A reason for him to travel to Israel next month.
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For those unfamiliar with Israeli politics it should be noted that the position of President is a ceremonial one with no political power. But given that Peres has been a central figure in Israeli politics for over half a century his words still yield authority.
Now I am sure that Peres is reciprocating Obama for bestowing him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. Why wouldn’t two socialist heads of state honor one another? But I am also sure that Peres is honoring Obama to stick it in the eye of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres and Netanyahu are old political rivals and there is as little love lost between them as is there is between Obama and Netanyahu. When Netanyahu became Israel’s Prime Minister for the first time in 1996 it was Peres he defeated.
Late last year, during the Israeli election campaign, Peres ruffled feathers first by calling for the renewal of negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and then a day later suggested that Israel should initiate direct talks with Hamas. Last summer, Peres repeatedly said that Netanyahu should not attack Iran without consulting the United States. Translation: Netanyahu must not attack Iran without Obama’s permission.
While Peres is a fervent admirer of Obama, the same cannot be said for the Israeli populace at large. As it stands now, only 14 percent of Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel. Given how little Obama has endeared himself to the people of Israel it will be interesting to see if he will be greeted by protests not only when Peres honors him but from the moment he sets foot on Israeli soil.
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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