They’ve both been screwed over by unofficial U.S. statements or agreements.

Prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Sadaam Hussein met with the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie. When asked what the U.S. would do if Iraq’s conflict with Kuwait would escalate, he was assured by Ms. Glaspie that the U.S. did not involve itself and had “no opinion on the “[Arab-]Arab affairs [conflicts].” In essence, Glaspie gave Sadaam a green-light on attacking Kuwait. Obviously, when the U.S. then threatened that should Iraq not cease his actions against Kuwait that the U.S. would take military action against it, Sadaam did not believe that this was anything more than hyperbole, as he had been essentially assured in a private meeting that his actions were approved. Boy was he surprised then when the U.S. wasn’t bluffing and actually attacked.

Well, more recently it’s become Israel’s turn. During the Bush-Sharon period, letters between the two acknowledged that the final status agreements would not be along the lines of prior to 1967 (i.e. the 1949 armistice lines), but rather would be tweaked here and there. Moreover, while there would be limitations of settlements, there was no understanding that such limitations included an end to natural growth of substantial West Bank population centers. Yet, Ms. Clinton claims that there was not a “memorialization of any informal and oral agreements,” and as such the U.S. is not bound by such agreements.

I am an American. I am proud to be an American. However, it is much to my dismay that the lesson being taught by the U.S. government is: unless you get the U.S. to sign something on the White House lawn with tons of media around, don’t trust the U.S. government at its word.

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dahlia

38 Comments

  • It’s great that Israel and the Palestinians are now held to the same standard: when you sign something public with tons of media around (like an agreement to halt settlements including natural growth, such as the Road Map), you better stick to it!

    I know many folks are not comfortable with this new emphasis on fairness between sides. It feels unfair. I assure you, this is fairness. Where both sides are expected to fulfill their obligations and written agreements is where we’ll actually build trust.

    If anybody ever wondered why Palestinians are so angry, it’s because Israel got away with breaking the agreements (building settlements) while the PA was punished despite making progress on theirs.

    But for those who feel angry at the U.S. for insisting on even-handedness, don’t worry. It’s not the State of Israel who is making life difficult, just the policies of Bibi Netanyahu.

  • Making progress on theirs?

    Can you lie some more.

    They didn’t make any progress. Israel’s intelligence services, the Security Fence, the roadblocks, targeted killings, multiple arrests (and keeping the prisoners in prison) and much more caution on the part of Israelis led to a sharp decline in successful terror attacks. The number of attempted attacks did not diminish for a long time and only did after the Palestinians started fighting among themselves. And throughout you had the rocket attacks from Gaza.

    Israel didn’t promise to stop natural growth. This was the ongoing demand by every government, whether led by Barak or Netanyahu.

    And if I want peace and fairness, I guess I have to wait until Abbas feels like 100% of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank, east Jerusalem, permission for refugees to return and the Temple Mount are enough to fill those “wide gaps” he complained were the reason he rejected Olmert’s offer of all the above.

    If the Palestinians are angry, maybe it’s because their leadership has a vision of a Palestine that includes all of Israel and doesn’t include peace, which in turn leads the Israelis to have to use their army to secure Israel. Maybe you should stop excusing them and focus on the real obstruction here. Olmert offered 97% of the WB and 1:1 land exchange for the other 3%. What are the wide gaps that caused Abbas to say no?

  • *Which* 3% was left out of the offer? Isn’t that an interesting question? If East Jerusalem wasn’t part of the offer, well, there’s no reason to accept, is there?

    Also, you should read this article on the Palestinian army the US has trained in the West Bank — and is responsible for the lack of terrorism from there during the Gaza War. Also, the Shin Bet reported in 2006 that the decrease in terrorist attacks was thanks to the cooperation between Palestinian security forces, not the security barrier (which isn’t even complete today).

    The portion of Palestinians who believe in fighting to take all of Israel back is remarkably same in size to the portion of Israelis who want Greater Israel — significant, but nothing more than a political fringe.

    And, come on now, natural growth is the lie:

    1) The settlements are subsidized by the government to the tune of millions — the average settlement resident gets more government money in roads, infrastructure, schooling, and tax breaks than inside Israel. Remove those and *snap!* no more “natural growth.” Meretz MKs introduced legislation to direct the purse strings to reward moving back into Israel, but it’s dead in committee because that’s not the way Likud rolls. Likud wants settlements and NRP, et al want the whole of Eretz Yisrael.

    2) The Palestinians have a higher growth rate than the settlements, but are their towns and villages zoned for growth? NOPE! They get bulldozed regularly, leaving a housing shortage. Where’s the extra land or construction allocated to Gaza for it’s extremely high birth rate? Or its present dearth of housing?

    And why should settlements that were dubious from inception be expanded when there’s land inside Israel proper that half of Israeli electorate doesn’t support dismantling? Building in settlements is a deliberate middle finger to the Palestinians and a political demand from the Greater Israel crowd. It’s not in any way for real population growth.

    Educate yourself.

  • I think KFJ makes a very important point; he’s identified the essence of the shift in policy that’s taken place. Under Bush, the approach went something like this: ‘Israel and the PA both entered into commitments, and both have breached them to a greater or lesser extent. However, Israel’s breaches have been less material (compared to terror, etc.), and besides, Israel is our friend and ally in the region. Under all the circumstances, despite its undoubted defiance of US policy on settlements, the Palestinians are more to blame and, what’s more, *their* commitments– ending terror, incitement, etc.– are conditions precedent to Israeli compliance. As long as the PA fails to end terror and so on FIRST, the US will take a benign attitude toward Israeli compliance on settlements.’

    We can see this is all out the window, as a host of signals– Clinton’s remarks, the Cairo speech– have made clear.

    Now, the timing and the substance of Israeli and PA compliance will be viewed in a scrupulously-equivalent manner. This is an enormous change which places immediate and substantially greater pressure on Israel. One thing’s clear under it: the approach of, ‘we can’t or won’t act until the Ps act first (on whatever issue)’ won’t wash anymore, for better or for worse. (I’m not intending a judgment, just describing what’s clearly going on.)

    Middle, I don’t get your outrage at Abbas’s saying no late last year. Keep this in mind: this isn’t like Starbucks, where I spend too much for coffee but I make a good-faith transaction in which I get satisfaction and Starbucks does, too. This is akin to what I do for a living, litigation. Why did Allen and AA settle, and why then? Because, as is the case in the Middle East, settlements happen when some third party or outside factor intervenes. Until that happens, each side sits tight, hoping the other cracks, hoping a better deal can be had down the road.

    This is why cases settle on the courthouse steps. It’s why parties say ‘no mas’ to legal fees and other costs, and are pressured to give in, even if they think they’re right.

    So it is in Israel/Palestine. Can Abbas be impeached?
    Heprobably should’ve been had he agreed to a deal with a corrupt, disgraced Olmert and a despised, exiting Bush. No objective observer– at the time– could quarrel with his judgment, which has indeed, with Cairo, Clinton and the rest, been amply vindicated. The new US approach enormously benefits the Palestinian cause. Which, btw– don’t you think?– this president is personally and emotionally committed to. He wants to be to Palestine what Truman was to Israel.

