Friday, August 10, 2012

The President's Remarks of May 21, 2011 and why I am not voting for him

[a one-term President?]

This is an excerpt from a longer speech by Barack Obama.  Source is the White House website,  Emphases are of course mine.
We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state.  And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

These principles provide a foundation for negotiations.  Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met.  I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain:  the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. 

Now, let me say this:  Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table.  In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel. 
How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?  And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. 
The United States and our Quartet partners and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.  

[End of quote]

Note that most of what this President said were generalities but not proposals for any action.  

The concrete proposals he made for doing something were 
a) a return to the 1967 lines, 
b) phased withdrawal of Israeli forces, and 
c) that negotiations be under the aegis of the Quartet (the US, the EU, Russia and the UN) and the Arab states.

One indication of who the President's constituency for this policy might be is that it is identical with the so-called Saudi peace plan of 2002 which was endorsed by the Arab League Summit of 2002 and again by the Arab League Summit of 2007.    These are the "fair-minded neutral parties" who have twice invaded Israel, in 1947 and 1967, with the intention to destroy her.  The President has picked a side and it is not Israel's. 

Having adopted the Arab League's plan as his Middle East policy, it is hard to describe the situation as other than that the President has sided with the Arabs against Israel.  That is a reversal of the American Middle East policy for the past 65 years, a reversal of the policy of every President since FDR.

Calling this President a radical in domestic policy is wildly, unforgiveably, wrong, but calling him a radical for reversing a long-standing pillar of American foreign policy without debate, without even admitting he is doing it, is radical - and devious.

Two questions about a return to the 1967 lines - 

Why?  The Green Line, the demarcation line of the West Bank is not and never has been a border. It is merely the armistice line between the Royal Jordanian Army and Israeli forces in 1948.   The Palestinians weren't even involved.   The line was erased when Israel defeated the Arab invasion of 1967.  Why should that be the border?

More than 350,000 Israelis live in the West Bank.  How would driving them from their homes not be ethnic cleansing?  Wouldn't it be just as good a solution to drive the West Bank Palestinians out of their homes instead?  If expelling the West Bank Palestinians  would be ethnic cleansing, why wouldn't expelling West Bank Israelis also be?  Are Palestinians born with more rights than Israelis?

A “contiguous” Palestinian state - 

The two parts of Palestinian controlled territory, Gaza and the West Bank, have Israel between them.  Any corridor of land that connected them would necessarily divide Israel into two non-contiguous parts.   It would appear that this President believes that a future Palestinian state has a right to be contiguous, but Israel does not.

Presumably this is of a piece with the President’s notion that expelling Palestinians or anyone else from their homes en masse is ethnic cleansing, but expelling 350,000 Israelis from their homes somehow is not.

"Phased Withdrawal" -

Gaza - 

There has been a phased withdrawal of Israeli forces ever since the Oslo Accords in 1993.  Israel completely withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005.  Since then Gaza has been seized by Hamas, a fundamentalist Muslim group listed as a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union.  So far from getting peace and security in return for its withdrawal, Israel has been bombarded by tens of thousands of rockets launched from Gaza and aimed at civilians in its southern towns. 

To use this President's own language, "the effectiveness of security arrangements" has already been demonstrated and found wanting.  Gaza had been under Hamas rule for six years when the President made these remarks.  

No one living in southern Israel can see the President's policies as based on facts.  Clearly the President’s intention is political, not rational.  What is the constituency for whom the President’s remarks are intended?  It is certainly not Israel nor its friends.  

West Bank - 
There have long-since been phased Israeli withdrawals from large areas of the West Bank as well, particularly from heavily populated areas since the 1993 Oslo Accords.  This resulted in repeated suicide bombings in Israeli market places, on buses, at crowded restaurants, and even at family gatherings in which dozens of people were murdered.   

Having thus demonstrated the "effectiveness of security arrangements", the Palestinians and their friends abroad complained bitterly when Israel built a security barrier to funnel Palestinians seeking to enter Israeli-populated areas through checkpoints.   Since the completion of the security barrier, suicide bombings in Israel have almost stopped.  That is, "effectiveness of security arrangements has been demonstrated", not by cooperation with the Palestinians, but in spite of them. 

