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President Obama’s AIPAC Speech

May 22, 2011

President Obama just gave a very smart speech to AIPAC. I’ll admit I was wrong- I thought he was going to back away from his 1967 comments and he most certainly didn’t- in fact, he defended them in a way- a respectful way- that made Netanyahu and the media look petty for making such a big deal about them. Did he pander? Yes, he did, but every politician who speaks at AIPAC panders, it’s a given. I disagreed with how he misrepresented what the Palestinians are trying to do at the UN- he continues to make it sound as though only Israel has security concerns or legally recognized rights. He also didn’t address the settlement issue which is a violation of the Palestinians rights under international law.

The ridiculous hysteria that followed Obama’s Mideast speech shows just how close-minded and intolerant people are of having an honest debate about this topic. There was nothing controversial in Obama’s Middle East speech last week but the status quo crowd, including AIPAC and Congressional Democrats, rushed to join Bibi Netanyahu in condemning the speech even though they knew Bibi was misrepresenting the comments about negotiations based on 1967 lines with “mutually agreed upon land swaps.” That says a lot not only about our Congress but how extreme some of their views really are. The media is also responsible for poisoning the debate as they rushed to help add fuel to the controversy by not correcting Bibi’s misrepresentations.

A couple of observations from the speech:

1. Obama was pissed off at Bibi for misrepresenting his comments and treating him so disrespectfully at the WH. But rather than be disrespectful back, Obama came out and said his comments had been misconstrued but didn’t mention Bibi by name. He explained that every administration had used 1967 as a framework even if it wasn’t stated quite as directly/bluntly as he stated it the other day.

2. The media and Bibi are going to have a hard time twisting this speech and criticizing it.

3. Obama hit all the right notes. I don’t agree with some of what he said about Goldstone and the UN but he said what he had to say to the AIPAC crowd.

4. Bibi ends up looking incredibly petty.

Full transcript of the speech as delivered:

Good morning! Thank you, Rosy, for your very kind introduction. But even more, thank you for your many years friendship. Back in Chicago, when I was just getting started in national politics, I reached out to a lot of people for advice and counsel, and Rosy was one of the very first. When I made my first visit to Israel, after entering the Senate, Rosy – you were at my side every step of that very meaningful journey through the Holy Land. And I want to thank you for your enduring friendship, your leadership and for your warm welcome today.

Thank you to David Victor, Howard Kohr and all the Board of Directors. And let me say that it’s wonderful to look out and see so many great friends, including Alan Solow, Howard Green and a very large delegation from Chicago.

I want to thank the members of Congress who are joining you today—who do so much to sustain the bonds between the United States and Israel—including Eric Cantor, Steny Hoyer, and the tireless leader I was proud to appoint as the new chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

We’re joined by Israel’s representative to the United States, Ambassador Michael Oren. As well as one of my top advisors on Israel and the Middle East for the past four years, and who I know is going to be an outstanding ambassador to Israel—Dan Shapiro. Dan has always been a close and trusted advisor, and I know he’ll do a terrific job.

And at a time when so many young people around the world are standing up and making their voices heard, I also want to acknowledge all the college students from across the country who are here today. No one has a greater stake in the outcome of events that are unfolding today than your generation, and it’s inspiring to see you devote your time and energy to help shape the future.

Now, I’m not here to subject you to a long policy speech. I gave one on Thursday in which I said that the United States sees the historic changes sweeping the Middle East and North Africa as a moment of great challenge, but also a moment of opportunity for greater peace and security for the entire region, including the State of Israel.

On Friday, I was joined at the White House by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and we reaffirmed that fundamental truth that has guided our presidents and prime ministers for more than 60 years—that, even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad.

A strong and secure Israel is in the national security interest of United States not simply because we share strategic interests, although we do both seek a region where families and their children can live free from the threat of violence. It’s not simply because we face common dangers, although there can be no denying that terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons are grave threats to both our nations.

America’s commitment to Israel’s security also flows from a deeper place —and that’s the values we share. As two people who struggled to win our freedom against overwhelming odds, we understand that preserving the security for which our forefathers fought must be the work of every generation. As two vibrant democracies, we recognize that the liberties and freedom we cherish must be constantly nurtured. And as the nation that recognized the State of Israel moments after its independence, we have a profound commitment to its survival as a strong, secure homeland of the Jewish people.