    ‘Change is coming’? It’s come.

  • “What are the wide gaps that caused Abbas to say no?”

    Completely and utterly impertinent, no relation to what’s going on.

  • *Which* 3% was left out of the offer? Isn’t that an interesting question? If East Jerusalem wasn’t part of the offer, well, there’s no reason to accept, is there?

    East Jerusalem was included. The 3% is almost certainly the settlement blocs near the Green Line.

    Also, you should read this article on the Palestinian army the US has trained in the West Bank — and is responsible for the lack of terrorism from there during the Gaza War. Also, the Shin Bet reported in 2006 that the decrease in terrorist attacks was thanks to the cooperation between Palestinian security forces, not the security barrier (which isn’t even complete today).

    2006? So that comes after the Road Map? Just a few years later. And who took over Gaza?

    The portion of Palestinians who believe in fighting to take all of Israel back is remarkably same in size to the portion of Israelis who want Greater Israel — significant, but nothing more than a political fringe.

    Sorry, I go by how their leadership plays the game and the game today is “binational state.”

    And, come on now, natural growth is the lie:

    1) The settlements are subsidized by the government to the tune of millions — the average settlement resident gets more government money in roads, infrastructure, schooling, and tax breaks than inside Israel. Remove those and *snap!* no more “natural growth.” Meretz MKs introduced legislation to direct the purse strings to reward moving back into Israel, but it’s dead in committee because that’s not the way Likud rolls. Likud wants settlements and NRP, et al want the whole of Eretz Yisrael.

    Depends which settlements. I don’t view Maaleh Adumim in the same way you do. I don’t view Givat Ze’ev the way you do. Meretz and Labor managed to get fewer votes than Lieberman or Shas. Maybe that’s why they propose bills that don’t pass? And maybe the rightward shift among the voting Israeli public has a great deal to do with how the Palestinians have treated the idea of achieving peace? In 2000, they were offered a state and started a war. A couple of years ago Israel left Gaza entirely and has been bombed regularly ever since while they build up an arsenal of even more weaponry. Maybe Meretz would get bills passed if they, you know, stopped trying to justify the unjustifiable?

    2) The Palestinians have a higher growth rate than the settlements, but are their towns and villages zoned for growth? NOPE! They get bulldozed regularly, leaving a housing shortage. Where’s the extra land or construction allocated to Gaza for it’s extremely high birth rate? Or its present dearth of housing?

    And yet they build and build all the time. If E1 isn’t built, Ma’aleh Edumim will be cut off by the two villages near it because they’re being bulldozed building without too much difficulty even without permits. This is true throughout the West Bank. And another little dirty secret are some of the olive groves and other fields that are built right up to settlement fences because the Israeli High Court determined that this is how one creates facts on the ground.

    And why should settlements that were dubious from inception be expanded when there’s land inside Israel proper that half of Israeli electorate doesn’t support dismantling? Building in settlements is a deliberate middle finger to the Palestinians and a political demand from the Greater Israel crowd. It’s not in any way for real population growth.

    That’s not entirely true, although I agree with your first statement. Most settlers live in those 3% of the West Bank near the Green Line. Those settlement blocs should be kept by Israel and there is no reason they can’t enjoy natural growth. Consider that the truth may be halfway between what you’re describing and the reality. Some settlements use natural growth as sticking a finger to the Palestinians, and the Palestinians use the settlements to stick a finger to Israel. AFTER ALL, 97% of the WEST BANK MEANS THAT THE SETTLEMENTS ARE ALMOST ALL GONE.

    Educate yourself.

    Thanks for the laugh. I know, I’ll go read The Nation, Harper’s and Muzzlewatch now. Will that do, boychik?

    What are you going to say to us when the Palestinians trained by the Americans turn their guns on Israel just like the Lebanese have turned American equipment against Israel instead of Hizbullah? Will you blame settlers then too? Sure you will.

  • Tom, the other day I wrote that the unshakable bonds were shaken and you took umbrage. Today you’re telling us that change is here. I’m confused.

    Besides, I know what Abbas is doing. I understand it perfectly. I’m outraged because peace is still at a distance, Palestinians continue to suffer, Israel find itself restricted as a society because of the dominance of the security situation, Jews have to continue to face this relentless anti-Semitism that has come to consume our world with Israel as Ogre #1, and it’s all because of this absurd situation. There should have been peace and two states years ago. Why should I view Palestinian obstruction in any way other than the cause for further war and harm to others? You know, there would have been no Gaza incursion if they would have made peace with Israel. When you litigate, the consequences are not life and death. The Palestinian leadership is looking for a better deal and while they wait, everybody suffers and the situation becomes far less promising for both sides.

    It’s a crime.

  • wow, a jew admits that america gave saddam permission to invade kuwait then used it as an excuse to destroy iraq and kill millions of iraqi’s

    americans are the worst hypocrites in human history(not all american citizens, only the political elite, along with the rich arabs and jews)

    i hope you jews and your vile allies get what you deserve

  • Middle, as to ‘shaken’ bonds– it’s really about Bibi, isn’t it? KFJ’s right about that, isn’t he? Wouldn’t Livni as PM have welcomed almost everything she heard at Cairo? This isn’t about US-Israel fundamentals.

  • Re Abbas– how would the Arab world have viewed a last-minute deal inked with Olmert and Bush? Any deal brokered with Obama is stronger and is, in that sense, in Israel’s better interests.

  • I’ve elaborated this point further at Jewschool, which answers many of your positions, middle: http://jewschool.com/2009/06/09/16613/theres-no-such-thing-as-natural-growth/

    But a couple points I didn’t cover there:

    If we’re talking settlements, we’re talking Fatah and West Bank — why are you using Islamic fundamentalists in Gaza to make policies on secular nationalists in the West Bank? “The Palestinians” are not Hamas, and only 40% voted for them in 2006, predominatly in Gaza. You’re using Hamas as a bent reed to prop up positions that can’t stand without a terrorist boogieman (ignorantly or deliberately, neither bodes well).

    Palestinians despise the idea of one state, as demonstrated again and again in polls. They don’t want to live in a Jewish-Arab 50-50 state. They want their own. They also only want it in the ’67 borders, and not Israel as a whole, as supported again and again in opinion polls. I get tired of this straw man assertion.

    I’m praying that either (a) Bibi does what needs to be done to put negotiations on solid ground, by compromising where it may be hard, or (b) Bibi loses his anti-negotiations coalition and has to include more amendable parties.

    Just for explanation, I did an economics research project in East Jerusalem in 2004 on this topic. Watching the media and political discourse around settlement growth has always been as fascinating as it is frustrating. People are pretty eager to jump into a debate about the settlements until they confront the numbers. Which is why even Sharon changed his tune, as did Olmert, Livni and the rest.

    The data doesn’t support the settlements.