Palestinian intentions to destroy Israel - 

The President aptly phrased the issue as a question.  And supplied no answer.  He left it to the Palestinians to answer.  So far the answer from Hamas has been mass rallies in Gaza in which thousands of Palestinians shouted in unison, "Death to the Jews!" 

The answer from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has been to honor and give subsidies to the families of suicide bombers who murdered Israelis.  The town square in the city of Jenin has been named for a suicide bomber who murdered six Israelis. 

Finally, our Quartet Partners - 

One of our Quartet Partners, Russia, is currently defending the wanton massacres of the Syrian population by the regime of the dictator Bashar Al-Assad.  Moscow has stubbornly cast UN veto after UN veto to defend its client regime.  How much morality and justice is to be expected from Moscow is self-evident from that fact alone.   

A second member of the Justice League Four is another figure out of a comic book, the United Nations.  The General Assembly has over the years passed literally dozens of resolutions condemning Israel for everything and anything and for nothing.  During the same period, persistent Muslim regimes' support for terrorist attacks on Israel, Spain, Britain, Australia, Russia, the United States, the Philippines, Kenya, Tanzania, Argentina, and many other countries have gone literally without remark at the UN.   

The United Nations itself maintains the UNRRA, an organization devoted to keeping hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps for decades.  The UNRRA has stubbornly resisted all attempts to resettle the now fourth-generation "refugees" of a war that ended in 1948. 

The United Nations sponsored the scandalous Durban I and Durban II conferences which dropped the gossamer-thin pretense that the endless campaign against Israel is based on anything but hatred of Jews.  Their Jew-hatred became so explicit and reached such extremes that the UN official who organized the conferences was obliged to disown them.  The United States, Canada, and all the Western European countries walked out in protest.  Neither Russia nor China did. 

That is the UN and Russia.  It is not clear on what basis this President considers the Arab governments to be legitimate arbiters of peace between Israel and her enemies.  They ARE her enemies.  And that is where this President got his policies.  

Every word and every fact I have brought up here was well-known to President Obama as he delivered his remarks in the White House briefing room on May 21, 2011.  There is no reason to believe he has altered any of his positions. 

No one who loves peace or who loves justice should vote for his re-election.  I won't and you shouldn't.



  1. But I will and you should too. Regardless of the rhetoric, nothing will change as far as US middle east policy is concerned. However, with Ryan on the ticket, a Republican sweep in November could have drastic domestic implication, including the dismantling of Medicare and Social Security. Ideally these will be the issues that sink help sink the Republicans, but if enough one-issue democrats don't vote it could be a different story.

  2. Which is to say that Barack Obama is not to be believed when he announces policies that could be disastrous or even apocalyptic for Israel but Paul Ryan is to be believed when he announces budget policies that could be disastrous but not apocalyptic for the US? The Constitution gives the President sole power to conduct foreign and military policy. It also gives spending and budget power to Congress, not the President except to veto. Ryan, if elected, would be Vice-President whose sole power is to break ties in the Senate. Romney has already announced that Ryan's budget would not be his budget.

    As between a President unfriendly to Israel with full power to act on that unfriendliness, and a Vice-President with no power to do much of anything, the unfriendly President is far more to be feared.

  3. Ryan will not be a silent VP. I am sure he is only on the ticket because Romney agreed to push his budget. The biggest problem with this scenario is that Ryan is ambitious, motivated by ideals, and much smarter than Romney. MUCH MUCH smarter. He will have more control over Romney than Cheney had over Bush. With Ryan on the ticket, it is more important than ever to re-elect Obama.

  4. Bush had the enormous advantage and disadvantage of humility. Having been to Harvard as a legacy admission, he could not be unaware that he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Romney suffers from no such virtue. He actually believes that he became filthy rich because he is smart rather than because he is an amoral scumbag. He will listen to his fellow opportunist plutocrats, not idealistic reactionaries, not even Ryan.

  5. And now that Ryan has been exposed as a liar and hypocrite over the TARP money he applied for for his district, he is just a mindless reactionary with no principles, only prejudices. Now no one will listen to him, not even his Tea Party comrades.

  6. Christy2:59 PM