Posts Tagged ‘Israeli


stuck in the middle

….. with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

…. with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Sept 21


‘putting the u.s. in to a corner’

ThinkProgress: Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, during a Knesset debate ahead of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, characterized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition as engaging in “diplomatic stupidity” and warned that government’s position is putting “the United States into a corner.” She placed blame for the current predicament at Netanyahu’s feet, observing:

“The United States is making sure it won’t be singled out but how are we helping ourselves? We now need to initiate the political process. (Prime Minster Benjamin) Netanyahu tried to prevent this and now the Palestinians are at the United Nations.”

Livni emphasized the importance of Israel’s friendship with the U.S., especially in light of the growing regional isolation faced by the Jewish state. She warned:

“Next to all these enemies Israel has friends, and at the top of that list is United States, who is willing to guarantee Israel’s security. They don’t understand Israel’s policy, they don’t understand why the stubbornness over settlements, they don’t believe the prime minister of Israel when he says ‘two states’ but doesn’t do anything about it. And this saddens me because I am a citizen of the state.”

While blasting Netanyahu’s policies and his intransigence in the peace process, she urged him to reverse course and save an increasingly untenable Israeli position…..

Full article here

Thanks Fred

John Heilemann (NY Mag): Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now. Why is that so difficult for Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies to understand?

The last time Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu shared each other’s company, you could say that the encounter did not go well – if by “not well” you mean abysmally. This was on May 20, the day after Obama gave his big speech on the Arab Spring …. Obama was furious with Netanyahu, who in choosing to ignore the crucial qualifier about land swaps had twisted Obama’s words beyond recognition – the kind of mendacious misinterpretation that makes the presidential mental.

The senior most members of Obama’s team felt much the same. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, Bill Daley, the former Mideast-peace envoy George Mitchell: All were apoplectic with the prime minister, whose behavior over the past two years had already tried their patience…..

…. The premise of Obama’s approach to Israel all along has been straightforward. Given the demographic realities it faces …. our ally confronts a fundamental and fateful choice: It can remain democratic and lose its Jewish character; it can retain its Jewish character but become an apartheid state; or it can remain both Jewish and democratic, satisfy Palestinian national aspirations, facilitate efforts to contain Iran, alleviate the international opprobrium directed at it, and reap the enormous security and economic benefits of ending the conflict by taking up the task of the creation of a viable Palestinian state –  one based, yes, on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon land swaps, with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

The irony is that Obama – along with countless Israelis, members of the Jewish diaspora, and friends of Israel around the world – seems to grasp these realities and this choice more readily than Netanyahu does. “The first Jewish president?” Maybe not. But certainly a president every bit as pro-Israel as the country’s own prime minister – and, if you look from the proper angle, maybe even more so.

Full article here

Thanks Loriah


so, eh, is netanyahu an enemy of israel too?

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Huh. Netanyahu is now reportedly open to using the 1967 lines with swaps as the basis for negotiations, which is exactly what he pilloried Obama for (with the nodding approval of many craven Dems in Congress):

AP: In a dramatic policy shift, Israel’s prime minister has agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the cease-fire line that marks off the West Bank, a TV station reported Monday.

Up to now, Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to spell out his plan for negotiating the border. A senior Israeli official would not confirm outright that the prime minister was now willing to adopt the cease-fire line as a starting point, but said Israel was willing to try new formulas to restart peace talks based on a proposal made by President Barack Obama.

In a speech about the Middle East in May, Obama proposed negotiations based on the pre-1967 line with agreed swaps of territory between Israel and a Palestinian state. Netanyahu reacted angrily, insisting that Israel would not withdraw from all of the West Bank, though that was not what Obama proposed.

Now Netanyahu is basically accepting that framework, according to Channel 2 TV, offering to trade Israeli territory on its side of the line for West Bank land where its main settlements are located…..

More here



Aimée Kligman (Examiner): … a march organized by various peace groups and political parties of Israel…delivered 25,000 people in the streets of Central Tel Aviv in support of the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.

….The posters are worth a thousand words, especially the one showing President Barack Obama, and the words yes we ‘ken’ (ken means yes in Hebrew). Other posters in red show the year 1967 with either Hebrew or Arabic text under the year. Today, the pro-peace lobby group JStreet is jumping on the bandwagon, and offering a free Obama poster in the original English/Hebrew to all who support the US president’s vision of a two-state solution.