  • I don’t think it’s about Bibi, Tom. I don’t think it’s about Livni. Livni stood right by Olmert when he made his offer to Abbas and still the offer was rejected. So why would Abbas grant her the agreement he didn’t give Olmert?

    Because that isn’t what he wants. He isn’t willing to settle and that is the most important conclusion here and it is one which seems to escape everybody who is anybody these days.

    The Obama strategy of pressing Netanyahu will impress Muslims but will not bring about early resolution of the conflict. The Palestinians have to feel pressure no less than the Israelis if a third party is going to impose peace. I agree that having Obama as a broker of peace will be better than Bush, but right now Obama’s pressure is misdirected since it’s one sided.

    KFJ, here is my take on the situation: https://jewlicious.com/2009/04/leaving-the-west-bank/. Natural growth may be an issue in Kiriyat Arba in terms of future peace, but there is nothing wrong with it in Pisgat Ze’ev. Also, don’t forget that Obama has not differentiated east Jerusalem from the settlements.

    As for your points about Hamas and Fatah, please remember that the “secular nationalists” use Islam to promote their agenda. Second, there was a terrorist bogeyman and it mostly went away because of Israeli security measures and eventually because Fatah was overtaken by Hamas in Gaza and turned to Israel and the US for help which they were happy to provide. Either way, you have attacks coming from Gaza still and they are defended by the boys from Fatah. They’re divided in some ways, but they share a common enemy and a common objective.

    Palestinians may despise the idea of a single state, but it precisely the leverage their leadership uses right now. Throughout the world the propaganda right now is directed at a single state solutions. Trust me on this, I go to talks on this subject quite often and usually at least one of the speakers is Palestinian or defending them. They bring up single state every time.

    As to your comment about how the Palestinians don’t want to live in “a Jewish-Arab 50-50 state,” that may explain why they want it Judenrein. And I don’t believe that they want 1949 borders because that’s what they were offered. Are you seriously going to tell me that 97% with additional land swap and full access to Jerusalem aren’t enough?

  • There’s good reason to be skeptical that peace can come suddenly, which is what Obama seems to have in mind. But I don’t think Abbas is flatly unwilling to settle. He’s unwilling to settle unless he has to– until he reaches the courthouse steps. It’s not a matter of waiting til he gets everything. It’s a matter of waiting as long as he possibly can, so that he can convince himself and others he did the best he could.

    Middle, if Obama is making you uncomfortable about this, wait until he throws Israel’s nuclear program up for grabs.

  • themiddle: *Ugh* Ever noticed that the Palestinian diaspora always talks about a one state solution, but not the Palestinians who stayed? It’s really obvious when you visit the West Bank and when you examine opinion polls. Despite the level of propoganda in the States, a one state position is still fringe. I can’t speak to Europe, but no country to date has an expressly one-state recommendation for the conflict?

    Why do you cling to this?

  • I suspect Obama knows that Israel’s nuclear program is a red line for Israel. Especially if you’re not going to have a “special” relationship with the US.

  • If Abbas endorsed a one-state solution, this would be far, far stronger evidence for Middle’s assertion that he’s not interested in settling.

  • Um, KFJ, because it’s what they’re pushing?

    Abbas isn’t going to endorse a one state solution. That would hurt the cash flow from Europe and the UN.

  • I’ve made this point before, so I won’t belabor it, but what Abbas wants in his heart of hearts, whether the Palestinians dream of taking over Tel Aviv, is really beside the point. Putin would love to revive the USSR, too. And he can’t lift a finger against Estonia. This is about what is possible at the end of the day, not what the Palestinians, or the Israeli settlers, really want.

  • KFJ, anybody who relies for information on “Occupation Magazine” and “The Nation” simply cannot be taken seriously.

    I don’t know what polls you’ve been reading, but the ones I have seen show that a substantial majority of Pseudostinians support the idea of continued terrorism against Israel even after they get their state. In any case, AFAIK, almost all of them refuse to give up the “right” of “return” as well. If you had the sense to look behind the lies they spout to dupe credulous fools like you, you would see what they are really saying is not what you believe they are saying.

  • I get the impression that Livni is such a more adept politician than Netanyahoo. I have a sneaking suspicion she would have eschewed this opportunity to cry over bitter lemons and instead made lemonade.

    Israel’s position has become politically untenable from a geostrategic standpoint. How it responds to all this probably makes a big difference. Hunkering down with a petulant siege mentality looks way too petty and could start to appear increasingly hostile to its (only) true ally. In the meantime Obama is the only one in the Western world with a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the Arab-Muslim world to pull itself up by its bootstraps, discard the anti-American bullshit and face up to what the radicals are doing to them. He should be given a chance to at least attempt to rearrange public opinion and political alliances there.

    And as for this:

    “However, it is much to my dismay that the lesson being taught by the U.S. government is: unless you get the U.S. to sign something on the White House lawn with tons of media around, don’t trust the U.S. government at its word.”

    Well, yes. At least when it comes to the duplicitous kiss-ass, Ms. Clinton. Who, as everyone knows will say anything and means nothing. At least Obama’s capable of making strong, principled and intelligent decisions and letting you know where he really stands. Thank Gawd Clinton had no choice but to accept that he’s the one in charge.

  • Um, so you think that by targeting Israel as a colonialist regime and proclaiming that the settlements are the key problem before the two sides can move forward even as he ignores the Arab refusal to compromise is in keeping with Obama’s claims during his campaign?

  • Don’t you get it, Middle?

    Obama is a politician. He lied to get elected. All you had to do to figure out where he was really coming from was to look at the people he hung out with. It was a foregone conclusion he was going to be anti-Israel.

  • Agree with MUL on Hillary, though. If she were a better politician she would be able to hide her utter lack of principles and her brazen hypocrisy better.

    You know, like Obama.

  • Ephriam, here again, you guys gotta do your homework. The majority of Palestinians insist they *have* a right to return although only 10% will *use* the right of return, as revealed in 2003.

    Don’t forget that right of return is part-and-parcel with the expectation of reparations for their lost property, just as Jews from Arab countries in an ideal regional settlement would acheive restitution for their lost properties. You can even structure the compensation to reward moving to Palestine and not Israel if you want, but the two go together and mislead to say that “ALL PALESTINIANS WANT TO MOVE BACK TO ISRAEL.”

    And I agree about Livni — at least she sees the political writing on the wall. I firmly believe that Israel and the US would not be suffering a rift right now if Kadima led the coalition and not Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu.

  • “Um, so you think that by targeting Israel as a colonialist regime and proclaiming that the settlements are the key problem before the two sides can move forward even as he ignores the Arab refusal to compromise is in keeping with Obama’s claims during his campaign?”

    Um, I don’t know what it means to “target…as”. To target something means to take aim at something. You don’t take aim at something “as” something, you take aim at it, at what it actually is.

    He never said one particular thing was “the key problem”. He spoke of obligations both sides have. You probably didn’t see the equipoise because you might be obsessed with gamesmanship.