We also know how difficult that search for security can be, especially for a small nation like Israel in a tough neighborhood. I’ve seen it firsthand. When I touched my hand against the Western Wall and placed my prayer between its ancient stones, I thought of all the centuries that the children of Israel had longed to return to their ancient homeland. When I went to Sderot, I saw the daily struggle to survive in the eyes of an eight-year old boy who lost his leg to a Hamas rocket. And when I walked among the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, I grasped the existential fear of Israelis when a modern dictator seeks nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the map.

Because we understand the challenges Israel faces, I and my administration have made the security of Israel a priority. It’s why we’ve increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels. It’s why we’re making our most advanced technologies available to our Israeli allies. And it’s why, despite tough fiscal times, we’ve increased foreign military financing to record levels.

That includes additional support – beyond regular military aid – for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system. This is a powerful example of American-Israel cooperation which has already intercepted rockets from Gaza and helped saved innocent Israeli lives. So make no mistake, we will maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.

You also see our commitment to our shared security in our determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Here in the U.S., we’ve imposed the toughest sanctions ever on the Iranian regime. At the United Nations, we’ve secured the most comprehensive international sanctions on the regime, which have been joined by allies and partners around the world. Today, Iran is virtually cut off from large parts of the international financial system, and we are going to keep up the pressure. So let me be absolutely clear – we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Its illicit nuclear program is just one challenge that Iran poses. As I said on Thursday, the Iranian government has shown its hypocrisy by claiming to support the rights of protesters while treating its own people with brutality. Moreover, Iran continues to support terrorism across the region, including providing weapons and funds to terrorist organizations. So we will continue to work to prevent these actions, and will stand up to groups like Hezbollah who exercise political assassination, and seek to impose their will through rockets and car bombs.

You also see our commitment to Israel’s security in our steadfast opposition to any attempt to de-legitimize the State of Israel. As I said at the United Nation’s last year, “Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate,” and “efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.”

So when the Durban Review Conference advanced anti-Israel sentiment, we withdrew. In the wake of the Goldstone Report, we stood up strongly for Israel’s right to defend itself. When an effort was made to insert the United Nations into matters that should be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, we vetoed it.

And so, in both word and deed, we have been unwavering in our support of Israel’s security. And it is precisely because of our commitment to Israel’s long-term security that we have worked to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties. And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace: recognizing Israel’s right to exist, rejecting violence, and adhering to all existing agreements. And we once again call on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who has been kept from his family for five long years.

And yet, no matter how hard it may be to start meaningful negotiations under the current circumstances, we must acknowledge that a failure to try is not an option. The status quo is unsustainable. That is why, on Thursday, I stated publicly the principles that the United States believes can provide a foundation for negotiations toward an agreement to end the conflict and all claims – the broad outlines of which have been known for many years, and have been the template for discussions between the United States, Israelis, and Palestinians since at least the Clinton Administration.

I know that stating these principles – on the issues of territory and security – generated some controversy over the past few days. I was not entirely surprised. I know very well that the easy thing to do, particularly for a President preparing for reelection, is to avoid any controversy. But as I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe that the current situation in the Middle East does not allow for procrastination. I also believe that real friends talk openly and honestly with one another. And so I want to share with you some of what I said to the Prime Minister.

Here are the facts we all must confront. First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories. This will make it harder and harder – without a peace deal – to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.

Second, technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself in the absence of a genuine peace.

And third, a new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region. A just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders. Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained.

Just as the context has changed in the Middle East, so too has it been changing in the international community over the last several years. There is a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process – or the absence of one. Not just in the Arab World, but in Latin America, in Europe, and in Asia. That impatience is growing, and is already manifesting itself in capitols around the world.

These are the facts. I firmly believe, and repeated on Thursday, that peace cannot be imposed on the parties to the conflict. No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state. And the United States will stand up against efforts to single Israel out at the UN or in any international forum. Because Israel’s legitimacy is not a matter for debate.

Moreover, we know that peace demands a partner – which is why I said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist, and we will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric.

But the march to isolate Israel internationally – and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations – will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative. For us to have leverage with the Palestinians, with the Arab States, and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success. So, in advance of a five day trip to Europe in which the Middle East will be a topic of acute interest, I chose to speak about what peace will require.

