On Monday President Obama met with leaders of 13 Jewish Organizations most of whom worked to get him elected along with two anti-Israel lobbying groups (JStreet and Americans for Peace Now), with the purpose of calming their nerves regarding the President’s one-sided criticism of the the Jewish State.
According to the Israeli Newspaper Ha’aretz: “ Obama told the leaders that he wants to help Israel overcome its demographic problem by reaching an agreement on a two-state solution, but that in order to do so, Israel would need “to engage in serious self-reflection.”
Serious self-reflection [email protected]! Every day for the last 61+ years, Israel has been surrounded by enemies who have promised to destroy it. You may not agree with them, but Israel governments have engaged in serious self reflection constantly since before May of 1948.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fought in wars and lost a brother through terrorism. The defense minister Ehud Barak was the most highly decorated general in Israeli History. As Prime Minister of Israel, Barak offered Yassar Arafat a deal which was so good, Bill Clinton bashed Arafat for not taking it. These folks have engaged in much self-reflection.
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The basic assertion that the President was giving the Jewish leaders was the same he gives the American people, “I am right, you are wrong, I know better than you. Now go into your corner sit on the stool and think about it.”
It is this same Presidential Hubris that has gotten him in trouble with his Middle East to begin with. Look at his demand for Israel to stop all settlement building activity including new construction in existing settlements. Some suggest that he made that demand expecting an easy capitulation, so he can show the Arab world his administration will push Israel around.
If the President had done his homework, he would have realized that stopping building in existing settlements was a major issue for Israel. His demands disregarded an agreement between Israel and the Bush Administration and started a very public spat. If instead , the President demanded that Israel immediately remove the illegal settlements, the ones that even Israel said shouldn’t be there, but the government has been slow in removing, he would have had compliance from the Israeli government and his “victory” for the Arab world, supported previous Israel/Bush administration agreements and retained favor with the Israeli voters.
Beyond that, the foolish way the president proceeded actually slowed down the “peace process.” Both the Arab Nations and the Palestinian Authority have refused to move the process along using the President’s demand for a cessation of settlement building as their rationale.
Perhaps it is the President who needs to spend some time in “serious self-reflection.” His hubris, insisting that he knows better than everyone all the time, along with his lack of experience in foreign policy, is actually having the effect of moving Israel and the Arab Nations further apart, directly opposed to his goal.