    Which Arabs refused to compromise? Hamas or the party that’s legitimately supposed to be in charge in the territories?

    Any campaign promises he gave on U.S. policy were in keeping with the Democratic platform of getting more involved and trying to bring about a resolution. Whatever you think of settlements, it makes no sense to defend them as some kind of reward for Israel to reap in exchange for Palestinian malfeasance. Nor is it entitled to see them this way, under the road map, under any previous agreement, or under the dictates of common sense. Go ahead and defend the settlements on some kind of quid-pro-quo, tit-for-tat basis… as a punishment for terrorism. But like the Palestinians when it comes to their terrorism, you may only be amenable to the utilitarian argument if not an ethical argument: Defending them is just not an effective tactic.

    “Agree with MUL on Hillary, though. If she were a better politician she would be able to hide her utter lack of principles and her brazen hypocrisy better.

    You know, like Obama.”

    I love the assertion that good politicians get what they can get from Israelis by lying while ignoring the implication that that could, therefore, also get what they need from the Arabs.

    Certain Jews might want to opine less about politics. Perhaps they were stuck in the culture of diaspora and out of power too long to understand any game nowadays other than paranoia and machiavellianism.

  • Don’t be such an utter ass, KFJ. The Pseudostinians absolutely DO NOT have any “right” of “return”. The Arabs started the war, they lost it, end of story. An admission by Israel that the “refugees” have a “right” of “return” is tantamount to admitting that Israel has no right to exist. No Israeli government can admit that. And once Israel admits to a “right” of “return”, on what grounds could they refuse any Pseudostinian who wants to claim it, as they almost certainly would? The “right” of “return” is the most potent Arab weapon in their effort to destroy Israel. Israel can never agree to it, even if only symbolically.

    The Arabs were not “forced out of their homes” by the creation of Israel. They fled as a result of a war the Arabs started to prevent that creation. Their refugee status is entirely self-inflicted, and Israel bears no responsibility for it. No war, no refugees. It;s that simple. The Arabs declared the war in defiance of the UN, therefore the refugees are their fault and they must solve the problem on their own. Under no circumstances can Israel be required to clean up the Arabs’ mess.

    I’d be perfectly willing for Israel and the Arabs to exchange reparations. About the same number of Jews were kicked out of the Arab countries as Arabs who fled the fighting in ’48. Most of the Arabs were poor peasant tenant farmers. Many of the Jews who were kicked out of places like Egypt and Iraq were fairly well-to-do, may of them quite so. There is no doubt that the Arabs owe the Jewish refugees far more than Israel might conceivably owe any of the Arabs, so Israel would profit massively if the relative value of lost assets were calculated equitably.

    “Paranoia and Machiavellianism?”

    Sounds like politics to me.

    Of course, if Obama is lying to the Arabs, that would be cool. Let’s hope that’s what’s going on.

    Obama only lied to the Jews who wanted to be fooled. What he was going to do was obvious to anyone who wanted to look at it.

  • Um, I don’t know what it means to “target…as”. To target something means to take aim at something. You don’t take aim at something “as” something, you take aim at it, at what it actually is.

    Wow, thanks for the lesson in blowing hot air.

    Now please address the point. He targeted Israel as a colonialist regime. That’s what he means when he says that the Holocaust explains Israel and the fears of Israelis. It’s the Arab claim (false claim to be sure) that Israel is the product of the Holocaust (“why should the Palestinians be punished for the sins of the Nazis?”) and therefore it is a colonialist regime with European colonialist overtones. Never mind that over 50% of Israel’s Jews are or descend from Jews who are Mizrahi or Sephardic and arrived from Arab and Muslim countries. Never mind that Zionism as an ideological movement precedes WWII by 100 years and as a political movement by 50 years. Never mind about the continuous presence of Jews in the Land of Israel or the yearning of those who lived outside of it to return for 2000 years.

    He never said one particular thing was “the key problem”. He spoke of obligations both sides have. You probably didn’t see the equipoise because you might be obsessed with gamesmanship.

    Really? Well, he spoke specifically about the settlements needing to be gone his underlings are going around saying to anybody who will listen that the settlements must stop growing. Can you tell me what they’re saying the Palestinians need to do? Did Obama mention terrorism?

    Which Arabs refused to compromise? Hamas or the party that’s legitimately supposed to be in charge in the territories?

    Abbas and the PNA.

    Any campaign promises he gave on U.S. policy were in keeping with the Democratic platform of getting more involved and trying to bring about a resolution.

    He spoke about defending Israel and the special relationship with Israel being maintained. The second part is already proven untrue and the first part is debatable. After all, if you enter negotiations by attacking one side and not the other, you not only predetermine their outcome, you place the side you’ve weakened to danger. Abbas is telling the press he plans to wait now while his associates explain that it’s because he knows Netanyahu will clash with Obama. Even if they do negotiate, Obama has taken the settlements card off the table for Israel. So what do you call it when you strip one side of part of its leverage but don’t do the same to the other side?

    Whatever you think of settlements, it makes no sense to defend them as some kind of reward for Israel to reap in exchange for Palestinian malfeasance.

    You’re making the same mistake as Obama. There are settlements and there are settlements. If I go by the reading of some people, east Jerusalem is a settlement wherever Jews live. Why is Obama giving the word “settlements” its maximal reading? Why not qualify carefully and properly? Why ignore the history of these settlements?

    Nor is it entitled to see them this way, under the road map, under any previous agreement, or under the dictates of common sense. Go ahead and defend the settlements on some kind of quid-pro-quo, tit-for-tat basis… as a punishment for terrorism. But like the Palestinians when it comes to their terrorism, you may only be amenable to the utilitarian argument if not an ethical argument: Defending them is just not an effective tactic.

    I don’t defend the settlements. I actually think most of them need to disappear. Obama has indeed created a situation where defending any settlements is counter-productive, but not all the settlements are the same and there is no reason that Israel should return to 1949 armistice lines. In fact, that goes against the purpose and meaning of UNSCR 242. Since Obama has made any propert discussion of this something akin to opposition of his plans for peace, you can see how the debate has been unfairly and mistakenly curtailed.

    Except that Obama and his advisers are a very sophisticated bunch and they knew what they were doing.

  • Talk about blowing hot air around.

    If you want to confuse the arguments for Israel’s founding (not colonialist) with the arguments for continued settlement of the West Bank (colonialist) you go ahead and do so, Middle.

    “Did Obama mention terrorism?”

    I don’t know remember what the specific terms were. But if you don’t think Obama made pointed (and more effective) denunciations of violence, extremism, whatever the Arabs call it, than any other president, then maybe you don’t understand the difference between what it takes to lead America and what it takes to lead Israel.

    “After all, if you enter negotiations by attacking one side and not the other, you not only predetermine their outcome, you place the side you’ve weakened to danger.”

    This is bullshit. One of the most effective ways of weakening one’s position is by obsessively hanging on for dear life to a piddly little point of contention. Conceding ridiculous details is healthy. This is a piece of advice that you would do well to apply to your own arguments, which could stand to go on a healthy diet. For their own sake.

