President Barack Obama didn't just apologize for the Bush years in his speech to the UN yesterday. He delivered what is probably the most anti-Israel speech ever given by a sitting president.
Once again, he used the argument that there is some kind of moral equivalency between Israeli settlements and Palestinian incitement. If you dig just a little, you find that "incitement" includes the Palestinian Authority's refusal to have a single map of Israel in its textbooks, its constant Jew-hatred in its official media, statements, and even sermons, its referrals to "Palestine from the river to the sea" (that would be where Israel is currently), and the utter refusal by the Obama administration to note that the PA reinforced its anti-Israel charter and also added more anti-Israel conspiracy theories, such as the one that Israel poisoned Yasser Arafat.
We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.)
But why do they only call on Palestinians to "end incitement"? Because, as the narrative goes, oppressed people cannot be held responsible for the terror attacks that continue every single day, by Palestinians in the West Bank, not Hamas—and so, Obama does not call for attacks on Israelis to end. Because they don't exist.
Note the language of the next section. It could have been written by Obama's friend and supporter, Rashid Khalidi:
The time has come — the time has come to re-launch negotiations without preconditions that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. And the goal is clear: Two states living side by side in peace and security — a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. (Applause.)
And here's the most anti-Israel statement ever uttered by a sitting president:
Now, I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us — not just the Israelis and the Palestinians, but all of us — must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we will only lend it lip service. To break the old patterns, to break the cycle of insecurity and despair, all of us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private. The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. (Applause.)
That's a hat tip to the Stephen Walt School of OHMIGOD, Israel Lobbyists Control the Government!. That's the implication that people are afraid to speak out against Israel, because we all know what happens to people who do that. They get on the New York Times bestseller list. Just ask Jimmy Carter, and Walt & Mearsheimer. I wonder what their lecture fees are now? Probably even higher since Walt is writing for Foreign Policy. Oh, the horrors of being silenced by The Israel Lobby. Book deals, lecture tours, income level rising—yeah, that scary lobby keeps everyone, even the president of the United States, from speaking out against Israel. Like, say, at a venue of, oh, the United Nations. Saying publicly what "everyone" was only able to say privately before today, apparently.
Note the second half of the bolded quote above: "the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians." Mahmoud Abbas could have written that. Obama doesn't actually delineate what these rights are, but these words are usually followed with "a return of all refugees," as well as "an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital." (And as I have noted many times in the past, they don't say "east Jerusalem." They say "Jerusalem." That would be what Obama was talking about when he insisted it's time to rush ahead to "final status" issues. Only they've been renamed.
The time has come — the time has come to re-launch negotiations without preconditions that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem.
"Without preconditions" appears to be aimed at the Palestinians, who have dug in their heels since Obama's Cairo speech. As Barry Rubin points out:
As I keep stressing the ONLY reason there have been no negotiations for six months—a point the media never points out—is that Obama introduced the demand that Israel freeze all construction on settlements. This issue had never prevented talks before but once Obama raised the ante, well the Palestinians couldn't be less militant than America's president.
It also wouldn't be an Obama speech if he didn't try to make his copyrighted approach to evenhandedness. So, in return for the Israel-bashing above, what must the world do? Why, stop bashing Israel. Recognize Israel's legitimacy. Because it's not like the UN's establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 was enough to do such a thing. So the reverse of America doing no favors for Israel by being a staunch ally? Well, it's obvious:
And — and nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel's legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security. (Applause.)
Get it? The flip side of America's support for Israel is the UN General Assembly, using organizations like the UN Human Rights Council (which Obama has had us join) singling out Israel, and pretty nearly only Israel, for criticism.
Obama uses his compare-and-contrast one last time, by talking about the price paid by Israelis and Palestinians. Note the extreme contrast, which goes hand in hand with what I wrote yesterday about the risk being all on Israel:
It's paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night. It's paid for by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own.
The girl in Sderot may be murdered in her sleep by Hamas rockets. Or a shot fired at her car while driving with her family near a Palestinian town. The price paid by Palestinians? Well, kids in Gaza don't have clean water because Hamas keeps stealing the pipes to make rockets to rain on children in Sderot. Yeah, that's a pretty equivalent risk situtation for each side.
His claim to evenhandedness is absurd. There is no comparison between having "no country to call his own" and fearing death in your bed at night. One of these things is not like the other.
I didn't care for the James Baker crew of the Bush 41 White House. I didn't care for Reagan's Baker-inspired Israel team, either. But neither Bush nor Reagan seemed willing to abandon one of America's staunchest allies. Israeli soldiers trained American troops in house-to-house city fighting, to better survive and win in Iraq. Israel shares intel on America's enemies with us, and gave us invaluable information on Soviet weaponry during the Cold War. If America called, Israel would be there—and yet, Barack Obama is throwing Israel under the bus. The most pro-Palestinian president ever is turning out to be the most anti-Israel president ever.
His friend Rashid Khalidi must be a happy, happy man today. I sure would love to see the tape the LA Times refused to release. I think it would explain a lot of the UN speech.