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May 25, 2011 01:02 AM UTC

Why Is The American Right Bashing Obama Over Israel?

  • by: Aristotle

Ordinarily, I’d say this isn’t a topic for Colorado Pols, but since Craig Silverman’s opinions about this have made their way here, I feel that it’s worthy of discussion.

To recap: Last week, President Obama stated in a speech that Israel / Palestine peace talks need to go forward, with the “1967 borders” as a starting point. As most of you recall, this made the American right flip out. (Not just the right; Harry Reid got in on the act, too.)

There’s a good reason why this might rub some the wrong way. Up til 1967, Israel was extremely narrow at points, as slender as 7 miles from border to Mediterranean at one point. Several important towns and cities, including Tel Aviv, were mere miles from the frontier, and the lines even divided Jerusalem down the middle. The Six Days War, launched by Israel as Egypt, Syria and Jordan were massing troops, pushed these lines far away and gave Israel some much needed breathing room. Given the fact that Israel remains in a state of war with Syria, has no peace agreement with Lebanon (which is still under Syria’s sway), not to mention Iran and their influence in the region, I can understand why Israelis might be nervous about this.…

So why did Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement issued a mere six months ago, agree that the 1967 borders were, in fact, the place to begin discussions?…

From a joint statement issued by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, November 11, 2010:

The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement. H/T toAndrew Sullivan.

I’m not an expert in foreign affairs, let alone the complex relationship the USA has with Israel. But I do know that Obama’s recent statement accurately reflects what Netanyahu and Clinton said here. I also know that there was no uproar at the time.

So why is there one now?


32 thoughts on “Why Is The American Right Bashing Obama Over Israel?

  1. It is Tuesday, Aristotle.

    They’re tired of talking about vaginas (vaginii?) and haven’t figured out how they’re going to start fixing the jobs situation that they campaigned on, so… whatever Obama says, they’ll do the opposite.

      1. Israel is afraid the U.S. isn’t being sufficiently biased toward Israel in navigating the issue, and they’ve got both of our political parties under their thumb – Democrats because of the Jewish vote and Republicans because they either want to hasten the end times or because it makes them look tough on Arabs (or something – I’m sure that’s a gross exaggeration of the GOP position on Israel, but since there are groups within the GOP that think that way, why not…).

        Other than that, I’m still thinking Bibi and Obama have just been having some not-productive conversations and Netanyahu felt he needed to rattle his political saber.

      2. But I don’t think the President made his statement in a way that was immediately understandable. He very quickly mentioned land swaps without giving any further explanation, which I think may have resulted in some of the immediate criticisms.

        But the right has latched onto his speech and conveniently leaves out any mention of the more detailed explanations from the President since – not to mention Netanyahu reaffirming in his speech to Congress today much of the President’s position.

      1. Yes, I know that the right has a knee-jerk, anything-Obama-does-is-bad, never-mind-if-Bush-or-any-rightie-ever-supported-it reaction to Obama all the time.

        What I’m more curious about, and perhaps should have included in the diary, is why the American Right has taken on the hardline stance in this matter. It seems pretty sensible to me that Israel has a right to exist; that Palestine also has a right to exist; that neither come to this issue with clean hands; and that it’s long past time to get something settled.

        Maybe, on this one point, it’s simply the knee jerk reaction taking place. But Netanyahu has apparently criticized the very position he took six months ago. I’m wondering about the dynamic at play.

        1. has his own version of the nut bag (scrotus?) right wing to deal with at home, too.  Not to say the Bibi is all that realiable as a political ally anyway (another diary perhaps).

          But you’ve got this eerie alignment of the planets — our 2012 elections (so now a little pander from the left, and now a pander from the right); the Arab spring uprisings that now threaten some passive resistance public demonstrations on the Israeli border (and that’s the scariest thing the Israel could face, because anything that they do will look bad in the international press); the European countries discussing official UN recognition of a Palestinian state; the Obama hating wing of the GOP (What do you call an animal thats all wing and no body?); the Isreali conservatives and settlement expansion pressures, etc., etc.

          1. Especially the part about his having to pander to a vociferous, albeit a minority right wing. In Israel, too, the people will only get what they stand up for.

          2. a nasty piece of work.  After the first go round I couldn’t believe that, years later, the Israelis elected him again. He has no intention of ever working toward any credible two state solution. His whole thing is buying time, creating irreversible (he thinks) facts on the ground, delay, obstruct, deny. He doesn’t have an honest bone in his body. No wonder there’s no love lost between him and Obama.  

  2. I think they are targeting the Jewish vote assuming that the only issue Jewish Americans care about is Israel. Perhaps what they fail to realize is that Jewish Americans are like all other Americans and have much more depth than one single issue.

    While I’m not Jewish, I have Jewish friends and I know that not all of them agree with the aggressive style of Netanyahu.

    And like TobiasFunke said above, if Obama said it, they will criticize it.  

    1. The old Jewish organizations may be militant Netanyahu fans but all recent polls show most American Jews aren’t buying what they’re selling anymore. There has long been a very big land for peace movement in Israel.  To get the views of those of us not represented by the big old fashioned militant lobbies check out J Street at

      1. Republicans are just trying to peel off some Jewish voters in the sunshine state in time for 2012.

        Maybe if they succeed we’ll start a land war in Asia.