    Bloated, meandering arguments that go nowhere might serve some useful purpose to a litigant. But they do nothing for influencing public opinion.

    As for the incredibly meaningful distinction between different kinds of settlements, American officials and Netanyahoo’s people have already hade their perfunctory discussion on that. You’ll likely get your concession to Israeli centrists. Just don’t pretend that has anything to do with peace.

    “Except that Obama and his advisers are a very sophisticated bunch and they knew what they were doing.”

    Which is more than we can say for Bibi and his minions.

    So let Obama do his job. Apparently he is sophisticated enough to tell the difference between an internal Israeli squabble, internal Arab politics and the differences between what the Israelis and Palis can live with. You keep making the mistake of not understanding audience, and throwing internal Jewish squabbles at me and the world as if they are more important than an acceptable resolution between Israel and the other parties. But they’re not. Sorry to break the news to you. They just aren’t. Stop confusing them with the larger isssues.

  • If you want to confuse the arguments for Israel’s founding (not colonialist) with the arguments for continued settlement of the West Bank (colonialist) you go ahead and do so, Middle.

    I’m not confusing anything. Obama and his team are purposely using the term “settlements” without any qualifiers. He is claiming that Israel exists because of the Holocaust – a very conventional Arab argument that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Israel because it makes it an interloper European country.

    “Did Obama mention terrorism?”

    I don’t know remember what the specific terms were. But if you don’t think Obama made pointed (and more effective) denunciations of violence, extremism, whatever the Arabs call it, than any other president, then maybe you don’t understand the difference between what it takes to lead America and what it takes to lead Israel.

    So all the other Presidents who mentioned terrorism also didn’t know how to lead the US? You’ve made some silly claims in defense of Obama in the past but this one takes the cake. He wanted to be conciliatory so he didn’t use a buzzword that pisses off Muslims when talking to them. But he did mention settlements…

    “After all, if you enter negotiations by attacking one side and not the other, you not only predetermine their outcome, you place the side you’ve weakened to danger.”

    This is bullshit. One of the most effective ways of weakening one’s position is by obsessively hanging on for dear life to a piddly little point of contention. Conceding ridiculous details is healthy. This is a piece of advice that you would do well to apply to your own arguments, which could stand to go on a healthy diet. For their own sake.

    So Israel has to give up settlements and the Palestinians have to give up terror. The President brings up removal of settlements but doesn’t mention terror. In fact, he just mentions the displacement of the Palestinians and how Israel was formed out of the Holocaust and you think that’s a good setup for negotiations because the settlements are just a piddly little point of contention. And, in fact, terror need not even be mentioned at all because it ranks even lower than this piddly little point of contention.

    Have you considered that it’s one thing to defend Obama and shill for him as you did throughout his campaign, but it’s another thing to make ridiculous assertions in his defense that expose your partisanship more than anything else?

    Negotiations have to happen. The Israeli view all along has been that they are willing to give up most of the West Bank except for the small pocket of communities that have been built near the Green Line and surrounding Jerusalem and where about 85% of the settlers live today. That amounts to about 3% of the West Bank’s land and Israel has offered to exchange that land with land from Israel proper on a one to one basis. Then along comes Obama and doesn’t say anything about Palestinian obligations or terror but demands that Israel deal with its settlements without any discussion as to what he means or how this prejudices the outcome of negotiations.

    And to you this is a piddly little detail.

    Bloated, meandering arguments that go nowhere might serve some useful purpose to a litigant. But they do nothing for influencing public opinion.

    Obama is speaking to the leadership of the Arab and Israeli countries here, not just the masses. His words are followed up by the words of Clinton, Mitchell and Rahm. This is diplomacy, not speaking to the masses.

    As for the incredibly meaningful distinction between different kinds of settlements, American officials and Netanyahoo’s people have already hade their perfunctory discussion on that. You’ll likely get your concession to Israeli centrists. Just don’t pretend that has anything to do with peace.

    It has everything to do with negotiations, as well as the history of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. And despite your claim about concessions, so far none have been seen. Don’t forget that Jerusalem is on the table here as well if you follow Obama’s language carefully.

    “Except that Obama and his advisers are a very sophisticated bunch and they knew what they were doing.”

    Which is more than we can say for Bibi and his minions.

    Stupid remark. Netanyahu may have political views you dislike but he’s fairly smart and so are the people around him.

    So let Obama do his job. Apparently he is sophisticated enough to tell the difference between an internal Israeli squabble, internal Arab politics and the differences between what the Israelis and Palis can live with.

    Really? How do you know this? What has he done so far to indicate this? So far all he’s done is treat Israel differently than any other country by ordering it to do something that its (democratically elected) government opposes and has prejudged negotiations. In fact, what he has done is given the Palestinians confidence that they can sit back and wait; Netanyahu’s government will be brought down by Obama and Obama’s baseline views favor them. I’m not making this up, read the Abbas interview in the Washington Post or what Erakat said yesterday when he said that for the first time the Palestinians feel they are in a position of strength against the Israelis.

    Except that just several months ago the Israelis made an extremely generous offer to the Palestinians and the Palestinians rejected it. Now Obama is pressuring Israel and not the side that rejected the peace offer. That seems like a major error. I understand pressuring both sides but this approach is simply wrong.

    You keep making the mistake of not understanding audience, and throwing internal Jewish squabbles at me and the world as if they are more important than an acceptable resolution between Israel and the other parties. But they’re not. Sorry to break the news to you. They just aren’t. Stop confusing them with the larger isssues.

    Um, the bigger picture is that both sides have to agree to peace. If you prejudge negotiations, you end up with nothing regardless of your audience. If you call everything a petty internal Jewish squabble because it doesn’t suit your agenda, then you miss the point that Israelis have to be given a fair deal that will win in an election (chances are that any deal offered will bring about new elections and they will be a referendum on the deal).

    Your conclusion is: if the speech appeases the Arabs, then that’s good. They’re the big picture here. If the speech pisses off the Jews, then so what? We can’t be bothered with piddly insignificant internal Jewish squabbles.

    And there, MUL, you’ve captured the essence of what Obama is doing right now. Congratulations.

    Except it’s a wrongheaded approach from many levels, not just pragmatic ones like having to find a reasonable compromise, but moral ones like how one treats the only real democracy in the region. Bu who cares, says the Obama team, we know what will work and what won’t and Muslims and Arabs are our target audience here, not Israel and not the Jews.

    Fine, the US government is permitted to make choices.

    And we are permitted to be critical of those choices.

  • “I’m not confusing anything. Obama and his team are purposely using the term “settlements” without any qualifiers.”

    And why shouldn’t he? The qualifiers don’t matter. In negotiations they might. But their status is all POST-1948, POST-1967 in fact. Making distinctions between this West Bank settlement and that has nothing, nada, to do with the legitimacy of Israel itself.