There was nothing particularly original in my proposal; this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. Administrations. But since questions have been raised, let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday.

I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

That is what I said. Now, it was my reference to the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps that received the lion’s share of the attention. And since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means.

By definition, it means that the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. It is a well known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last forty-four years, including the new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

If there’s a controversy, then, it’s not based in substance. What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately. I have done so because we cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace. The world is moving too fast. The extraordinary challenges facing Israel would only grow. Delay will undermine Israel’s security and the peace that the Israeli people deserve.

I know that some of you will disagree with this assessment. I respect that. And as fellow Americans and friends of Israel, I know that we can have this discussion.

Ultimately, however, it is the right and responsibility of the Israeli government to make the hard choices that are necessary to protect a Jewish and democratic state for which so many generations have sacrificed. And as a friend of Israel, I am committed to doing our part to see that this goal is realized, while calling not just on Israel, but on the Palestinians, the Arab States, and the international community to join us in that effort. Because the burden of making hard choices must not be Israel’s alone.

Even as we do all that’s necessary to ensure Israel’s security; even as we are clear-eyed about the difficult challenges before us; and even as we pledge to stand by Israel through whatever tough days lie ahead – I hope we do not give up on that vision of peace. For if history teaches us anything—if the story of Israel teaches us anything—it is that with courage and resolve, progress is possible. Peace is possible.

The Talmud teaches us that so long as a person still has life, they should never abandon faith. And that lesson seems especially fitting today,

For so long as there are those, across the Middle East and beyond, who are standing up for the legitimate rights and freedoms which have been denied by their governments, the United States will never abandon our support for those rights that are universal.

And so long as there are those who long for a better future, we will never abandon our pursuit of a just and lasting peace that ends this conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security. This is not idealism or naivete. It’s a hard-headed recognition that a genuine peace is the only path that will ultimately provide for a peaceful Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and a Jewish state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel, and God bless the United States of America.

I’ll be interested to see the reaction to the speech from the media, the status quo lobby and politicians. If you see any reaction please leave links in the comments.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    May 22, 2011 12:14 pm

    Nice job throwing the Palestinians under the bus Obama. Honest broker? Not so much.

    Yeah, 1967 blah, blah blah.

    How exactly does Obama plan to get the Israelis to make ANY concessions- we know what he’ll do to get the Palestinians to- defund them, refuse to recognize the unity govt.

    So long as AIPAC controls the debate, there will be no two state solution.

    Obama did do a good job turning the tables on Bibi in a polite way. Right now the media, Bibi Weiner, Lieberman, Steve Israel, Schumer, Lowey etc. look petty and disloyal for criticizing the President and towing the Likud line after his mideast speech.

  2. Tovah permalink
    May 22, 2011 12:20 pm

    Obama has left the US very little wiggle room. Now we know he won’t abstain at the UN, he’s given up on stopping illegal settlements that make a two state solution along the 1967 lines impossible, he’s put preconditions on the Palestinians while claiming their should be no preconditions for the Israelis.

    I agree with Thain that Bibi looks foolish, which was about the only positive of the speech. I am still infuriated at my members of Congress for responding to Bibi’s dog whistle the other day. The way Bibi treated the POTUS at the WH was a disgrace. I may not be a big Obama fan but I don’t expect a foreign leader to come to this country and diss my president.

  3. stacyx permalink*
    May 22, 2011 1:01 pm

    Wow. MJ Rosenberg thinks Obama did a great job at the speech, primarily because Obama stuck it to Bibi and the right for calling out their faux outrage last week.

    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/22/great_job_obama_endorses_two_states_for_two_people/

    There is a deafening silence from the Prime Minister’s office. It could be that Obama’s speech will make Bibi have to rewrite his remarks now that he can no longer keep running around screaming “the 1967 borders are indefensible!” It could also be that Bibi looks like what he is- a far-right extremist who has no intention of creating two states. Unfortunately for Congressional democrats they also look like fools by slavishly following Bibi’s lead after the Mideast speech.

