Obama’s False Choice
By Jonathan Tobin
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In his address to AIPAC Sunday morning, President Obama doubled down on the points he made in his speech on Thursday. After a lengthy, and not entirely unjustified defense of his administration’s record of support for Israel’s security, he continued talking down to the Jewish state and its government as if he knew better than they about the situation in the Middle East.
Following the talking points that the administration has been furiously spinning since Thursday, Obama attempted to explain that there was nothing original or new in his attempt to lay down the 1967 lines as the starting point for future talks. It is true, as he asserted that his line bout “mutually agreed upon swaps” of territory means that the “borders will be different.” But contrary to his claim that this is what past administrations also support, the Bush 2004 letter let it be known that the United States supported Israel’s claims on Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs. Obama is neutral about Israel’s borders. That is why the Palestinians view his support of the 1967 borders as a green light for them to refuse to talk unless Israel agrees to surrender every inch of territory.
Even worse, Obama’s lecture about why Israel must make further concessions in spite of Arab intransigence was condescending and somewhat misleading. Obama said that demographics and technology mean the status quo can’t be sustained and implicitly accused Israel of “procrastination.” But Israel has already offered the Palestinians a state in virtually all of the West Bank, part of Jerusalem and Gaza and been turned down twice. Even the supposedly right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has made its commitment to a two-state solution clear. Obama says Israel can’t wait “another decade or two or three decades” to make peace. But Israel has been trying to make peace for 63 years. The world may be “moving too fast” to wait for peace but why must he lecture the Israelis when it is the Palestinians who refuse to talk, let alone recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn?
Although Obama rightly declared that the United States would oppose attempts to bypass the peace process via the United Nations, his mention of the 1967 borders will be used, as it has already by the Palestinians, to buttress their attempt to get recognition for an independent state inside those lines with no recognition of Israel.
Like all Obama speeches, the president presented a false choice in which he said the “easy thing” would be to say nothing about the peace process rather than to confront it as he has done. Democratic Party donors will have the final word on how foolish his attempt to ambush Netanyahu this past week. But the real false choice is the notion that it is somehow in Israel’s power to magically create peace. That decision has always been in the hands of the Palestinians and the Arab world. So long as they ally themselves with terrorists and refuse to negotiate and to demand a “right of return” which would destroy Israel (and which Obama again failed to condemn) there will be no peace.