    We are talking about a speech made for the sake of public opinion. Not for the sake of a negotiation. If public opinion doesn’t matter to you, then just state that. Just remember that if you do, you effectively remove yourself from any standing when it comes to successfully combatting anti-Semitism. Anti-semitism grows in strength, in response to what the court of public opinion has to say about Israel and Jews, and not in response to what goes on in some forum designed for negotiation.

    “He is claiming that Israel exists because of the Holocaust – a very conventional Arab argument that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Israel because it makes it an interloper European country.”

    Why should it matter what arguments the Arabs want to make? The Holocaust, in fact, DID contribute to the establishment of the State of Israel. Historical fact. End. Period. Finished. But because the Arabs want to manipulate that fact for their own purposes you believe that Obama shouldn’t mention it? Well, I’ve got a news flash for you. If Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot all believed that 2 + 2 = 4, it would still be true as well.

    What a pathetic way to make an argument. You are so paranoid about what arguments your opponents will make based on certain historical facts, that you will deny them the legitimacy of those facts. What a way to look weak.

    “So all the other Presidents who mentioned terrorism also didn’t know how to lead the US?”

    They didn’t know how to lead the U.S., and by extension the world, to a place that curtailed the radicalization of the Middle East.

    “(Blah blah blah)… And to you this is a piddly little detail.”

    Yes. It is a piddly little detail. In the court of public opinion, that’s exactly what it is. Obama is in Cairo and elsewhere to address an Arab audience, not as Israel’s chief negotiator. He is there to say the things that they need to hear, whether validating or challenging of their views, and not to say that everything that Israel wants is what Israel will get.

    Do you seriously not understand this? Do you seriously think that by simply re-stating the most maximalist version of Israel’s every demand everywhere he goes, every time he’s asked, the U.S. president will be in a position to influence the Middle East, or the rest of the world, in a positive direction? Do you seriously think that to question as much makes someone an Obama “shill”, a partisan hack, rather than just a foreign policy realist?

    If you think that, then you should really consider hunkering down in a concrete West Bank bunker and stop pretending that you have any idea on how to influence: Arabs, U.S. policy, gentiles, the world as a whole, people, etc., etc., etc.

    “Obama is speaking to the leadership of the Arab and Israeli countries here, not just the masses. His words are followed up by the words of Clinton, Mitchell and Rahm. This is diplomacy, not speaking to the masses.”

    This is false. And it shows how little regard you apparently have for Arab leadership and Arab public opinion. Keep trying to safegaurd the interests of Israel without the support of those things, though. You won’t be able to.

    “It has everything to do with negotiations, as well as the history of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. And despite your claim about concessions, so far none have been seen. Don’t forget that Jerusalem is on the table here as well if you follow Obama’s language carefully.”

    Well, I’m so touched that you care so much about the Land of Israel and the history of the Jewish people. But in a world where they do not exist by themselves, alone, in a vacccuum, but in the presence of such things as “gentiles” and “Arabs”, in order to survive and prosper they will have to factor in the considerations of those parties as well. What a bummer!

    “Stupid remark. Netanyahu may have political views you dislike but he’s fairly smart and so are the people around him.”

    He’s smart enough about some very narrow topics, but he’s missing the bigger picture here and there are others smarter than him.

    I don’t care a fig about the legitimacy of his “views”. I am approaching this discussion in as de-politicized a manner possible and speaking as an absolute pragmatist. His views will have to accomodate certain realities or either he will be out of power or Israel will have much bigger problems than it can handle down the road.

    “I’m not making this up, read the Abbas interview in the Washington Post or what Erakat said yesterday when he said that for the first time the Palestinians feel they are in a position of strength against the Israelis.”

    So what? What does the bloated, over-confident statement of some Palestinian official have to do with the ultimate course this will take?

    You seem to get obsessively caught up in such minor details and characters that you forget to understand that there is a larger process that constantly continues to take shape, whether you can see it or not. Whether you understand (or care) how to influence it or not.

    “If you prejudge negotiations, you end up with nothing regardless of your audience.”

    Who’s to say that every public statement, in your mind, doesn’t “prejudge” negotations in some way that you disapprove of? Why not just never make public statements? Why not only consider whether they make Israel look “strong” or “weak” (whatever that means), rather than whether the court of public opinion feels that Israel is acting stupidly, belligerently, etc. or in a way that they can be made to understand?

    “If you call everything a petty internal Jewish squabble because it doesn’t suit your agenda, then you miss the point that Israelis have to be given a fair deal that will win in an election (chances are that any deal offered will bring about new elections and they will be a referendum on the deal).”

    I call something an internal Jewish squabble when that’s precisely what it is. And right now I doubt that internal Jewish politics are well-disposed to mounting an entirely unnecessary fight with the U.S. as it attempts to re-assert itself as the country that shapes the global order, wins public opinion and gets people to a point where they feel less threatened and more easily persuaded to consider its (and Israel’s) interests.

    “Your conclusion is: if the speech appeases the Arabs, then that’s good. They’re the big picture here. If the speech pisses off the Jews, then so what? We can’t be bothered with piddly insignificant internal Jewish squabbles.”

    The speech didn’t appease the Arabs. This is a massive, stupid blind spot on your part. They didn’t agree with all of it. In parts they were challenged. In parts they were probably a bit offended. Sorry if this messes with your black-or-white, weak-or-strong vision of Arabs and what they think.

    “And there, MUL, you’ve captured the essence of what Obama is doing right now. Congratulations.”

    Well, I think I have. Just not in the way you mischaracterized it.

    “And we are permitted to be critical of those choices.”

    Criticism is more effective when you know what you’re talking about and don’t oversimplify things. And when you ADMIT to FACTS and don’t proclaim certain FACTS unmentionable just because you’re afraid of how your opponent will misconstrue those facts.

    Unless you’re a coward, of course.

  • “I’m not confusing anything. Obama and his team are purposely using the term “settlements” without any qualifiers.”

    And why shouldn’t he? The qualifiers don’t matter. In negotiations they might. But their status is all POST-1948, POST-1967 in fact. Making distinctions between this West Bank settlement and that has nothing, nada, to do with the legitimacy of Israel itself.

    He shouldn’t because this position hurts Israel on many levels, not the least of which is the status of Jerusalem.

    We are talking about a speech made for the sake of public opinion.

    Not for the sake of a negotiation.

    No, we are speaking about the position of the US government as stated by its leader. You’re either stupid or pretending a speech by the President of the USA that was touted for weeks in advance as a new path for the US and the Islamic world is just words. It’s not, it expresses US positions.

    If public opinion doesn’t matter to you, then just state that. Just remember that if you do, you effectively remove yourself from any standing when it comes to successfully combatting anti-Semitism. Anti-semitism grows in strength, in response to what the court of public opinion has to say about Israel and Jews, and not in response to what goes on in some forum designed for negotiation.

    Hahahahahahahahaha

    That is the most ridiculous statement you’re ever made. Maybe you should study Logic with Muffti?

