp David he would at best be presenting the Palestinians (maybe only those who live on the West Bank) a very, very difficult peace to accept — maybe an impossible one to accept (just as Clinton did). The talk about the death of the two state solution is not just a JStreet talking point, but, at the very least, a plausible view of the reality. So losing Obama may not be such a great loss. I only wish he would step out of the way and not be an obstacle to peace.

    I think that the dominant position among the Israeli elites at this time is to try to preserve the status quo indefinitely. I think Obama gets that and felt that he had not other choice but to get on their bandwagon. Too bad.

  22. GJB says:

    I’m glad to see your optimism, Phil. I, too, would like to see Obama’s speech in that light. One thing that fuels my optimism is that Obama, at his best, seems to master the art of saying one thing to mollify one constituency, while behind the scenes actually addressing another. In the recent Gaza war, he seems to have said the “right” words to publicly pacify Israel, while actually pressuring Netanyahu to negotiate and make concessions to Gaza. One would hope that his words of support to Israel in the first part of the trip might similarly be designed to publicly pacify the Israeli right wing, while perhaps applying behind the scenes pressure to freeze settlements or to take other actions.

    On the pessimistic side, even if he really does “get it”, given the facts on the ground it’s probably too late for a two state solution acceptable to the Palestinians (or anyone else interested in fairness and human rights). And I just can’t imagine Obama ever supporting a one state solution.

    • Sibiriak says:
      A 2SS is not possible. A fortiori, so is a 1SS. A 1 and 1/2S non-solution is in the cards. Confederation with Jordan and/or other states becomes a longer-term possibility– eventually even some kind of integration including Israel.

    • CarlK says:

      “One would hope that his words of support to Israel in the first part of the trip might similarly be designed to publicly pacify the Israeli right wing, while perhaps applying behind the scenes pressure to freeze settlements or to take other actions.”

      “Applying pressure behind the scenes”?

      Just last week I read this:

      The US has announced that it will boycott the UN debate on the settlements, and also said it was “extremely troubling” that the council would even hold a hearing, saying it proved “bias” against Israel.

      link to haaretz.com

      It’s hard to see how Obama might be applying pressure “behind the scene” when on the public stage, he won’t even allow the subject to be debated (because his side would lose the debate).

  23. Sin Nombre says:

    While Obama’s speech provides vast fodder for both praise and criticism it seems to me nobody is denying it was far more honest and *accurate* than we usually see. And one cannot doubt he has a good read on the American political situation. So what does that mean?

    First, that no, as officially as possible his administration at least is not going to pay any more attention to stopping settlement building beyond the pro-forma. He got his nose pushed in on same after Cairo and retreated from that position as clearly as imaginable since, and now it seems to me he’s essentially verbally affirmed same.

    Second, that no matter *what* Israel is turning into and almost no matter *what* it does that this doesn’t matter either: It’s political stranglehold on the U.S. is unbreakable and unshakeable and so the U.S. will always support it, period. And again you have to grant the man a good perspective on the American political scene in making this analysis.

    Third, that despite the First and Second points, it isn’t going to save Israel from continuing down its path. It might have the U.S. supporting it, but it and not the U.S. is going to bear the brunt of continuing its stupidities. (So ha ha ha.)

    Like it or not then, there it is, but instead of focusing all our attention on us or Israel it seems to me this means something for the Palestinians too, and that is … if not now, when? Given these declarations by Obama you know exactly where you stand with the U.S., so stop your Two-State talk or take the consequences which is no state.

    After all, we here constantly criticize Israel for not being willing to have its jews share statehood with anyone else. But to the extent that the Palestinians reject a One-State solution isn’t that exactly what *they* are doing too? Saying no no no they won’t abide rubbing shoulders as fellow citizens with jews?

    Well of course they are, and for me at least their time is up. Obama has spoken and their choice is clear. It’s now or never. Start agitating for a One-State solution or suffer the consequences, because without the U.S. you sure as hell ain’t getting your own state.

