Friends, two items:
A sensible appraisal by Lesley Gelb [in the Daily Best] of the Obama speech and reactions to it. And an excerpt of an email I wrote in response to a friend, once an ardent supporter of Obama, writing to an acquaintance “high up in the Obama administration,” of her disappointment with Obama’s speech:
I think that Obama is courageous to have taken this stand. He has not said anything that previous Presidents have not said both publicly and privately. There is nothing new in his position, the Geneva Initiative
launched December 2003, came to the same conclusion. Many analysts have been saying the same thing for the last two decades.
I think what upset you, and initially it threw me too, was the thought of going back to what were the borders pre-1967 war as the basis of the next round of talks, but Obama included in this speech, and later at AIPAC, the qualifier of swapping land. This too was in the Geneva Accord
. The only thing new is that an American president said it as part of an overview of Middle East policy. And said it clearly. The U.S. commitment to Israel was never qualified. He is taking the reins as a President should.
I never thought I would see the day when I would quote a rabbi running Shalom TV
, but in an opinion piece, Rabbi Mark S. Golub
warns American Jews against mishearing Obama. I recommend reading him. I think that Obama is the best chance we have of coming to a resolution of this conflict. We will not get everything we want, but we have the complete support of the U.S. right now, and we have to take advantage of it.
World opinion is growing against Israel. The wind of democracy blows through the M.E. and we have to meet it straight on with creativity and not with building more settlements. We have known from the get-go that the return of the Jews to its ancient home will not be welcomed by those who were there. It was not a land without a people, and it is time for those of us who love this land to understand that we cannot continue to change the facts on the ground by building more and more towns on the West Bank. We have got to be realistic that no amount of building will change the fact that there are others there that we have to share the land with.
I think this is the best opportunity we have been offered and Netanyahu’s humiliation of an American President is an insult to America. American Jews will have to do some pretty good tap-dancing to avoid swinging out there–alone in the wind.