Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





Saturday, May 21, 2011


The hard liners on the right (both Israel's and the US's) have been burning up the blogsphere with over-the-top rhetoric (i.e., "Obama is a back-stabbing, Israel hating Muslim").  All of this foaming at the mouth hatred is foolish, since what Mr. Obama proposed last week was what the last four US presidentS have more or less been advocating over the years, and is essentially nothing new.

That doesn't stop the hacks on the right from spewing stupid, incendiary hate speech.  It is telling that this hysterical reaction was absent when President Bush proposed nearly the same thing in 2004.  These knuckleheads don't deal in facts or information but rather use outrage and lies to further their continuing effort to undermine our president.

Here is one of the more glaringly stupid blogs that claims Mr. Obama has "overturned" decades of US/Israeli policy.  The blogger is either devastatingly ignorant or a damn liar.  My guess is that he's both:

"Obama has overturned decades of US foreign policy today by suggesting that Israel return to her pre-1967 borders. Even with his history of bad judgement, this President leaves me speechless. Obama should have followed my lead and also remained speechless yesterday."

There's no sense reading the bloggers who have lost their heads over President Obama's speech, since they don't know what the hell they're talking about.  Ignore their trash.

Below are links to statements from major Jewish groups praising President Obama for his speech.  Following the links is a piece from The Christian Science Monitor, putting the speech in perspective.  And finally from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Cynthia Tucker points out the hypocrisy the right is engaging in.  Again. 


"...several major American Jewish organizations have released statements praising the speech. The people claiming that the President has abandoned Israel are either (1) misunderstanding what he said, or (2) lying. I will let the reader decide which."

Jewish groups respond to Obama’s Mideast speech

By Daniel Treiman · May 19, 2011

"The Anti-Defamation League applauds:

We welcome President Obama's compelling speech on the priorities for American policy in the Middle East. We applaud his strong outlining of the principles which motivate that policy, including supporting the universal rights of free speech, equality and religious freedom, opposing the use of force and political repression, and promoting political and economic reforms. These are a reflection of American values and promote American interests.

We further commend his strong affirmation of the importance of the deep and unshakeable U.S.-Israel relationship, and his clear articulation of the moral and strategic connections between America and Israel. We support the President’s vision of a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement with strong security provisions for Israel, and a non-militarized Palestinian state. We appreciate his direct rejection of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and his understanding that the Hamas-Fatah agreement poses major problems for Israel."

"Tzipi Livni, leader of Israel’s opposition Kadima party, also backed Mr Obama’s two-state solution and accused Mr Netanyahu of putting Israel at risk in order to save his right-wing coalition.

'The prime minister has violated relations between Israel and the United States,' she said, speaking after Mr Obama’s speech but before the Oval Office meeting. 'He has endangered the security of Israel and its power of deterrence.' ”


"The hard-line Israeli prime minister and his aides are furious. "There can be only one meaning to this demand: It is an attempt to determine Israel's borders and the ultimate status of the areas in question in advance of negotiations," the Israeli prime minister says. "We shall never agree to such a step." An aide to the prime minister is even more dramatic, calling the old armistice line the "borders of Auschwitz."

Sound like the back and forth today, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashing out at Obama, and Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney saying the president had "thrown Israel under the bus"?

Yes, it's almost identical. But this was 1992, with George H. W. Bush's administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Mr. Netanyahu, an aide to Mr. Shamir at the time, made the "Auschwitz" comment.

This is all less than 20 years ago and far from ancient history. Which is why it's strange that so many quarters reacted to Obama's statement Thursday as if he'd broken new ground or done something to threaten Israel.

What did he say? "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps." What does that mean? Well, in practice it means the Israelis and the Palestinians would negotiate bits of a future Palestinian state that would not follow the 1967 borders, with some Israeli settlement blocs presumably being swapped for other bits of Israeli land. 1967 is just a starting point.

That's been the general working idea for the last four US presidencies, including two Republican administrations. Yet not only was Romney striking out at Obama as having undermined Israel's "ability to negotiate peace" but others were reacting with outrage. Mike Huckabee complained of Obama's "betrayal" of Israel.

Huckabee also fell into a camp that apparently misunderstood what Obama said. He complained that Obama "made a grievous mistake by suggesting borders of Israel go back to pre-1967 borders." As did Tim Pawlenty, a fellow Republican presidential aspirant ("Obama's insistence on a return to the 1967 borders is a ... very dangerous demand.") As explained earlier, that's not what Obama said.

Netanyahu, who sometimes users bluster as a negotiating tool, practically ordered Obama to change course yesterday. In a statement ahead of his US trip that began today, Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not be founded "at Israel's expense" and that he "expects to hear from President Obama a reconfirmation of commitments to Israel from 2004." The Jerusalem Post characterized Netanyahu's response as "quick and bitter."