    Not that I expect many others will take this lesson away from this visit of Obama’s, but to me at least that’s it. At *some*point the Palestinians just simply have to grasp the nettle, and if they don’t do it now any sympathy I at least had for them has got to be tempered by reality: They aren’t children, nor are they stupid. Before ’48 at the most distant they never seem to have wanted a state of their own, and after ’48 and up until just a few decades ago they *did* want a One State solution. Well, now’s their chance, and anyone still sympathizing with their desire for their own “pure” Palestinian state has to explain why their sympathy doesn’t also extend to the Israelis to have their own “pure” jewish state.

    Time to view this thing differently, I think. To be just as narrow-eyed when it comes to the Palestinians as we are to the Israelis. And the longer the Palestinians wait now (forgetting even the question of what they could possibly *now* be waiting for?), not only is their own state possibility going into utter impossibility, the less likely they will even get to be part of a bi-national state on their homeland.

    Time’s up, Palestinians. Time to fish or get your bait cut for you.

    • Taxi says:

      Sin Nombre,
      You asking the Palestinians, after all they’ve been through, to just grin and bare the repeated gang-rape while tightly “grasping the nettle”? Get outta town!!!

      “without the U.S. you sure as hell ain’t getting your own state. ”
      This used to hold truth – but no more amigo. The region continues to change to the advantage of the Palestinians – the reasons are plenty and have been thoroughly dissected here in MW – read Apartheid growth, waning USA influence in the region, the rising popularity of regional resistance, the popularity of Pan Arabism and the Palestinian cause amongst the vast Arab youth – and all this despite the numerous distractions of the Arab Spring – not to forget here Iran’s growing sphere of power in the region, backed by China and Russia.

      I mean good grief, Sin Nombre, where have you been for the past eight years? Watching CNN in a bunker?

      Israel’s “facts on the ground” are changeable overnight – they can build all they want – bricks and mortar are NOT eternal! And “time” is on the side of Palestinians – no more on the side of the israelis as they slip further and further away from their so-called ‘desire for security’.

      The Palestinians didn’t endure some 65 years of daily brutalities and bereavements for you to swan in and tell them “Obama has spoken”!

      Who the eff are you and who the eff is Obama OVER THERE?!

      NOBODY is listening to you and to him. You’re both inconsequential to what the vast majority of the region wants, will continue wanting till they get it – with or without American consent.

      • Sin Nombre says:

        @ Taxi:

        You’re mistaking my belief in what I think the situation is with the erroneous belief that I think that’s what the situation should be.

        A question for you however given your belief that the Palestinians can still get their own state: Given that this has been the U.S.’s position for 45+ years and they still don’t have one, and the clear walking back from that position seen since Bush I got his nose pushed in trying to make even a little stink about same, and now what appears to be Obama’s *express” disavowal of interest in the issue, by just what mechanism do you see as forcing the Israelis into any substantial withdrawal from the occupied territories? At a time when the trajectory of things is that they are *still* expanding, *faster* than ever before, and now house close to 1/2 million people? Do you really believe the BDS movement—as obstructed and even made illegal by the U.S. which will surely do so—is going to force that withdrawal before the Israelis have gobbled all they want?

        Not that one *can’t* believe that, I just don’t see *how* one does.

        • Taxi says:

          Sin Nombre,

          There are two branches of resistance: non-violent and armed. Each has its value and worth and muscle. Each is a work-in-progress. Neither has been cast aside by the people in the region – but growing in support every day.

          Just because these two liberation movements are dismissed by the msm as being either too small to mention or terroristic doesn’t mean they ain’t growing in popularity. Especially the armed resistance.

          There’s not a single person I’ve randomly met in the middle east who doesn’t support BDS or armed resistance against the brutal zionists. And NODOBY believes America can help. This is the norm over there and it don’t look like they’re gonna be changing their minds any time soon.

        • sardelapasti says:

          Sin Nombre – “Do you really believe the BDS movement—as obstructed and even made illegal by the U.S. which will surely do so—is going to force that withdrawal before the Israelis have gobbled all they want?”

