WASHINGTON — Five weeks ago, President Obama stood before the Turkish legislature in Ankara and said many Americans had Muslims in their families or had lived in a Muslim-majority country. “I know,” he said, “because I am one of them.”
But will that exposure lead Mr. Obama to take a different tack from his predecessors in his dealings with Israel?
That question, which has captivated a wide spectrum of people, from America’s Israel lobby to Palestinian-Americans to the Muslim world, will take center stage on Monday, when Israel’s hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Obama since he became president.
... Mr. Obama’s past suggests why, four months into his presidency, the answer to the question remains elusive. His first book, “Dreams From My Father,” delves deeply into matters of race and nationality and the need to belong somewhere, issues that permeate the Arab-Israeli conflict. But in the book Mr. Obama does not address specifically how he views Israel and the plight of the Palestinians.
As a state senator in Chicago, Mr. Obama cultivated friendships with Arab-Americans, including Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American scholar and a critic of Israel. Mr. Obama and Mr. Khalidi had many dinners together, friends said, in which they discussed Palestinian issues. [KHALIDI BABYSAT FOR OBAMA'S DAUGHTERS!]
During the 1990s [WHEN NO ONE WAS LOOKING], Mr. Obama also attended tributes to Arab-Americans, where he often seemed “empathetic” to the cause of Palestinians, said Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American journalist in Chicago.
... “I think this president gets it, in terms of the suffering of the Palestinians,” [THAT'S CODE FOR BEING ANTI-ZIONIST] said Charles W. Freeman Jr., a former United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia. “He gets it, which is already light years ahead of the average elected American politician.”
... And Mr. Obama offered no public support for the appointment of Mr. Freeman to a top intelligence post in March after several congressional representatives and lobbyists complained that Mr. Freeman had an irrational hatred of Israel. Mr. Freeman angrily withdrew from consideration for the post.
But Mr. Freeman, in a telephone interview last week, said he still believed that Mr. Obama would go where his predecessors did not on Israel. Mr. Obama’s appointment of Gen. James L. Jones as his national security adviser — a man who has worked with Palestinians and Israelis to try to open up movement for Palestinians on the ground and who has sometimes irritated Israeli military officials — could foreshadow friction between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, several Middle East experts said.
The same is true for the appointment of George J. Mitchell as Mr. Obama’s special envoy to the region; Mr. Mitchell, who helped negotiate peace in Northern Ireland, has already hinted privately that the administration may have to look for ways to include Hamas, in some fashion, in a unity Palestinian government.
... “You can’t really tell anything by what happened to me and the fact that he didn’t step forward to take on the skunks,” he said, referring to his own appointment controversy and Mr. Obama’s silence amid critics’ attacks. “The first nine months, Nixon was absolutely horrible on China. In retrospect, it was clear that he had every intention to charge ahead, but he was picking his moment. He didn’t want to have the fight before he had to have the fight.”
“I sense that Obama is picking his moment,” Mr. Freeman said.
- WHEN IT COMES TO PRO-ARAB POLITICIANS, FREEMAN KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT: HIS THINK TANK WAS PRIMARILY FUNDED BY THE SAUDI KING - YOU REMEMBER WHO THAT IS, DON'T YOU!?
- HE'S THE MUSLIM MAN WHO OBAMA BOWED DOWN TO.
- I PREDICT THAT OBAMA WILL PUBLICLY EMBRACE THE SAUDI KING'S SO-CALLED "PEACE PLAN".
- OBAMA WILL TRY TO DRESS UP HIS SUPPORT FOR THE ARABS AS "EVEN-HANDEDNESS" - (AS IF IT WAS MORAL TO TREAT JIHADOTERRORISTS THE SAME AS ISRAELIS. WELL... IT IS FOR ANTI-SEMITES!)
the Israel-must-do-more argument is dishonest.
Already it has done plenty. It pulled out of Lebanon in 2000, soon found itself facing 10,000 terrorist rockets and mortars, and in 2006 was forced into war with Hezbollah. In 2000, Israel offered the most generous terms imaginable to create a Palestinian state, and in return got a suicide-bomb campaign aimed at civilians. In 2005, Israel shut down all settlements in the Gaza Strip and pulled out, only to be confronted with a Hamas terrorist statelet and more warfare.
Where are bold moves by the Arabs? They point to the "Saudi peace initiative." That offers peace if Israel gives up everything it won in the 1967 defensive, existential war -- and more. It demands "a right of return" for Palestinians who fled their homes, often at the urging of invading Arab armies, in 1948. That demand includes descendants of the refugees -- millions of people who weren't born in 1948. Only last week, the Arab states reaffirmed that demand.
The Palestinians are the only people to have been accorded refugee status for six decades and counting. Imagine if Germany declared a right to return for millions of its citizens to the provinces of East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia it lost in World War II.
Biden is telling Israel supporters things they don't want to hear. Obama and Biden should do the same for Palestinian supporters. A good place to start would be telling them to acknowledge the realities of the world and abandon the "right of return." Don't expect to hear that June 4.
JEWS WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA SHOULD REPENT.