This show of support in Israel doesn’t come a moment too soon. Especially as critics and detractors of the President’s message distort the facts, in what they imagine to be unconditional support of Prime Minister’s Netanyahu and his position.

…An 80-year old woman, Professor Yenina Altman, came from Haifa to attend the rally. She said: ‘It’s important for me to express the desire to see the Palestinians independent. I came from Poland after my entire family perished. I had been in a ghetto and a concentration camp. I would like to have my country show respect for the Palestinians and recognize their right to an independent state just as we desired for ourselves.’

More here

Thank you hopefruit2


beyond belief…..

ThinkProgress: The Washington Post’s blogger Jennifer Rubin reports that the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel has a new ad accusing President Obama of “siding with the Palestinians” in his May 19 speech….

….Yet here’s what ECI’s own executive director Noah Pollak tweeted about the speech as it was happening:

So, first Pollak thought the line about the ’67 borders was no big deal ….. but then, when there was an opportunity to attack President Obama, the line about the ’67 borders magically became a dangerous betrayal of Israel. You really couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of bad faith.

One shouldn’t, of course, expect Jennifer Rubin herself to report any of this. In addition to being Pollak’s former colleague at Commentary, back in February Rubin took a trip to Israel, courtesy of the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Full post and video here


Rubin’s email address is – in case you’d like to question her about her less than honest reporting.


Comment of the Day – StR: “Maybe he’ll say his twitter was hacked.”



must lie harder, gop

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Ever since Obama delivered his Arab Spring speech, conservatives have been engaged in a full-throttle campaign to distort and outright falsify his stance on Israel – a comically transparent effort to drive Jewish support away from the President.

Conservatives predicted that Obama’s position – which they widely distorted as a call for a return to pre-1967 borders – would cost him the support of top Jewish donors. But The New York Observer talked to the donors themselves, and found that the whole thing is totally bogus…

…It was painfully obvious that this whole meme was highly questionable from the start … has a single actual major Jewish donor broken publicly with the President? If The Observer – which reports extensively on the world of big Jewish power Dems – is to be believed, the answer is No…

What’s more, it’s important to recall that the claim that Jews are on the verge of breaking with Obama has been a frequent refrain for literally years now. Back in 2008 there were reams of stories about how McCain would be able to make successful inroads with this core Democratic constituency. In the end, according to exit polls, Obama won around 78 percent of the Jewish vote.

Full article here

Thank you Proud & Suzanne


‘you are making us choose’

The Jewish Daily Forward: … President Obama’s May 19 speech outlining his administration’s response to the so-called Arab Spring contained a ringing defense of Israel’s continued security and a stinging rebuke to Hamas. Obama plainly defended Israel’s right to exist and its place in the community of nations…

But the president also stated out loud what every president over the last two decades and many Israeli officials have acknowledged: The borders of Israel before the 1967 war, before the 43-year occupation, are the starting point for negotiations with Palestinians. The starting point, not the conclusion, as Obama also called for “land swaps” that, again, have long been an accepted mechanism for dividing the contested land….

….. the stern conditions for peace talks that Netanyahu enunciated before Congress were framed in such a way to leave little diplomatic space for the Palestinians. His narrative placed all the blame on them for the current impasse … while he promised he’d make “far reaching compromises” in the interests of peace, it’s unclear what that could mean when so much is off the table.

…. Netanyahu’s defiant stance puts American Jews in a heart-wrenching conundrum. We can choose to support his view of the world, in which an aggrieved Israel bears no responsibility for the occupation and for the impasse in negotiations – and many American Jews will… Most American Jews don’t want further procrastination, but an end to the conflict, which has stained Israel’s moral standing in the way that occupation and continued violence inevitably do…

…here’s what Obama does embody in his insistence on a peace process: The quintessential idealism and optimism that undergirds the American personality, the “yes we can” feeling that is right now at odds with Israeli fatalism, along with a pragmatic approach to foreign policy that sees a much larger picture than Netanyahu does….