          Anything who believed that must be totally out of his mind. Boycott (and let’s drop the initialisms, this one is too close to BS) only helps people get informed, period. And no, neither the Zionists in Palestine nor the US Zionist Center are making any concessions (“ever” say they.) So of course we will inevitably go through something very violent, the exact shape of which is unpredictable. This doesn’t mean that working for boycott is secondary or useless.

  24. Ramzi Jaber says:

    Just finished going one more time through all that Obama said in occupied Palestine the past couple of days, searching for a glimmer of hope out of obama’s very dark zionist heart….. but alas…… It gets worse each time I read it, worse in that it is SO ZIONIST biased, it’s unreal.

    Not only he asked the aggrieved party to give up its rights and start talking AGAIN AFTER 46 YEARS OF NOTHING BUT ENDLESS TALK , give up our rights and a common sense request to ask the aggressor to stop raping the victim while the trial is going on!!!!!

    He also presented the need for a Palestinian state as a CHOICE for the Israelis to either make or not, it’s up to them and to their kindness. BUNCH. OF. CRAP. This is OUR INALIENABLE RIGHT. It is not a charity of the criminal zionists. It seems the constitutional professor forgot the US constitution. Or maybe he believes it does not apply to non-Jews???? Or maybe he JUST DISCOVERED that we are indeed human beings but children of a lesser God???

    How could a black man who knows first hand the suffering of the black people take such a stand. He should have taken the bus in Palestine from Ramallah to Beit-Lahem and did what Rosa Parks courageously did on principle. But no, he is the obedient slave of his AIPAC zionist masters.

    HOW PITIFUL. We are at the darkest depths of disillusionment.

    Onwards towards demanding our FULL rights in ONE DEMOCRATIC State of The Holy Land.

    • Sin Nombre says:

      Ramzi Jaber wrote:

      “Onwards towards demanding our FULL rights in ONE DEMOCRATIC State of The Holy Land.”

      Okay, Ramzi, except … just how much longer can the Palestinian people keep *from* demanding their democratic rights in one state and continue instead to demand their dominated own before you start equating them with the Israeli jews wanting their own jewish-dominated state?

      • talknic says:

        Sin Nombre “just how much longer can the Palestinian people keep *from* demanding their democratic rights in one state and continue instead to demand their dominated own before you start equating them with the Israeli jews wanting their own jewish-dominated state?

        There’s a vast difference. Jews were given completely gratis more than half the territory of ’47 Palestine. The Palestinians are rightfully asking for what remained of Palestine after Israel was declared, in fact far less than what remained of Palestine after Israel was declared.

      • Donald says:

        “before you start equating them with the Israeli jews wanting their own jewish-dominated state?”

        Not speaking for Ramzi, but for me the answer would be when Palestinians take over the entire land and force Jews out or into small enclaves. Until then, ordinary people living under occupation may express views that aren’t liberal and forgiving towards their occupiers and while I will be critical of that, I won’t go so far as to equate them to their occupiers. Particularly not when I help fund their oppressors.

      • Taxi says:

        Sin Nombre,

        Your convoluted hostility to the suffering Palestinians is a reflection of your alignment with the staggeringly unjust status quo.

        Why should any Palestinian give away an inch of their heritage to a bunch of supremist european colonialist – whatever religion they are?!

        You won’t like this fact but ‘peace talks’ are futile, whereas resistance isn’t. Not any more. We can even say resistance really began with the first Palestinian rocket that landed in tel aviv.

        • Taxi says:

          I’m suddenly seeing this trip as the kiss of death to the status quo.

        • Sin Nombre says:

          @talknic, Donald:

          Once again you are mistaking what I believe the situation is for the Palestinians for what you wrongly understand to be my belief is what situation they should be in.

          On the other hand I could have phrased things better.

          Regardless, with it being kept in mind that I don’t think the Palestinians’ situation is at all fair but that fate has nevertheless stuck them with same, I appreciate and even somewhat agree with Donald’s differentiation between the Palestinians’ desire for a Palestinian-dominated state and the Israelis for a jewish-dominated one, but my point was that I don’t think others do or will.