  4. Thain permalink
    May 22, 2011 1:29 pm

    I just watched a clip from David Gregory on MTP- it was before the AIPAC speech so he looks like an ass because of course, being the hasbara echo chamber that he is, he totally misrepresented Obama’s line about 1967 in the mideast speech and he seemed to think it’s ok for Bibi to lecture the POTUS in the oval office about the history of the Mideast. If Gregory can’t put his own personal issues on the side when he reports he should leave journalism. Then some Republican on the show said they’d pick up 75,000 Jewish votes in Florida as a result. Unbelievable.

    If anyone had any remaining reservations about the ridiculous media bias which demands everything about Israel be sugar-coated, it’s been on full display this past week as most US media outlets scrambled to help Bibi get his message out even if it meant willfully misrepresenting what the president said. This raises important and prickly questions about WHY the media feels the need to be an echo chamber for the Israeli leader. Anyone want to venture a guess as to why this happens?

    • Alec permalink
      May 22, 2011 3:30 pm

      I agree with Thain’s assessment. To show how the so-called mainstream media spews out lies to the unsuspecting public one only has to read CNN’s reporting of President Obama’s speech this morning and then read the real speech. I can’t believe that a U.S network could be so disrespectful of a U.S President in the way that CNN reported that Netanyahu “lectured” the U.S President instead of rightly pointing out how ill-mannered and grossly disrespectful of the United States President he was.

  5. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    May 22, 2011 2:48 pm

    So Bibi issued a statement that he was “pleased” by the President’s remarks at AIPAC. Guess he’s going to play it that Obama took advantage of the opportunity to “redeem” himself.

    • Thain permalink
      May 22, 2011 4:00 pm

      He’s pathetic. I guess he’s sending a message to his troops in Congress.

      I am actually more disgusted today than I was yesterday. Listening to the media salivate over Bibi is just too much. Of course, because the media was part of the feigned controversy, they will now largely ignore the AIPAC speech because they can’t keep it going- if they did it would make Bibi look bad, so they won’t. It’s bad enough the Lobby owns our foreign policy but they own the media too.

  6. Thain permalink
    May 22, 2011 4:08 pm

    This is pathetic:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/obama-met-with-applause-at-aipac-but-with-a-boo-or-two-too-1.363396

    With every passing minute the Jewish community looks worse and worse. What planet are they living on? All they care about is making everything someone else’s fault. The Jewish members in Congress look like a bunch of petty traitors. It’s become crystal clear that the main obstacle to peace isn’t Palestinian or Israeli intransigence, although that’s certainly part of it, it’s the Jewish community in the U.S. that has some twisted notion of loyalty, unlike in Israeli where they actually talk honestly about these things. Seriously. Call me what you want, it’s true. Time to stop pretending. These guys are following the McCarthy blueprint and dragging us all down with them. 2% of the population controls 100% of our Mideast policy? Makes perfect sense.

  7. Thain permalink
    May 22, 2011 4:13 pm

    Look at how some of the conservative members of the Knesset talk about the President- “we won’t pay Obama’s tuition…” Hello? Israel is our client state, that’s it, pure and simple. Can you imagine if a US leader talked about an Israeli leader like that?

    http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=221724

    Bibi came to this country and treated the POTUS like sh*t and the media sides with Bibi.

    Now Bibi’s trying to make it sound like HE’S responsible for this AIPAC speech.

    I’m really disgusted.

    • stacyx permalink*
      May 22, 2011 4:26 pm

      Relax Thain, nothing at all has changed since yesterday or the day before or the day before or the day before…….and on and on.

      You are right that the media acted disgracefully by pandering to Bibi and unquestioningly repeating his talking points which included misrepresenting what Obama actually said. And yes, the media will now play all this down since there weren’t any fireworks at AIPAC and since Bibi will keep relatively quiet and try to claim responsibility for Obama’s “changed tone”- at least that’s what Bibi and his staff and other members of Likud are doing as we speak.

      Don’t get mad- take action. Write the WaPo, MSNBC (David Gregory), members of Congress etc. and ask them why they purposely misrepresented Obama’s words and acted as an echo chamber for Netanyahu while totally ignoring the fact that a foreign leader sat in the Oval Office and showed the utmost disrespect for the President. THAT was the REAL controversy. Ask them why whenever there are tensions between the U.S. and Israel they automatically blame the President rather than Israel. Ask them why they have so few Arab or Palestinian voices in their pages and on their shows. Even if you don’t get an answer- and sometimes you will- keep asking.