We want the Palestinian leadership to take bold steps to recognize a new reality and the need for compromise. Why shouldn’t we expect the same of Israeli leadership?

Most of us hoped that Netanyahu would have given a courageous, creative speech to move the process forward, safeguarding Israel’s security as he must, but also recognizing the cogent, entirely reasonable requests from the President of the United States.

You are making us choose, Mr. Prime Minister. Please don’t.

Full article here



Ynetnews: US President Barack Obama continues to be popular among American Jews – in fact 15% more popular than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a poll conducted by Israeli lobby J-Street….

According to the poll, Obama managed to maintain his popularity among 59% of American Jews  ….  In contrast, only 44% of American Jews continued to pledge their support to Netanyahu….

Pollster Jim Gerstein told Ynet the survey results prove that whoever thinks Jewish support of the American president has been declining is “detached from reality.”

….Obama’s approval among his Jewish constituencies continues to be higher by 15% than that of the general public. The pollster added that Israel’s declaration of construction in Jerusalem annoyed not only Obama but also American Jews, who thought Israel’s behavior was inadequate based on its close relations with the US…..

Full article here

AFP: The majority of Israelis believe their prime minister should have supported US President Barack Obama’s outline for new peace talks with the Palestinians, according to a poll published Wednesday.

The survey, published in the Maariv newspaper, found 10 percent of Israelis thought Benjamin Netanyahu should have “declared his support for the president’s remarks with no reservations.”

Another 46.8 percent said the Israeli leader should have expressed support “but with reservations,” while 36.7 percent said Netanyahu should have declared his opposition to Obama’s principles for the peace process…..

Thank you Proud & Carole


the aipac speech

President Barack Obama arrives to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington, May 22

White House video:

*** Text of address here ***

Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic): President Obama gave a very good speech to AIPAC: Tough on Hamas, tough on Iran, but also somewhat tough on Israeli procrastination.

He understands Israel’s dilemma in the same way Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin understood their country’s dilemma. Israel needs to find a way to maintain its democratic nature and its Jewish majority.

Only compromise on the West Bank — yes, a return to 1967 borders, with some obvious adjustments (and the President was much more clear today than he was on Thursday on what the term “land-swap” means) will help Israel maintain itself as a Jewish democracy, and will protect it from becoming an international pariah.

And by the way, Israel’s biggest and most effective defender on the international stage in the coming months will be… Barack Obama. He made that crystal-clear. He opposes the unilateral bid for Palestinian independence in a very forthright way. Now it is up to Prime Minister Netanyahu to listen to Israel’s friend in the White House.


‘A Proud Day For Obama’

Josh Marshall (TPM): Sticks to commitment to policies that will secure Israel’s future, even at the expense of opportunistic attacks and political controversy.

Obliquely and with respect to his audience, in his speech to AIPAC today, President Obama also responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repeated lies about what President Obama said only the day before.

Just as no man is an island, no country can be either. On its present course Israel is on its way to becoming a pariah state, a status in which it cannot indefinitely or even perhaps long survive…..

….Netanyahu believes that US power is forever and that the US political consensus to support Israel in almost any policy choice it makes will never change. So he can simply ignore the currents of history and international affairs and thumb his nose at every other country in the world. But neither is true.

…The occupation itself represents the true existential threat to Israel. Most who don’t have a profound and over-riding ideological commitment to maintaining a state in all of historic Palestine get this. That’s why even someone like Tzipi Livni, a former member of the Likud and someone from a Revisionist family, realized that partition is the only viable path forward.

For me this is the key issue. Justice, peace … you don’t even need to get to those agenda items. The simple reality is that Israel needs partition for its survival, more really than any of the other parties to the controversy.

Full post here


‘jeopardizing israel’s relationship with u.s.’

Jerusalem, July 2008

Jerusalem Post: Opposition leader Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday for “harming the relationship” between Israel and the US.

“Netanyahu spoke about consensus,” Livni said, “and if there is a consensus in Israel, it’s that the relationship with the US is essential to Israel, and a prime minister that harms the relationship with the US over something unsubstantial is harming Israel’s security and deterrence.” Livni added that such a prime minister should resign. “I am saying this loud and clear.”

“Israel’s deterrence and legitimacy in the world is directly connected to our relationship with the greatest power in the world, the US,” Livni said.