        1. scare Florida Jewish seniors about Obama back in 2008  Didn’t do enough damage then and  there’s no reason to be overly fearful of that tactic tanking Dem chances this time around either.  

    2. I am Jewish (by conversion) and my Jewish famiily and friends are split on this issue. There is no one like mind when it comes to Jewish opinions about mid-east policy.

      There IS  group-think among my fundamentalist Christian relatives and friends, though. They support Israel, but their motivations are hardly altruistic. It has more to do with their own survival, rather than the survivol of the Jewish people. I have been told many times that only 144,000 Jews will be deemed worthy of saving on Judgment Day, according to the Bible (think about how many Jews they are damning when they say that!). According to their beliefs, Jews must be in power in  Israel before Jesus returns to Earth. Everytime a right-winger says he loves Israel, I can’ty help but think how much they may see Jewish people as merely pawns for their own salvation.

      Jewish Republicans are an oxymoron.  

  3. Remember in ’08 when the McCain folks were pressing the idea that Jews wouldn’t vote for Obama — or at least would be a core Democratic constituency newly receptive to the Republican side? Remember many Dems (err, including me) being worried that possibility was real? As a Jew, I also specifically remember getting tons of “aaaagh, Obama is terrible for us” emails.

    All the “Jews abandon  Obama” grousing proved to be BS: Obama got a higher share of the Jewish vote than any recent Dem candidate.

    Basically, the reflexively “Israel should keep all land” righties are vocal enough to sound like a large constituency — but they’re not.

    1. Like many Catholics I know, Jews who are deeply spiritual usually care greatly about social justice issues — it is the backbone of our faith. (Personally, I believe being “deeply spiritual” and “traditionally observant” do not always go hand in hand.) I remember speaking to many Jewish friends during ’07 and ’08, and although they were being aggressively courted by the GOP who was trying to appeal to their Zionist concerns, ultimately, their concern for others (providing social services and social safety net programs to the most vulnerable Americans), as well as a respect for the US Constitution (which GWB seemed to wipe his dirty feet on daily), won out in the end. Jewish concerns proved to be no different than (any other) American concerns, giving Obama the Presidency.

  4. They’re running out of things to get in a tizzy about. Ragging about how he “hates” Israel (or as Craig Silverman puts it, “loves sharia and jihad”) fits into the meme of him being a secret Muslim.

    What a bunch of twerps these Republicans are.

  5. to destroy Israel and start Armageddon.  It’s all about fear folks 24/7.  Republicans want you to behave like them and be afraid of tomorrow.  

  6. Here is President Bush, January 11, 2008:

    “The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision” (of a two state solution for Israel and Palestine) “seems clear. There should be an END to the occupation that began in 1967. I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949, to reflect current realities, and to insure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous.”

    Prime Minister Netanyahu in a joint statement with Secretary Clinton released by Isreal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 11, 2010:

    “The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

    and President Obama last week:

    “We believe that the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps to reflect current realities.”

    Notice the similarities? Notice the difference? One of them is a Kenyan who cleverely devised a fake birth certificate and planted a newspaper announcement about his birth in a Honolulu newspaper 50 years ago.

  7. The left wing of the democrat bashess, too. It’s oomplicated obviously, but peace is not imposible.

    In a nutshell, the biggest road block is Hamas.

    1. Hamas ain’t going away. Rabin made peace with the PLO in 1993. Netanyahu could do the same in 2011 but instead chooses to hide behind vague promises of making “painful compromises.” Going back to his days as a spin doctor for the Israeli Embassy in DC, he has never been an honest negotiator. He almost single handedly torpedoed the Wye Agreement back in 1998.

      In a nutshell, Netanyahu won’t do a thing to help Obama now. He’s in bed with America’s religious right and will wait out until 2012 in hopes that Bachmann is in office so he can manipulate her.

  8. Sentinel, today:

    Obama “was wrong to take it upon himself to redefine Israel’s borders,” Tipton said in the statement.

    Obama did not–and cannot–unilaterally ‘redefine Israel’s borders.’  Tipton is either unbelievably sloppy with his language or he doesn’t even understand the talking points he is handed…

    On his recent industry tour of the gaspatch–I’m not sure if he found time yet to meet with Battlement Mesa residents–Mr. Tipton opined, in his e-newsletter:

    we must curb the tide of overregulation that has shutdown domestic energy production.

    Domestic oil production is near a ten-year high while natural gas remains glutted on the market…

    Being a Gary Harmon article, we should not expect the reporter to clarify or provide context to the congressman’s factual errors when simply transcribing them will do.  But another Sentinel article continues the theme of Tipton misstatements:  

    “We still need to be developing a national energy policy,” Tipton said, noting that President Obama has offered $1 billion to Brazil to encourage offshore drilling and said he should support a similar measure in the United States to help consumers.

    President Obama did not offer Brazil $1 billion dollars. Rather the Export Import Bank’s board extended a loan guarantee to Petrobras, requiring that the multinational (one of America’s largest energy developers) both pay it back and use it to buy goods, services and equipment from U.S. companies.  That is the type of thing the Export Import Bank does, which the astute observer might ascertain from the institution’s name.  

    But the wingnut conspiracy has been bouncing around chalk boards and tubz for a while now, and without the proper placement of tinfoil around the Cannon building, it’s gamma rays are bound to affect the more sensitively tuned denizens therein eventually.  

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