      Is the media terribly biased towards Israel and does that impact the average Americans knowledge of what is going on? Yes. Why do you think I blog about it even though people get sick of hearing it? Because we have to keep pounding home the message that being “pro-Israel” does not mean rubber stamping every Likud statement, nor does it require us to choose between Israel or the US- if the media, Congress, the Lobby or members of the Jewish community actually think they have to choose one or the other, then we are in big trouble.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        May 22, 2011 4:40 pm

        What do you make of this? Besides saying he was “pleased” by Obama’s speech to AIPAC, Netanyahu called it “befitting.” Befitting? Befitting whom or what? Befitting his station as supplicant to AIPAC? Befitting a leader of Netanyahu’s stature? Befitting the pro-Israel setting? Such a strange choice of words — and no accident, I’m sure.

        • stacyx permalink*
          May 23, 2011 7:10 am

          Netanyahu is a disgrace but he gets away with it because every politician is tripping over each other to pander to the foreign leader. The arrogance is incredible:

          http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/likud-obama-s-aipac-speech-shows-he-listened-to-netanyahu-1.363407

          I don’t even blame Netanyahu- sure he’s going to be the ass he is given the chance. I blame Congress and the Likud Lobby here in the US for this. Allowing a foreign leader to treat a President like this when he is a guest in this country and when we the taxpayer fund Israel’s wants and needs so that they can have government-run healthcare, and so they can have a good economy, is unbelievable.

          But until the Jewish community stands up and tells Netanyahu that such behavior is unacceptable nothing is going to change. There’s a reason every politician who wants to keep his or her job has to run the gauntlet at AIPAC and rubber stamp every Israeli whim.

          There’s no point expecting the Christian Zionists to do anything- their reasons for supporting Israel are shady and self-serving at best.

  8. Bill permalink
    May 23, 2011 1:01 am

    In the Middle East anything said by an Obama about israel will have ramifacations in the Arab world!! He should have kept his mouth shut look what he did to Egypt Islamists killing Coptics! The man knows little about foreign affairs and should take himself back to Chicago with his failing domestic polict also! OBAMA =FAIL

  9. Tovah permalink
    May 23, 2011 8:57 am

    I’ll admit I’m confused. One minute I’m tempted to give him credit and then the next I reread the speech and think “what a cop out!”

    I think Stacy’s right that there was no way Obama can go to AIPAC and diss them or Bibi particularly after Bibi set the stage by whipping everyone up into a frenzy over the 1967 issue. The way Bibi has played this on the one hand has been disgraceful but on the other hand, there is next to no pushback regarding how he purposely misrepresented Obama’s comments or how he lectured Obama in the WH.

    I really don’t like being in the position of defending Obama b/c I certainly am not a fan but I don’t like any foreign leader coming here and showing disrespect to the office. I keep wondering when people who don’t follow the issue closely will get fed up with Israel’s antics but then I watched the beginning of ‘Morning Joe’ this morning and Scarborough just went off on Obama about how he doesn’t love Israel, etc. etc. and when anyone tried to get a word in edge-wise he just started yelling. It was a telling moment because it sums up the debate in this country- if you deviate from the AIPAC line then you will get screamed down. Scarborough, Bibi, Weiner, Schumer etc. don’t want average Americans to know how disrespectful Bibi was. They don’t want Americans to know that we pay Israel’s bills and so they set out to blame the American President for everything and give Bibi a pass so people don’t start asking hard questions. The media plays a big role in this as Stacy and others have said over and over. David Gregory this weekend also misrepresented Obama’s views- Gregory is totally biased when it comes to Israel- he’s made that clear time and time again.

    Ok I’m rambling…sorry.

  10. May 23, 2011 9:45 am

    You guys have it wrong. Bibi didn’t stir up anyone about Obama’s speech. The Israeli electorate was aghast to see such an extreme view put forth by the Obama administration. Obama said phased withdrawal to 67 lines..land swaps or no land swaps, using those lines as a basis for talks compromises Israeli security. No one is being close minded or stubborn. Those lines and even lines slightly adjusted would put every single Israeli into serious danger.

    Not to mention the original Palestinian mandate affords Jewish rights in lands beyond the armistice lines. By demanding a phased withdrawal those rights are being abrogated.

