The Spectacle Blog

Obama’s Incoherence On Israel

By on 7.24.08 | 11:25AM

Even if you were to be as charitable as possible about Obama's stance toward Israel -- overlooking his stable of anti-Israel advisers and associations, his troubling past statements, and his blatant lie to AIPAC that he thought Jerusalem should be undivided (which demonstrates that he's perfectly willing to tell a pro-Israel audience what they want to hear even though he believes something different), what you're left with is a series of incoherent statements.

Obama takes an academic approach to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, recycling cliches like a high-minded panelist in a discussion on PBS. His statements are calibrated to show he understands the complexity of the situation, understands the concerns of both sides, and believes that the president should work toward a solution. This is par for the course for somebody seeking the presidency, but as a president actually setting policy, there would be no way for him to reconcile all of his statements.

In his press conference in Jordan, he said that "It is a very difficult process..." and "I think it's unrealistic to expect that a U.S. president alone can suddenly snap his fingers and bring about peace in this region. What a U.S. president can do is apply sustained energy and focus on the issues of the Israelis and the Palestinians. And I do believe that an ultimate resolution is going to involve two states standing side by side in peace and security, and that the Israelis and the Palestinians are going to both have to make compromises in order to arrive at that two-state solution."

The problem, he says, is that right now the Israeli government is weakened and the Palestinians are divided by Hamas and Fatah and thus are not in a position to make a "bold move" that would bring about peace. Despite this, Obama went to the West Bank and, according to the AP, "assured Abbas that he would quickly become engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and not waste time..." And in Israel, he met with Benjamin Netanyahu, and according to Bibi, they agreed that "the most pressing issue concerning the foreign policies of both countries must be to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons." Meanwhile, "he made clear to Israeli politicians that he would not pressure them to 'accept any kinds of concessions that would put their security at stake.'"

So, to sum up, here's Obama's policy on the region: he wants to press hard for peace talks between two leaders that aren't in a position to make the type of "bold moves" required for peace, he wouldn't pressure Israel into making any "bold move" that would compromise its security even though "the Israelis and the Palestinians are going to both have to make compromises," and he's going to "quickly become engaged" in the conflict, while he's dealing with the most pressing issue in the region -- preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

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