But what is the commitment from 2004? It's a letter written by President George W. Bush that ... suggests more or less the same thing that Obama said yesterday.

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion," President Bush wrote to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in April of 2004. "It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."

Now, the language of Bush's comment may be flipped a little, in the sense that he emphasizes that the borders will be different from the 1949-67 borders rather than emphasizing that those should be the starting point, but the overall sense is the same. The real contours of the borders will be determined between the Israelis and Palestinians with "mutually agreed changes" (in Bush's formulation) or "mutually agreed land swaps" (in Obama's). "

Bush, Clinton endorsed pre-1967 borders for Palestinian state

11:15 am May 20, 2011, by ctucker

"The new Republican doctrine demands erasing the old Republican doctrine, even if the old doctrine was acceptable a few years ago. GOP hacks are as busy as apparatchiks in the old Soviet Union who erased out-of-favor Communist VIPs from official photographs.

Anything that President Obama proposes is automatically subjected to bristling condemnation, even if the GOP supported it three years ago. Given that, it’s no great surprise that Mitt Romney is claiming Obama “threw Israel under the bus” in his Mid-East speech yesterday, in which the president called for a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

But just for the sake of adherence to facts, it’s worthwhile to check out recent history. As Atlantic Monthly’s Jeffrey Goldberg points out:

I’m amazed at the amount of insta-commentary out there suggesting that the President has proposed something radical and new by declaring that Israel’s 1967 borders should define — with land-swaps — the borders of a Palestinian state. I’m feeling a certain Groundhog Day effect here. This has been the basic idea for at least 12 years. This is what Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were talking about at Camp David, and later, at Taba. This is what George W. Bush was talking about with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. (Emphasis added.) So what’s the huge deal here? Is there any non-delusional Israeli who doesn’t think that the 1967 border won’t serve as the rough outline of the new Palestinian state?"


Dave Miller said...

Shaw, of course facts are not what is important to people who are set on being critical of President Obama no matter what.

When I posted the link to the Christian Science Monitor article on Mal's site, he of course said I was once again blaming Bush. Somehow, no one there is able to understand the difference between pointing out the simple fact that the policies of Presidents Obama are very similar and blame.

Here in what is eerily like the momentary lapse of honesty we saw from Newt Gingrich this week was the closing exchange between us...

"[Mal] You and your readers are blinded to the facts on this one by your oft stated hatred of President Obama."

His response...

"I guess you got that right Dave. I won't argue with you there."

Great post...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, here are some comments that readers of Andrew Sullivan's blog wrote on his post about Obama's speech and the visit to the US by Netanyahu:

"As an Israeli citizen, I want to thank you for this post. You should know that many Israelis actually do understand that we should go back to 67' borders, but the environment here is so toxic - Not unlike what the far right has done in America - that you just can't say anything out loud or you'll be denounce as almost Antisemitic. What's going on here is awful, Bibi is taking us straight to hell. It's amazing to think that if Ulmert was still in charge, he would have cut a deal with Obama a year ago. What a waste to finally have an American president who is so sincere, serious and decent, at a time when there's no leader, no vision and no hope in Israel.


Though this is not surprising in the least, imagine for a moment that the leader of a country that is openly contemptuous of a sitting Republican president pays a visit to America, is given a warm reception by the Democratically-controlled Congress (indeed, even given the opportunity to address a Joint Session of both houses), and invited to address the leading liberal/Democratic think tanks and lobbying groups.

Can you picture the interminable cries of treason from the right? Can you picture the steam-blowing outrage from Fox News, Rush, etc regarding the warm reception given to a leader antagonistic toward a Republican White House?

And yet, when the roles are reversed, nothing.

I give you huge props for trying to be a voice of reason on "tha malcontent's" blog.

Unfortunately, he and his readers are incapable of reasonable discussion. His blog has never been anything but a vehicle to vent his hatred. (It once had "Beautiful Hatred" in its title) IMHO, it's worthless as a means for rational discussion of any issue.

Charlene said...

People who rage against this do not remember or even check history. They are too busy trying to find a negative thing to rage about. They didn't watch the speech or read the speech. Ignorance is not a cause.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Charlene, you are correct.

What I've read on most conservative blogs is policitcal hackery, and has nothing to do with what was actually in the speech.

Sue said...

my blood boiled when I read that idiots blog, luckily I quickly left, not so with silverfish, I commented but did not go back to see the responces. UGH, those people are brainless idiots! I love the comment you have posted from Sullivans blog..

"Bibi is taking us straight to hell".

I think that's right and I think it's in their plan, they believe they can bring on the Apocalypse, Israel and the fuckin wingnut Republicans!! LOL! I shouldn't laugh, it's not at all funny but scary as hell.

God how I hate those scum bags...the only sane voice is that of President Obama. Thankfully he has tremendous support.