    This speech was addressed to both masses and leaders. Obama was informing the masses and their leaders how he plans to proceed.

    As for anti-Semitism, his speech had absolutely no impact on anti-Semitism and won’t have any impact on anti-Semitism in the Arab world. If you think that talking about Holocaust denial instead of talking about ending the nuclear program of an Islamic theocracy is good for America, then good for you. In my opinion it isn’t good for America and it also isn’t good for Israel. It also isn’t good for Christians or Jews and it won’t make a whit of difference regarding anti-Semitism. Although I find the fact that he brought it up touching, and even respect his good intentions in visiting Buchenwald, it was the throwing of a bone to silence critics who would challenge him (correctly) that he’s doing nothing about the REAL problem here: Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

    “He is claiming that Israel exists because of the Holocaust – a very conventional Arab argument that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Israel because it makes it an interloper European country.”

    Why should it matter what arguments the Arabs want to make? The Holocaust, in fact, DID contribute to the establishment of the State of Israel. Historical fact. End. Period. Finished.

    Of course it did. But it is far from the only reason. In Obama’s speech, however, it is the only reason.

    But because the Arabs want to manipulate that fact for their own purposes you believe that Obama shouldn’t mention it? Well, I’ve got a news flash for you. If Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot all believed that 2 + 2 = 4, it would still be true as well.

    I didn’t say he shouldn’t mention it. I said that he neglected to mention the other key reasons that Israel exists. You know, small piddly things like it being the home of the Jewish people 2000 thousand years ago, the longing over a period of 2000 years to return or the movement called Zionism that brought the idea of a return to Jews as early as the mid-1800s. If these items were put into the comment about why Israel came to be, then maybe the Arabs wouldn’t continue to claim that Israel is a European outpost created by European guilt.

    He should have said it. Maybe he doesn’t believe it.

    What a pathetic way to make an argument. You are so paranoid about what arguments your opponents will make based on certain historical facts, that you will deny them the legitimacy of those facts. What a way to look weak.

    It’s pathetic to ignore facts like the connection of the Jewish people to a place for 2000 years even though that is the key reason the state of Israel exists. Your denials on behalf of Obama are pathetic. Since both Palestinian charters and the vast majority of the Arab world deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and since you claim that this speech was geared to educated the masses and to prevent anti-Semitism, why wouldn’t he talk about the actual history? Unless he doesn’t believe it.

    “So all the other Presidents who mentioned terrorism also didn’t know how to lead the US?”

    They didn’t know how to lead the U.S., and by extension the world, to a place that curtailed the radicalization of the Middle East.

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    “(Blah blah blah)… And to you this is a piddly little detail.”

    Yes. It is a piddly little detail. In the court of public opinion, that’s exactly what it is. Obama is in Cairo and elsewhere to address an Arab audience, not as Israel’s chief negotiator. He is there to say the things that they need to hear, whether validating or challenging of their views, and not to say that everything that Israel wants is what Israel will get.

    Do you seriously not understand this? Do you seriously think that by simply re-stating the most maximalist version of Israel’s every demand everywhere he goes, every time he’s asked, the U.S. president will be in a position to influence the Middle East, or the rest of the world, in a positive direction? Do you seriously think that to question as much makes someone an Obama “shill”, a partisan hack, rather than just a foreign policy realist?

    If you think that, then you should really consider hunkering down in a concrete West Bank bunker and stop pretending that you have any idea on how to influence: Arabs, U.S. policy, gentiles, the world as a whole, people, etc., etc., etc.

    Maximalist positions? Every time he’s asked?

    What the fuck are you talking about? Do you think you can obfuscate with hyperbole?

    Apparently you do.

    “Obama is speaking to the leadership of the Arab and Israeli countries here, not just the masses. His words are followed up by the words of Clinton, Mitchell and Rahm. This is diplomacy, not speaking to the masses.”

    This is false. And it shows how little regard you apparently have for Arab leadership and Arab public opinion. Keep trying to safegaurd the interests of Israel without the support of those things, though. You won’t be able to.

    This is completely accurate and it is not a statement about the Arab masses. As for safeguarding Israel’s interests without the support of the Arab masses, I suspect that is doable. You may have noticed that in most Arab countries, the leadership is in control. The Syrian masses are not demanding war, Assad will determine whether or not there is war. The Lebanese masses were not demanding war, Hizbollah and Nasrallah decided there will be war. That’s not to say that Arab public opinion is irrelevant, even despots need the support of the people. However, this speech was intended to work on both levels, as a talk with the public and as diplomacy with the Arab and Israeli leadership.

    “It has everything to do with negotiations, as well as the history of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. And despite your claim about concessions, so far none have been seen. Don’t forget that Jerusalem is on the table here as well if you follow Obama’s language carefully.”

    Well, I’m so touched that you care so much about the Land of Israel and the history of the Jewish people. But in a world where they do not exist by themselves, alone, in a vacccuum, but in the presence of such things as “gentiles” and “Arabs”, in order to survive and prosper they will have to factor in the considerations of those parties as well. What a bummer!

    Non-sequitor.

    Israel’s offers to the Arab states and to the Palestinians have not been those of a state that considers itself to be in a vacuum. On the contrary.

    “Stupid remark. Netanyahu may have political views you dislike but he’s fairly smart and so are the people around him.”

    He’s smart enough about some very narrow topics, but he’s missing the bigger picture here and there are others smarter than him.

    I don’t care a fig about the legitimacy of his “views”. I am approaching this discussion in as de-politicized a manner possible and speaking as an absolute pragmatist. His views will have to accomodate certain realities or either he will be out of power or Israel will have much bigger problems than it can handle down the road.

    There are also others smarter than Obama. Your point is? Oh, your point was that Netanyahu was stupid and Obama wasn’t.

    A couple of years ago the American government forced Israel, against its leadership’s wishes, to permit Hamas to run in the elections. Did that work out well? Israel has to live with the consequences of any mistakes it makes, but what happens when others foist mistakes upon it? Should it also assume that Obama is smarter than Netanyahu even though Obama lives in the US and Netanyahu lives in Israel and even though this is one element of America’s many interests while it is a primary issue for Israel?

    “I’m not making this up, read the Abbas interview in the Washington Post or what Erakat said yesterday when he said that for the first time the Palestinians feel they are in a position of strength against the Israelis.”

    So what? What does the bloated, over-confident statement of some Palestinian official have to do with the ultimate course this will take?

    Oh.

    How stupid I’ve been all along to think that the head of the PNA could actually squelch peace talks. Maybe I should just ignore the history, like when the former head of the PNA said “no” to the previous Democratic President and then proceeded to launch a war against Israel? Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll talk about how the speech is intended for the masses, not the leadership, and call the primary leader a “Palestinian official” and deem him to be unimportant because the US dictates to the Arabs what needs to happen.

    At this point in the discussion, I’d say you’ve twisted yourself into a pretty tight pretzel.

    Pretzel logic.

