Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Obama's Immature Comments on Netanyahu

White House Won't Confirm or Deny Quotes Attributed to President
-Donovan Slack

The White House is not denying a report that President Obama repeatedly said that "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are."

The comment [was] reported by columnist Jeffrey Goldberg.

"Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, told several people that he he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart," Goldberg wrote.

"In the weeks after the UN vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, 'Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are'..."

Obama, Israelis, and Palestinians: More Words, Less Action -David Makovsky & David Pollock

Objecting to new Israeli construction in the West Bank is at best only half a strategy. To promote Israeli-Palestinian peace, the U.S. needs to pay at least as much attention to hate speech as to housing starts.


Does Obama Know Better than Israel What Its Interests Are? -Jonathan S. Tobin

The accusations that the White House used Jeffrey Goldberg's column to get even with Netanyahu are probably untrue. The president and his foreign policy team are probably aware that an American attempt to influence the vote in Israel would backfire. Obama is deeply unpopular in Israel and every time he has picked a fight with Netanyahu it has only strengthened the prime minister's standing at home.

The assumption underlying Goldberg's article was that Netanyahu is isolating his country via policies that are not aimed at encouraging "Palestinian moderates." The decision to allow building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and its suburbs that would be kept by Israel even if there were a two-state solution is seen by Obama and the Europeans as intolerable provocations that should be punished. But most Israelis see these issues very differently.

Obama's evaluation of the situation shows that he is still focusing only on what Israel does and ignoring the reality of a Palestinian political culture that is incapable of accepting peace. If real peace were an option, no Israeli political leader would be able to resist accepting it. Pretending that such a choice is available to Israel is mere posturing, not a policy.


LHwrites said...

I think there is a lot of truth spoken in these articles. Certainly, with all the skewed anti Israel rhetoric it is hard to convince Israel to worry about what the world thinks. Nevertheless, Israel has not made much sense in its actions lately as the building it announces or begins is clearly meant to inflame and is by no means necessary. I think Obama believes this and while it might not be true, there might be some truth. Sadly the world seems so anti Israel that ultimately a lot of this does not make a difference. Israel does act like it does not know what is good for it, but when it has acted differently it has certainly not been rewarded. With the prejudice on the world stage today it probably does not matter much what Israel does---more like they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Also, the US and everyone else needs to pay attention to the antisemitic and terrorist ways of Hamas and Abbas and call them out at least as much as they like to call out Israel. A bad situation that just does not get better.

Bruce said...

The president's comments are at best amateurish, at worse pigheaded. Probably both.

Bruce said...

Oh...and arrogant. The Israeli people determine who represents their interests.