Jewish Journal


July 12, 2011

Obama’s Israel problem?


Does President Obama have an Israeli problem?

Pretty sure I asked that question in 2008. The answer was something along the lines of: No. Here’s one instance:

No matter what Barack Obama says —earlier this week it was, “We must never waver in our unshakeable commitment to help Israel achieve its goal of true security through lasting peace with its neighbors”—or how many Jews support his presidential campaign, quite a few believe he spells nothing but trouble for Israel.

Indeed, there are supporters of Israel who see otherwise, and the GOP presidential candidates are looking to capitalize on that.

The Washington Post Fact Checker has a few of these quotes from Romney and Pawlenty and Bachmann. For example:

“I never will do what the president of the United States did to our ally in May. I will never say to Israel you must pull back your boundaries to the 1967 indefensible lines. I will not do that because I am here to declare today in Des Moines, Iowa, that I stand with Israel.”

That was from Michele Bachmann. The Fact Checker, though, doesn’t find a lot of substance to the claims, particularly Bachmann’s:

That’s not true, though she keeps repeating it. However, one could argue that Obama is saying that 1967 has to be Israel’s starting negotiating position. (The administration has not been especially clear on this point.)

The difference is subtle, but Israel would prefer to give up land it seized in war in exchange for concessions from the Palestinians. But the Palestinians — who argue they have already given up much of the historic state of Palestine—want the talks to start on the 1967 lines, which could require Israel to make concessions in order to retain settlement blocks.

Read on here for more.

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