    You seem to get obsessively caught up in such minor details and characters that you forget to understand that there is a larger process that constantly continues to take shape, whether you can see it or not. Whether you understand (or care) how to influence it or not.

    Pretzel, Ahmed Qurei was probably the key reason Camp David didn’t work for Clinton and Barak. Not even Arafat. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    “If you prejudge negotiations, you end up with nothing regardless of your audience.”

    Who’s to say that every public statement, in your mind, doesn’t “prejudge” negotations in some way that you disapprove of? Why not just never make public statements? Why not only consider whether they make Israel look “strong” or “weak” (whatever that means), rather than whether the court of public opinion feels that Israel is acting stupidly, belligerently, etc. or in a way that they can be made to understand?

    No, we’re talking about a specific set of statements and then follow-ups by other senior US figures that are weakening Israel’s negotiating position by removing key elements of leverage. This is subsequent to a very generous offer made last year by Olmert and refused by the “over-confident Palestinian official.”

    “If you call everything a petty internal Jewish squabble because it doesn’t suit your agenda, then you miss the point that Israelis have to be given a fair deal that will win in an election (chances are that any deal offered will bring about new elections and they will be a referendum on the deal).”

    I call something an internal Jewish squabble when that’s precisely what it is. And right now I doubt that internal Jewish politics are well-disposed to mounting an entirely unnecessary fight with the U.S. as it attempts to re-assert itself as the country that shapes the global order, wins public opinion and gets people to a point where they feel less threatened and more easily persuaded to consider its (and Israel’s) interests.

    Okay, well at least now you’re being honest. Translation: “who gives a flying fuck about Israel if American interests don’t, in the opinion of the current Administration, consider it to be anything but a problem that needs to be rolled over while we assert ourselves in the globe as friends of the Arabs.”

    Don’t you feel better now that you’ve expressed the truth?

    “Your conclusion is: if the speech appeases the Arabs, then that’s good. They’re the big picture here. If the speech pisses off the Jews, then so what? We can’t be bothered with piddly insignificant internal Jewish squabbles.”

    The speech didn’t appease the Arabs. This is a massive, stupid blind spot on your part. They didn’t agree with all of it. In parts they were challenged. In parts they were probably a bit offended. Sorry if this messes with your black-or-white, weak-or-strong vision of Arabs and what they think.

    Sure, but when it came to Israel, they weren’t challenged or offended. This post and discussion are about Israel. I’ve already stated elsewhere that other than that it was a pretty good speech and helpful regarding establishing better relations between the Arabs and Muslims and America.

    “And there, MUL, you’ve captured the essence of what Obama is doing right now. Congratulations.”

    Well, I think I have. Just not in the way you mischaracterized it.

    🙄

    “And we are permitted to be critical of those choices.”

    Criticism is more effective when you know what you’re talking about and don’t oversimplify things. And when you ADMIT to FACTS and don’t proclaim certain FACTS unmentionable just because you’re afraid of how your opponent will misconstrue those facts.

    Unless you’re a coward, of course.

    Um, whatever.

    More pretzel logic.

  • You are a liar. And that’s being generous.

    Nearly every point I’ve made you’ve twisted into something unrecognizable from what was stated.

    How long do you wait to read these before responding? Do you even read them? Do you actually take any time to think about what you write? It sure doesn’t seem like it. It’s like watching a batting cage. No thought. No processing. Nothing. Just a keyboard-ready trigger finger.

    Because you are dishonest, I will not debate you. These issues go way beyond me. So do not think that your personal offensiveness is a problem between us as individuals. Your approach is making much bigger problems for your point of view (and any point of view of yours to which I might be sympathetic) than you realize.

    But I do have one piece of your many thought-turds that deserves to be fully aired:

    “Translation: “who gives a flying fuck about Israel if American interests don’t, in the opinion of the current Administration, consider it to be anything but a problem that needs to be rolled over while we assert ourselves in the globe as friends of the Arabs.”

    Don’t you feel better now that you’ve expressed the truth?

    Of course, if you had something other than a pseudonym on me (and who knows? We know how crazy you and your buddies here get about IP addresses.) then this would be a massive case of slander.

    If you prefer to see the U.S. continually weakened in its relations with the rest of the world, including the rest of the Middle East, just own up to that. And good luck to Israel if that happens! I know that to you “friend of Arabs” must be the equivalent of “hater of Israel”, but that’s your problem. You work out a way in which Israel’s long-term interests are served while being eternally in a constant state of conflict with those Arabs – of whom you apparently think so little. Of course, you can’t do that, and you won’t do that. But as with the bigots who used to throw around the term “Nigger-lover”, you don’t understand that you won’t be able to maintain Israel’s favored position under the sun (like the privileged whites who threw around that aforementioned term) while maintaining a perpetual state of conflict with their neighbors.

    What this conversation basically boils down to is that you don’t seem to care about public opinion, about what people think about Israel, about anti-semitism (Yo. It doesn’t just exist in the Middle East – even though events in the Middle East affect those attitudes elsewhere). You just think that if you make a sufficiently petty, inanely technical point, with a bitter enough tone, then you’ll have vindicated yourself on some level. Trust me, you’re doing anything but that. And for someone who loves to appeal to logic you sure are very, very selective about applying it. You may think you’re defending Israel, or the Jews, but you’re not. Not successfully at least. You’re leading a masturbatory and self-congratulatory conversation with yourself and you obviously have no idea of how to, and certainly no experience in, persuading people who aren’t already either inclined to agree with you or are so close to you on related issues or sympathies that it doesn’t matter. Smile at yourself all you want. The rest of the world’s not laughing.

    To put it bluntly, your P.R. is worse than Israel’s.

    Defend that.

    And learn how to spell the word “non sequitur”, dumbass.

  • You are a liar. And that’s being generous.

    I stopped reading right there and our debate is officially over.

    I’m embarrassed for your shilling. I understand being supportive of a candidate for President and even of that person when he becomes President as you have been to an extreme degree – so extreme that I believed and believe you were a campaign operative.

    I don’t think that Obama’s intentions are bad and I actually believe that he truly believes this is the road to peace. He has every right to pursue this path and as I wrote, much of what he said is definitely what needed to be said to his audience.

    But Obama can be criticized whether you like it or not. He’s just a person and he can be wrong.

    There isn’t a single lie in what I wrote. You may disagree strongly and you may not like that I don’t lie down and accept your defense of Obama, but everything I wrote is correct and true from my point of view.

    End of discussion. I won’t speak to you again.

  • You don’t have to speak to me, but for the record I wish to note that simply “appeasing Arabs” is not my position. I have stated this repeatedly. I consider it an instance of motzi shem ra for you or anyone else to say as much in the face of what I have explained as my position.

    If you do not understand my position, you can always ask me to clarify. But to assert what you propose to be my beliefs with the preface “who gives a flying fuck about Israel…” and the weasly follow-up “Don’t you feel better now that you’ve expressed the truth,” is not a good faith approach to an argument. Maybe you are not capable of understanding my position. But don’t tell me what I do and don’t believe is “the truth”.

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