    • stacyx permalink*
      May 23, 2011 9:55 am

      The bit about land swaps DOES matter. Also, the lines and borders would be negotiated- this has been long-standing US policy, albeit not stated so explicitly. Even Olmert recognized those lines as the foundation for negotiations. So basically, no one likes the fact that Obama said it out loud even though it’s been our policy for years- I guess we should all just keep pretending the basis for boundary negotiations should exist somewhere in Russia.

      Lets face it, Bibi was upset because he has no intention of ever allowing a Palestinian state with anything resembling contiguous borders. That’s what this is about.

      The ongoing settlements are illegal under international law, the fact that you don’t choose to acknowledge those laws notwithstanding. By land swaps everyone knows Israel will be keeping huge amounts of land. In other words, Israel will be rewarded for violating international law, which is of course why the settlements continue- to change facts on the ground in a way that would never be tolerated if done by the Palestinians.

      I’m curious as to what the Likudniks think a final peace deal will look like- we hear a lot about what you guys DON’T approve of, but not what you do. It sounds to me an awful lot like some want a series of bantustans with limited sovereignty or perhaps some are hoping that they can appropriate so much land that they can push the Palestinians either into the sea or into Jordan, Egypt, Syria or Lebanon.

      If Israelis don’t want a two state solution then just have the guts to come out and say it. Since such a decision impacts our national security perhaps we should stop financing the occupation then? Israel is making decisions that have consequences so I’m not sure why the US taxpayer has to carry the burden of bad choices.

      • May 23, 2011 10:53 am

        Our final peace deal will be Israel in secure borders between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Oalestinians can have local autonomy as they already do. They have freedom of movement between all areas and their is local economic cooperation between these areas and Israelis living near by.

        Communities beyond the armistice line are not illegal under International law. Jews have historic rights in all of the Land of Israel as stated by the League of Nations and the British Mandate. Saying a Jew cannot build a house where he chooses because he is a Jew is racist at the least. Arabs beyond the “green line” build when they want to.

        In terms of the US taxpayers, Israel’s economy has been independent for years now. We are one of the fastest growing economies in the world. American aid contributes very little to Israel’s GDP. In terms of military aid Israel is forced to spend the money back in America so the aid actually benefits American companies. Israel would benefit more without military aid at this point than with it.

        • May 23, 2011 11:13 am

          Ok, thanks for your honestly, you really don’t want two states but maybe a couple of pockets of noncontiguous palestinian areas. You’ll never have peace then because that will be unacceptable not only to the Palestinians but to the US and the international community.

          No, the settlements are illegal under numerous UN resolutions. The fact that you choose to selectively interpret international law to benefit your occupation enterprise is neither here nor there. Under that rationale then Iran can selectively interpret international law too. And North Korea. Hey, lets all ignore laws that are inconvenient!

          Is your Jewish-only housing racist? Just wondering. The notion that Palestinians have total freedom of movement and the right to live and build wherever they want is laughable. I’ve watched videos of Palestinians screaming and crying as their homes are being demolished to make way for jewish only housing. But hey, that’s not racism!

          Since you are doing so well economically then you don’t need our aid, special trade packages or the US funding any of your military technology. Great- why don’t you write our President and tell him that because we taxpayers could use the money for our health system or education. I love how Israelis are always saying “oh you don’t give us that much, we’re doing fine” but then every time an Israeli leader is in Washington they have their hand out wanting more. Ehud Barak thinks another 20 Billion is needed to help you defend yourself against the Arab Spring. We make all kinds of defense contract, trade exceptions for Israel that we allow for no one else and which benefit you financially, but hey, you don’t need it, so great, we’ll keep it. And of course if anyone were to actually SAY they were going to stop aid to Israel your govt would have a fit. So lets stop pretending we just give you pocket change.

          Your comments are very eye-opening. You have solidified for me why Israel is on a suicidal path and as usual, you will depend on the US to pick up the pieces. Come September it will be the US who has to save you. When the next flotilla arrives it will be the US who has to make excuses for you and when you violate international law it is the US that must squander our credibility to prevent any accountability for you.

          Goodbye Israel rising. Enjoy what’s left of your democracy. And remember- don’t forget to write our congress and president and tell them you don’t need our money or any of the perks we give you!

          • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
            May 23, 2011 12:00 pm

            What she said!