          That is, for what trouble the Israelis have in the rest of the world outside the U.S. and esp. with Europe which counts the most (with the U.S. not even caring and so giving them no trouble over same) for wanting a jewish-dominated state, I think their response that, after all, what the Palestinians want is just a mirror-image “judenrein” state has a lot of resonance. *Especially* in Europe.

          Enough resonance at least, to blunt any great European push for a Two-State solution, which it might be noted they weren’t even very prominently vocal about even when the *U.S.* was still pushing the hell out of it. (As opposed to now when Obama, at least to my ear, has said we’ve essentially given up.)

          As unfair as it might be as I said given Obama’s position it’s time for the Palestinians to grasp the nettle and start agitating for a One-State solution before even that’s too late. And while that unfairness perspective may occupy us now, history is just simply ruthlessly indifferent to those who unfairness overwhelms and who let the perfect be the enemy of the better.

  25. kalithea says:

    Oh, so Obama “gets it”? So basically you’re giving your approval to a speech that, above all, gives its blessing to Zionism and the Jewish State, as that’s what this speech does. Hello! He goes on and on about how “good” Zionism is: Zionists “made the desert bloom” and all that; they’re so prosperous; win Nobel prizes…blah-blah, because heck, they couldn’t be just as prosperous and win prizes on land that isn’t STO…LEN?! They’re so “goooood”; they capitalize on cheap Palestinian labor that travel in segregated transport to do their masters’ bidding and they exploit the poor occupied to build their illegal settlements and fine universities that cater to “prize-winning Zionists”. They’re “good” that way! Then after they pretend at being so good; these Zionist “good Samaritans” ration Palestinian families and suffocate their livelihood in the outdoor prison camp next door. That’s how “goooood” they really are! Cause Obama, he likes to see only the gooood in people…yeah!

    At least he had the “decency” to give a nod of compassion to the Palestinians–just so the drone lord can pretend he’s human after all. But did he go and witness the suffering with his own eyes and give those people real hope and recognition? No! Instead he gave them more lip-service in one measly paragraph and a proportional 3 minutes of his time in Ramallah. They’re but an afterthought in his opportunistic mind! And his comment in Ramallah is MEANINGLESS when he’s the one providing the FUNDING FOR TEAR GAS canisters and other weapons that protesters are maimed and murdered with!

    At least Bromwich’s perception on the backward tribalism Obama indulges is more in tune with reality. Obama endorses backward, selfish, exclusive group-think, clearly racist Zionism, and praises the accomplishments of Zionists to the high heavens. Then he throws in the ultimate Zionist meme: “you can’t negotiate with those trying to destroy you”, and conveniently leaves out that you can’t negotiate with those who are ETHNICALLY CLEANSING you from your land and slaughtering your children, and “he gets it”! Because he gave a nod to protesters while he supplies Zionists with the tools of oppression…yaaay, hooray! He gets it! (APPLAUSE)

    So once again you were bedazzled by Obama and his elitist, phony, divisive, and even racist, ideological claptrap? His discourse is thick with indulgence for the Zionist side, especially that part of the dinner speech you quoted that oozes with flattery, and believe me, that so-called irony; it’s totally lost on Zionists who have no concept of humility whatsoever. So what’s the point? All they get is: We Zionists, we’re just so perfect; and Obama really loves us! He really went out of his way to grovel for our love and now we love him back!

    Obama is up there in the clouds having a Zionist love-fest, schmoozing with Zionists and their just-for-propaganda beauty queen, feasting on expensive settlement grub and wine no doubt, while talking down with forked tongue to people suffering and enslaved in oppression for over 65 years!

    But wait! (drum roll please!): HE GETS IT!…your blessing!

    Unbelievable. It’s sad. The bar has just been lowered; Obama gets yet another pass; and this gets even more hopeless (if that’s even possible).