She explained that Obama’s speech on Thursday “is not reason enough” to challenge the US, and said that Netanyahu’s statements were political and meant to maintain the coalition.

“An American president that supports the two-state vision is representing Israeli interests and is not anti-Israel,” Livni said. The only way to stop the Palestinians from unilaterally declaring statehood, Livni explained, is to have the US “convince states that plan to support the decision not to do so, but to support negotiations.”


President Obama will deliver his AIPAC address at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Sunday, at 10:35 a.m


‘a titanic struggle between fear and hope’

Andrew Sullivan: …I saw nothing that new in the president’s speech on Israel-Palestine – just a minimal request directed to both sides based on a settlement everyone knows is the only equitable one, and that has been the cornerstone of US policy for a very long time. But the rank hysteria that immediately sprang from Jerusalem and quickly enveloped the far-right-wing-media-industrial-complex, revealed far more plainly than before that the gulf between Israel and the rest of the world is simply vast.

It appears that the maximum Netanyahu would allow in any two state solution are some kind of autonomous bantustans in the West Bank, surrounded by Israeli military and security forces and buffered at the Jordan border with IDF troops … If this is Israel’s bottom line, there will be no peace, and there should be no peace, because of the rank injustice of this non-solution.

….Netanyahu is no longer on the Israeli fringe … there is very solid and wide support in Israel for such a maximalist position, and in America, this is what most of the American Jewish Establishment has fatefully backed.

What strikes me is the visceral and emotional power behind the AIPAC line, displayed in Netanyahu’s contemptuous, disgraceful, desperate public dressing down of the American president in the White House.

Just observe the tone of Netanyahu’s voice, and the Cheney-like determination to impose his will on the world, regardless of anyone else, and certainly without the slightest concern for his ally’s wider foreign policy and security needs … Has Netanyahu ever asked, one wonders, what he could actually do to help Obama, president of Israel’s oldest, and strongest ally in an era of enormous social and political change?

…Netanyahu’s current position means that the US is supposed to sacrifice its broader goals of reconciliation with an emergent democratic Arab world ..he wants the US to clasp itself to Israel’s total distrust of every Arab state and population in an era where it is vital for the US to do exactly the opposite.

And it is absurd not to notice Obama’s even-handedness. It’s clear he won’t legitimize Hamas until Hamas legitimizes itself by acknowledging Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and dropping its virulent, violent anti-Semitism … Like any US president, he is committed to Israel’s security and is, indeed, vital to it. But all he asks is a good faith attempt by the Israelis to acknowledge that their future state has to be based on the 1967 lines with landswaps. Indefensible? Says who?….

And no one seems to appreciate Obama’s political courage in all this. Obama seems to understand that an equitable two-state solution is a key crucible for the change he is seeking with respect to the Muslim world … With each month in office, he has pursued this, through humiliation after humiliation from the Israelis, who are openly trying to lobby the press, media, political parties and Congress to isolate this president and destroy his vision for peace and the historic and generational potential his presidency still promises. To achieve this, he has to face down the apocalyptic Christianist right, the entire FNC-RNC media machine, a sizable chunk of his party’s financial base, and the US Congress. And yet on he pushes – civilly, rationally, patiently.

This really is a titanic struggle between fear and hope…..

Full magnificent article here

Thank you LoriahR



AFP: Key global players Friday backed US President Barack Obama’s call for a Palestinian state including land lost in the 1967 war as Israel insisted there could be no return to “indefensible” borders.

…The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, which includes the European Union, the United Nations, the United States and Russia, expressed “strong support” for Obama’s statement that a Palestinian state should include land that Israel has occupied since the 1967 war.

“The Quartet agrees that moving forward on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a final resolution of the conflict through serious and substantive negotiations and mutual agreement on all core issues,” it said.

…EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton “warmly welcomes President Obama’s confirmation that the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines,” a spokeswoman said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Obama’s speech was “a very important message for the Middle East peace process” and the proposal “a good path that both sides should consider”.

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he supported Obama’s “clear message that the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”

…In the Arab world, Jordan hailed the American president who it said “for the first time clearly spoke of his vision for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and which must enjoy autonomy.”