            Israel Rising – I just want to know one thing: how does Israel live with all its hypocrisies? Trampelling on international law! Refusing to acknowledge your own nuclear arms arsenal while demanding that Iran be held accountable! The sense of entitlement behind your land grabs! The utter disregard for the needs and rights of your Arab neighbors! The racism inherent in many of your own policies affecting Palestinians! The willingness to shoot unarmed, largely peaceful, vastly outnumbered protesters, all in the name of security!

            Just how long will the whole world have to pay its debt to Jews for the atrocities committed by Nazis and others during WWII? Just how much land does that entitle you to grab? How many Palestinian homes to bulldoze? How many protesters to murder with impunity?

            To paraphrase our former President, Bill Clinton, respectfully, just who the f*** do you think you are?!

            • May 23, 2011 12:48 pm

              @Carolyn-

              Brilliant response.

              Marry me?

            • May 23, 2011 5:28 pm

              Wait. Let me get this straight. When Jews buy land and build a house that is considered stealing, but when Arabs demand that NO Jews live in “Palestine” that is fine? I think the only hypocrisy is your own. International Law supports defensible borders and since there never was a Palestinian state, the “West Bank” or Judea and Samaria to be more historically correct is considered disputed and since that is the case the communities there are legal.

              Spouting your incessant misinformed garbage and talking points shows how ignorant you really are. Nobody here can even quote me a legal ruling stating the contrary to the League of Nation decision and UN Council resolution 242.

            • May 24, 2011 8:18 am

              Oh, so you call it “buying” a house when Palestinian towns are razed to make way for Jewish-only housing?

              Israel is the occupier- Palestinians can demand anything they want, they aren’t getting it, are they?

              “The International Court of Justice and the international community say these settlements are illegal and no government supports Israel’s settlements. Israel disputes the position of the international community. he Fourth Geneva Convention includes statements such as “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” The United Nations has repeatedly upheld this position…”In 1967, Theodor Meron, legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated in a legal opinion to Adi Yafeh, the Political Secretary of the Prime Minister, “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” The legal opinion, forwarded to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, was not made public at the time… In 2007, Meron stated that “I believe that I would have given the same opinion today.”

              So the entire world except Israel is incorrect. The way around that it to say “no, it’s disputed, so it’s legal.” Or I guess we could just say “well, the UN hates israel so anything they decide doesn’t matter.”

  11. Thain permalink
    May 23, 2011 1:50 pm

    Israel Rising- Not being able to steal palestinian land and homes is racist? That’s the best I’ve heard all day.

    So you won’t mind if the Palestinians come to your neighborhood where you live one day and make it an Arab -only neighborhood, right? I’m sure if the situation were reversed you would feel just the same, right?

    Great freedom of movement:

    http://articles.cnn.com/2009-12-09/world/gaza.student_1_west-bank-gaza-gisha?_s=PM:WORLD

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/shin-bet-security-service-bars-gazan-from-studying-overseas-1.227256

    Boy, I wish I had me some of those same rights! Those lucky Palestinians! How dare they complain!

    http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/apartheid.php

    Oh, and no racism here!

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/poll-half-of-israeli-teens-don-t-want-arab-students-in-their-class-1.312479

    The Palestinians certainly aren’t without their problems and faults, no argument there and Hamas should totally renounce violence. But with each day Israel is leaning more towards apartheid and if you think you can prevent the consequences of that by wrapping yourself in victimhood and moral self-righteousness think again. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  12. Thain permalink
    May 23, 2011 1:59 pm

    Stacy said:

    @Carolyn-

    Brilliant response.

    Marry me?

    Ummm…I seem to remember Carolyn saying something about…what was it…Oh yeah! A HUSBAND and a few kids or something…🙂

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      May 23, 2011 8:36 pm

      Oh, well, yes…but…
      Thain, I didn’t peg you as quite so provincial! Here in the Bi Apple, we see all sorts of arrangements under the sun. And that was no typo, heh heh.

    • May 24, 2011 8:19 am

      Uh, Thain your point is what exactly?

  13. March 4, 2012 7:55 pm

    Obama is going to win the Jewish vote and the 2012 election. He is clearly a brilliant president.

  14. January 24, 2013 7:35 pm

    The Jewish votes are always the best ones.

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  3. James Zogby: On a Collision Course With Arab Opinion | BNewsworld

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