  26. Ira Glunts says:

    “As I said in my speech earlier today, this [Israeli] story — from slavery to salvation, of overcoming even the most overwhelming odds — is a message that’s inspired the world. And that includes Jewish Americans but also African Americans, who have so often had to deal with their own challenges, but with whom you have stood shoulder to shoulder.”

    From Obama dinner speech at Peres residence

    To whom does “you” refer? Obama is addressing an Israeli audience. Did the Israelis stand shoulder to shoulder with American Jews and African-Americans? It is an interesting slip of the tongue which seems to conflate Israelis and American Jews.

    Obama rarely makes verbal errors. Considering this probably was written in advance it is doubly odd.

    Who knows maybe the next speech Obama makes about Israel he will state that Israel is the nation of all Jewish people. This would, at least, explain the “you” reference above.

  27. Blank State says:

    Obama doesn’t “get” anything other than that which provides him with political gain. If on a myriad of other issues than Isr/Pal he exhibited any conviction or honesty, I might be closer to finding Phil’s optimism realistic or justified. But Obama, on a full range of issues has proven himself to be a huge disappointment, and in the middle east just as despicably murderous and dishonest as George Bush was. To accept or agree with Phil’s optimism one has to totally ignore Obama’s stance on drones, his continued use of renditions, his failure to condemn or even acknowledge Israel’s MURDER of an American citizen, the targeting and maiming of American citizens engaged in peaceful protest in B’iln, his expansion of our military adventures in the middle east into Yemen and covertly into Syria, his prolific use of signing statements and executive orders, his failure to investigate and indict the war criminals, torturers, and perjurers that comprised the “Bush Administration”…..on and on…etc…and in addition…need I go on?

    The man is a liar, a political opportunist, an utter and complete FRAUD who doesn’t even vaguely resemble the product that was so skillfully marketed so that he could slither his way into the Oval Office. Taken by itself, this crawling mewling pilgrimage to Israel might be seen as some sort of encouraging event. Obama’s minced words and nuanced “meanings” that Phil reads into this could almost be interpreted as the “understanding” that Phil wants to attribute to this feckless and insincere political coward. But all one need do is examine Obam’s history of the last four years to realize he is nothing more than a glib tongued con-man, a world class grifter. I feel for Phil, as he will be sorely dissappointed if he expects Obama to be anything other than what he has been throughout his tenure. Obama has already shown us all we need to know about tomorrow.

  28. mcohen says:

    if you read both speeches by obama in cairo 2009 and jerusalem 2013 they have had 3 main points which seem to correspond to each other.

    jerusalem speech

    1.peace is necessary
    2.peace is just
    3.peace is possible

    cairo speech

    1.The Holy Koran tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

    2.The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

    3.The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

    chomsky wore his hawaian shirt and surfed the wave of hurricane sandy.
    obama wore his white shirt and surfed the wave of sand .
    the hour glass has turned .

  29. biorabbi says:

    Warm words from a nice guy….

    link to qassam.ps

    • Citizen says:

      From the article biorabbi linked to:

      “Verbal theatrics

      To counter-balance, or perhaps blur his infatuation with Zionism, Obama indulged in some flimsy verbal theatrics about peace. He warned that Israel should allow for the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, citing the “unfavorable” demographic realities west of the River Jordan.

      However his often repeated and reasserted “iron-clad commitment to Israeli military supremacy” was construed in Israel as a clear green light to fly in the face of his advice since Israel would only receive carrots and more carrots but no sticks regardless of whether it heeded American warnings or demands.

      Indeed. For many decades, successive US administrations urged Israel to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians and refrain from expanding settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

      However, the same administrations signaled to Israel that no matter what Israel does or doesn’t, the Zionist state would still enjoy America’s unflinching support and backing. In other words, Israel learned not to take America’s warnings and demands seriously as defying the US carried no risks or negative ramifications for Israel.”

      Warm words indeed; they are hot truths. And not only does Obama “get it,” but so does Netanyahu.

    • Cliff says:

      What is that website and who is the author?

