OT: Timing is Everything and Why Nothing Ever Changes in Mideast Peace
From today’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “Jewish Donors Warn Obama on Israel”:
Jewish donors and fund-raisers are warning the Obama re-election campaign that the president is at risk of losing financial support because of concerns about his handling of Israel.
The complaints began early in President Barack Obama’s term, centered on a perception that Mr. Obama has been too tough on Israel.
Some Jewish donors say Mr. Obama has pushed Israeli leaders too hard to halt construction of housing settlements in disputed territory, a longstanding element of U.S. policy. Some also worry that Mr. Obama is putting more pressure on the Israelis than the Palestinians to enter peace negotiations, and say they are disappointed Mr. Obama has not visited Israel yet.
Robert Copeland, a Virginia Beach, Va., developer, who has given large donations to many Democrats, has already decided he won’t vote for Mr. Obama in 2012. “I’m very disappointed with him,” he said. “His administration has failed in Israel. They degraded the Israeli people.”
Mr. Adler says he does not doubt Mr. Obama’s commitment to Israel but thinks the White House needs to do a better job communicating its support.
Three opportunities come in the next four days: On Thursday, Mr. Obama gives a speech about U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and on Friday he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Sunday, Mr. Obama addresses the largest pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee…
Some of the misgivings among Jewish supporters can be traced to specific incidents that resonated in the Jewish community. Last year, for example, Israeli media suggested Mr. Obama had snubbed Mr. Netanyahu and an Israeli delegation by leaving a White House meeting early.
I find it fascinating that none of these individuals in this article seem to be the slightest bit annoyed at Bibi Netanyahu for his treatment of this administration. I mean, how dare the POTUS request Israel stop building illegal settlements in accordance with international law and long-standing US policy! How dare the U.S. President try to be an honest broker rather than an advocate for only one side!
This article appeared today for a reason- it was timed to be a shot across the administration’s bow. I just hope that this administration will ignore this kind of flagrant attempt at political blackmail and instead do the right thing- make a strong push for Mideast Peace. Unfortunately, I doubt they will.
This article illustrates the sad fact that while many claim to want two states and claim to support an end to settlements, they really don’t. The attitude is “sure, we support two states so long as Israel doesn’t have to make any concessions, so long as Israel is never criticized and so long as settlements can continue unabated (and so long as huge amounts of money continue to flow) for as long as Israeli leaders see fit.” This attitude is simply not reasonable- in fact, it’s radical and dangerous. The sentiments in the article also feed into negative stereotypes about which special interests have a disproportionate say in US foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East, and why.
Perhaps most damaging, this article encapsulates why nothing ever changes- it helps explain why Obama has seemingly backed down and given up on putting forth a bold plan for getting negotiations going and it helps explain why the status quo remains in the Middle East despite the fact that it harms Israel, the U.S. and the Palestinians.