…Syria’s official SANA news agency said Obama’s speech offered nothing new but “reaffirmed the deep-rooted and unwavering support for Israel’s security.”

Alone in outright condemnation, Iran slammed Obama’s statement as a sign of “despair” …. Iran does not recognise Israel’s right to exist.

Full article here

Thank you LoriahR


You gotta love the fact that both Netanyahu and Iran hated the President’s speech …. kind of suggests he got it just right ;-)


‘bibi’s white house tantrum’

Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): Netanyahu’s rejection of Obama’s Mideast speech underestimated the president’s strength – and could hasten the Israeli leader’s political demise…

Bibi Netanyahu could have reacted any number of ways to Barack Obama’s mention of the “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” Let’s say, actually, four ways: embrace, circumspection, suspicion, tantrum. That he chose the last tells us a lot about the man’s shortcomings and (lack of) political instincts. All political is local, and Netanyahu undoubtedly scored points with his Likud base back home. But he has a base here in America too, and I think he misjudged that base badly.

…His behavior these last 48 hours has verged on, if not been, petulant. A foreign leader (no less one of a state whose existence depends on the United States) isn’t supposed to talk like that to a president. Add to the bargain: Obama’s a stronger president now on foreign affairs than he was in 2009, partly because of the bin Laden coup and partly because the speech was generally well received across the American political spectrum.

The criticisms of Obama on the borders statement have been entirely partisan, led by Republican presidential candidates. That has had the effect of cheapening the criticism of Obama and making it more dismissible: Do Americans, and Israelis and Palestinians, really care what Tim Pawlenty thinks about the situation?

The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman, never shy about criticizing the administration on these matters …. judged the speech a defense of Israel …. This may be a sign that the usual cordon won’t hold around Bibi this time.

…things have changed. Two years ago, politically speaking, time was on Netanyahu’s side. Now it’s against him. Having thrown this tantrum, it seems unlikely that he can come back in two weeks, or two months, or a year, and say gee, the ’67 borders with swaps is actually a good idea after all. It seems like the peace process will have to wait for a new prime minister. And he may have hastened that day, too.

Full article here

Thank you Loriah



President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office at the White House, May 20

President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as they walk from the Oval Office to the South Lawn Drive of the White House, following their meetings, May 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office, May 18, 2009

Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic): …I was taken aback when I read a statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday that he “expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both House of Congress.”

So Netanyahu “expects” to hear this from the President of the United States? And if President Obama doesn’t walk back the speech, what will Netanyahu do? Will he cut off Israeli military aid to the U.S.? Will he cease to fight for the U.S. in the United Nations, and in the many  international forums that treat Israel as a pariah?

I don’t like this word, “expect”. Even if there weren’t an imbalance between these two countries – Israel depends on the U.S. for its survival, while America, I imagine, would continue to exist even if Israel ceased to exist – I would find myself feeling resentful about the way Netanyahu speaks about our President.

….he threw something of a hissy fit. It was not appropriate, and more to the point, it was not tactically wise … Prime Minister Netanyahu needs the support of President Obama in order to confront the greatest danger Israel has ever faced: the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran. And yet he seems to go out of his way to alienate the President. Why does he do this? It’s a mystery to me.

Full post here

Thank you LoriahR

Also from Jeffrey Goldberg:….Republicans are misreading Obama’s speech for short-term political gain. But they’re doing the cause they ostensibly support – Israel – a disservice in the process. Because President Obama’s speech was enthusiastically pro-Israel …

Here’s Tim Pawlenty on the speech, misreading a crucial passage: “President Obama’s insistence on a return to the 1967 borders is a mistaken and very dangerous demand….”

President Obama didn’t “insist” that Israel return to its 1967 borders. He said the 1967 borders should form the basis of negotiations, and that Israel and Palestine should swap land, land swaps that would bring settlement blocs and East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods into Israel proper.

But Pawlenty is a master of subtlety when compared to Mitt Romney, who said: “President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus……”

Obama has thrown Israel under a bus? Top officials of the Israeli defense ministry have been telling me, and other reporters, for a couple of years now that military cooperation between their country and America has never been better. Some bus. There are a lot of countries out there that would like to be thrown under similar buses.

Full post here







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