      And why are you looking at it?

    • Excellent article by Khalid Amayrah you linked to Biorabbi, thanks.. I don’t quite well get the headline but everything else is remarkably cogent.

  30. radkelt says:

    Sin Nombre,
    “After all, we here constantly criticize Israel for not being willing to have its jews share statehood with anyone else. But to the extent that the Palestinians reject a One-State solution isn’t that exactly what *they* are doing too? Saying no no no they won’t abide rubbing shoulders as fellow citizens with jews?”
    Comment disregards voices on both sides advocating for 1SS. Not to mention centuries of mutually synergistic, mutually beneficial cohabitation.
    “At *some*point the Palestinians just simply have to grasp the nettle, and if they don’t do it now any sympathy I at least had for them has got to be tempered by reality” Reminds me of 4th grade perceived wisdom “when rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it”
    “Palestinian state has to explain why their sympathy doesn’t also extend to the Israelis to have their own “pure” jewish state”.
    Because this pure Jewish State seems bent on eradicating any possibility of ethnic
    Palestinian survival.

    • Sin Nombre says:

      radkelt:

      (1)

      First, that’s fine that there are *some* voices on the Palestinian side advocating for a 1SS, but until at least the PA does so—or at least *some* Palestinian body with at least some legitimacy and significant following does I don’t see that mattering.

      Just to make clear, my point is really just sort of a prediction: That if the Palestinians—to a fairly en masse degree—don’t soon switch to that 1SS they are dooming themselves and will neither get their own (second) state alongside Israel, nor get equal rights in a different Israel.

      Not saying it’s right or fair or etc., just that same is my perception of the situation now, especially with Obama having said what he said. And I’d note that what I believe he effectively said—that the U.S. is no longer going to even bitch about the settlements nor even bitch about whatever non-democratic moves Israel makes or takes—is really just making explicit that which to only a slightly lesser degree has indeed been what the U.S. has been doing for a long time now. Thus, it has legs, and thus, having been made explicit, it’s going have even stronger legs with any imaginable Obama successors as a sort of official U.S. policy. Certainly there’s no Republican on the horizon (or on earth?) who is going to go out and be called harsher on Israel than Obama was. And Obama’s idea here is I believe going to be almost rapturously embraced by any succeeding Democrats too: “Just give Israel what it wants vis a vis the Palestinians, why fight that, and let it drive itself into a ditch; perfect.”

      Now of course as the situation deteriorates over there and there’s violence or even war *during* same the U.S. will of course serve as an even more abject Israeli lickspittle, afterwards the present situation will re-establish itself and will highlight once again the damage supporting Israel does to the U.S. And this might *temporarily* persuade this or that U.S. President to try to detour from Obama’s solution to this or that degree. But those detours have been tried before and never worked, so the political “smartness” of that formulation for our politicians will once again be made plain.

      Like I say, I think the major takeaway from Obama’s speech is indeed its U.S. significance: It is that political “solution” for U.S. Presidents.

      (2)

      Your “rape” analogy doesn’t seem to me to hold, even by your own lights: You seem to support a 1SS solution, so why is that akin to “rape” for the Palestinians?

      (3)

      As re the “Jewish State [being] bent on eradicating any possibility of ethnic Palestinian survival” being the difference between Israel and the Palestinians for a Palestinian-dominant state as I said in response to talknic, Donald and Taxi, I just don’t think that matters enough to those who matter now that the U.S. has essentially given up and said it will just always support Israel no matter what. I.e., the Euros especially.

      So, now that the U.S. has done that, and indeed despite the obstacles the U.S. will continue to throw up against any Euro move to push a 2SS, my point is that at some very early point in them doing so to any effect Israel is going to scream that they are endorsing a judenrein scheme. And that alone is enough to scald the Germans and the French especially to ignore the non-democratic nature of what Israel is ultimately wanting.

      Thus I think at best it’s a wash and you will *not* now in the wake of Obama’s declarations suddenly see anyone else including the Euros step in strongly try to force a 2SS on Israel.