Remember when we wished Clinton could have 3 or even 4 terms as president? 2 is not enough for Obama either. I think Democrats just keep getting better and better and I'm anxiously awaiting what comes next for us in 2016!

Tim said...

I really don't think there will ever be an agreement. On the one hand, look at Gaza. The Israelis got out and then rocket attacks began. If they leave the West Bank there will be more of the same. Truthfully, Israel is not interested in peace at all unless they get to keep every bit of land taken in '67, or at the very least any part where there are large amounts of settlers. I can't really blame them, because even if they sign a peace deal Hamas will insure that it is a worthless scrap of paper and the rocket attacks will commence almost immediately. Their best bet is to keep building that wall and maybe in 200 years or so things will simmer down enough to try again. Both sides have righteous arguments that are valid, and neither is willing to concede defeat. When they spend months arguing about the size/shape of the negotiating table, there really is no concrete steps being taken to resolve the serious territorial boundaries. A Mideast peace deal is not now in the cards, and will not be in our grandchildren's lifetimes. Really, there is nothing that can make the Palestinians whole. They have had their country taken away, after all. And the Israelis are not going to pack their bags and move to Miami. I have an Arab friend who was born in Lebanon, moved to Detroit when he was a child, moved back to Lebanon in '82, sneaked across the Israeli border during the civil war, converted to Judaism, became an Israeli citizen (and changed his last name to a more Jewish sounding one) and lives in the hills of Jerusalem in an area that the UN has deemed an illegal occupation. So I have a little more detailed perspective on how the average Israeli on the street feels. Believe me, those guys are not going anywhere, and they will fight and kill to keep what they have built from nothing in the dessert.

And the wider Arab community will never be interested in seeing peace because they will lose their favorite whipping boy to blame all of the problems facing their despotic regimes on. So, I fail to see why we as Americans are engaged in this multi-generational farce known as the Arab-Israeli Middle east Peace Process. It really serves no US interest and makes all of the Arabs distrustful of our intentions in the region. I feel that we should cut military ties with Israel and just butt out an let them handle their own problems, but the Jewish lobbyists in the US will never let that happen. I am not anti-semitic, but neither do I support endless military aid to Israel or being their big brother in the UN. This whole situation is truly a no win scenario.

Leslie Parsley said...

Excellent post and a darn good example of why I don't raise my blood pressure by making a point of reading or listening to right-wing propaganda. Getting it second hand tells me all I want to know and I'm glad there are folks like you who have the constitution to read and report it.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

That the right would spin and make up lies to attack President Obama is no surprise.

I've almost become numb to their BS.

kid said...

Did you know that Bibi had a copy of the POTUS speach and told him not to mention the 67' borders?Even worst was the was he treated the POTUS. While he was speaking with the POTUS he mentioned that he he said something to the President. He was referring to the previous tenant of the office. It as if he's nullifying his office and authority.

dmarks said...

Wow... excellent comment Tim.

A minor point:

"Truthfully, Israel is not interested in peace at all unless they get to keep every bit of land taken in '67, or at the very least any part where there are large amounts of settlers"

You'd be surprised: look at the historic record. One of Israeli's neighbors, Egypt, gave up its dream of exterminating the Israelis, and Israel gave up the entire Sinai. Settlements and all. I think there'd be a lot more give on the Israeli side if the Palestinian government completely let go of the long-standing goal of genocide.

Tim said...

dmarks, the flaw in your retort (but thank you for the compliment)is that Egyptians (or Jordanians) are NOT Palestinians. The Palestinians will never renounce the destruction of Israel, even though the wider Arab community might.

Syria may be persuaded to make peace for the return of the Golan Heights, and even the Lebanese Hezbollah may, but this is doubtful. Israel, unfortunately, will face irritants from this quarter for many years to come. Having peace with the Egyptians is huge for them, as this is the nation on their border with an army large enough (and powerful enough) to actually succeed in annihilating the Zionist state.

Tao Speaks said...

I think that the whole "middle east peace process" or whatever we have called it all these years is now occurring in a totally new reality.

With the "Arab Spring" we no longer are dealing with Arab countries that are controlled by dictators/strongmen who can be bought and or who can use the "Palestinian Issue" as a ploy to manipulate their own people.

Then there is also something very stange going on in Iran right now; and it appears to be some sort of power struggle. Hamas sure has been quite...

I considering that in a recent poll a majority of Eqyptians were against continuing the peace treaty they have with Israel.

I think the issue of 1967 borders is actually a reality that all sides will have to accept because we have no idea how most citizens of the nations around Israel really know, think, or feel about the whole mess...

Rational Nation USA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow so good post i like it so much and i hoipe to visit my blog Cars Catalog and it talking about مجلة السيارات Www.CatalogsCars.Com thanks again ,,,