      And thus again this is why I believe it is now that the Palestinians just simply must switch to a 1SS agitation, or lose everything. With same, there just *might* be enough support generated to get countries to push Israel on same, boycott it and etc. Maybe even get the U.S. pushing in that direction in some significantly short period of time. It’s exciting, it’s new, it’s logical, it’s totally democratic, it’s enticing in terms of settling this interminable conflict for everyone.

      But continuing down the 2SS for the Palestinians is worse than a dead-end for them I think: Wait too long and Israel will have arranged things so that not only is no 2SS solution is possible, but that it has irrevocably committed itself in a dozen ways to never being anything other than a jewish-dominated, non-democratic state.

      Just my analysis and prediction; that’s just where the logic of the situation takes me.

  31. Patrick says:

    Let’s concede that Obama is not obtuse and that he ‘gets it’. Yet, he also admits that he’ll do nothing concrete. And he also implicitly explains why: “political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks”. That statement is false; many political leaders have taken courageous stands that did have immediate popular backing. Yet, it’s a statement that does apply remarkably well to his own lily-livered presidency.

  32. Accentitude says:

    This sentence from his speech is quite telling: “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.” He could have just as well said that Palestinians have a right to build a state in their homeland, too. So why didn’t he? He’s a politician and as a politician, his words are always carefully chosen. He didn’t say this unintentionally.

  33. MRW says:

    At least Obama got certain ideas on the front page of the NYT, and on Fox News.

  34. Denis says:

    Phil: Do you think he fails to comprehend that Jim Crow is alive and well in Israel and Palestine? Of course he does:

    Of course he does what:
    A. fails to comprehend that Jim Crow is alive or
    B. comprehends that Jim Crow is alive

    Obama:

    But the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized. (Applause.)

    Reuters on the UN vote to upgrade Palestine from “entity” to “non-member state”, Nov29.12:

    The assembly approved the upgrade despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinians by withholding funds for the West Bank government.

    Sure . . . Obama gets it: Jim Crow is alive and well in Israel and Palestine, and that’s the way we’re gonna’ keep it.

  35. I agree with you, Phil. Wicked smart, and a world-class listener, [although too timid to the point of being craven by half]. He’s backed off from directly challenging AIPAC or the settlers, but he hasn’t backed off from his dream for a just and lasting peace. His handling of Netanyahu is so nuanced as to still deny full comprehension, but I believe he’s expediting the end of the Netanyahu administration, without having to cut his legs off personally. The shaky coalition will fall, and with it Netanyahu, who’ll have no one to blame but himself. And what replaces it is unlikely to have Likud’s existential-threat-hyperventilation as the foundation of its strength. Once that’s gone, the settlers who demand all of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing will become less popular, less strong, the ultra-Orthodox have already been jettisoned from power (although don’t ever count them out], and younger people with a vision for a good life no longer tainted by being international pariahs will be ascendant. Surely better prospects for an Israeli partner for peace.

    And what happens to AIPAC/J Street when the Likudniks are on history’s ashheap? What happens when America digests its increased education about how AIPAC and Congress have worked, and focus more of their outrage at Congress on those pulling on the nose-ring. I think there is likely to be movement in Israel aligned with the movement in the US Jewish community away from AIPAC/Likud/Neocon toward wanting a good life in Israel without being an international pariah.

    I think that’s the direction Obama has sought to move things. That he could walk through Israel as if on water while doing it is astounding.

    I read his back-handed and very disappointing treatment of the Palestinians like I read Lincoln’s paean to enforcing runaway slave laws in his first inaugural – distasteful political compromise necessary while treading water in a volatile situation, i.e., picking his battles, with an keen eye for the direction he wants to go.

  36. alfa says:

    Rami Khouri seems to be in close agreement in this article–
    snip- Following America is a dizzying endeavor March 23, 2013 12:37 AM By Rami G. Khouri

    chttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2013/Mar-23/211187-following-america-is-a-dizzying-endeavor.ashx#axzz2OR4g4daq

  37. What I find morally most disgusting about Obama’s stance is that he encourages ordinary people to take risks and even sacrifice their lives in the cause of social progress, while he himself is unwilling to risk anything and admits that he will do nothing until and unless public pressure forces him to. It would be so easy for him to take a stand and help cut short the agony, but he steadfastly refuses to do so. Or perhaps it is not so easy, because he has so deeply internalized his role as servant to his masters (the wealthiest people of his country) that the very thought of defying them fills him with terror? Well, it is only that type of black person they would have allowed to become president of the US.

  38. Phil,
    How can you be so deluded? There is less here than meets the eye.
    What Obama “gets” is that he had to spread some confusion during his trip to Israel, so that people like you will not understand that he has just caved-in and won’t even whisper that the settlements are, in fact, making any negotiated two-state solution impossible. He is now on board with Netanyahu’s expansionist plans.

    His talk is hot air; he wants to be seen by the world as caring about the Palestinians, while he aids the Israeli government in their theft of land, ethnic cleansing and routine killings of Palestinians.

    Obama supports everything Israel does and will do. He’s got their back. He’s not a neutral arbitrator ready to get both sides to deal. He is– by his DEEDS– on Israel’s side and against the Palestinians. Don’t be mislead by his WORDS.

    Is Netanyahu’s new post-election government weaker, and open to pressure? His Likud Party isn’t as dominant as before the last Israeli election, but the so-called center party of Lapid and the settler-nationalist party Bennett are in his government and they both loathe the Palestinians and won’t yield anything to them, just like Netanyahu.

    Obama wants to eat his cake and have it too. He’ll keep AIPAC at bay, satisfy Netanyahtu, hope he’s placated Abbas with some sweet talk, and throw rhetorical bones to soft-headed critics of his policies, figuring that they might chew on these phoney words, vainly seeking something good in them, thus making them shut up and not criticize him.

  39. seafoid says:

    “And let me say this as a politician — I can promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. ”

  40. Freija says:

    “And let me say this as a politician — I can promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see.
    OK, let’s push…
    we are warmely invited…
    we do not need AIPAC’s help nor the bribed congress
    we are the anonymous millions, with a big feeling of justice and dignity for all people of that earth…
    this is the time
    of marching to Palestine

  41. hophmi says:

    Perhaps you might comment on the fact that the kids Obama spoke to applauded what he said about the Palestinians. I wonder – if he gave a similar speech to Palestinian kids about coming to the table – would they applaud?

    • eljay says:

      >> Perhaps you might comment on the fact that the kids Obama spoke to applauded what he said about the Palestinians. I wonder – if he gave a similar speech to Palestinian kids about coming to the table – would they applaud?

      Dunno. Let’s completely switch the positions of the Israelis and the Palestinians for the next seven decades, then have the US prez give a similar speech and see what happens.

      Perhaps, like the Israelis of today, the Palestinians will feel comfortable enough in their American-backed supremacist state to politely applaud the nice man’s pleasantries.

    • Accentitude says:

      I bet that they would. Despite what you might think, Palestinian youth have been the biggest driving force for democracy, peace-building, and human rights recognition in Palestine. They’re also among the most socially conscious, politically active, well-educated Arabs in the Middle East.

  42. Blank State says:

    “I wonder – if he gave a similar speech to Palestinian kids about coming to the table – would they applaud?”

    Before or after your ilk quits stealing their land, shooting their fisherman, razing their orchards, imprisoning thier children, and flooding their villages with raw sewage?????

  43. Citizen says:

    John Stewart took aim at Obama’s trip to Israel. He pointed out Obama’s message basically merely repeated what US presidents have been saying for decades now, and he named those presidents and dated their similar speeches, and concluded “Talk is cheap, call me” when something actually changes in what the US does towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He also quipped, “WE are fu***** powerless!” Holding up a US dollar bill. On it George Washington speaks, saying the same rote rhetoric parroted by our serial POTUS array.
    link to haaretz.com