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Ron Radosh

It was a vision that most Israelis have moved away from since the scores of times the evidence proved even to the peace camp in Israel that they had no real partner for peace on the other side. Indeed, just a few days earlier in an interview with Russian TV, the same Mahmoud Abbas who met with Obama told his interviewer that there is “there is no difference between our policies and those of Hamas.”

The crowds demonstrating against the meeting of the Palestinian Authority leader with Barack Obama is the real face and position of the people he represents, and when Abbas is not speaking to an American president or an American audience, his rhetoric about what he believes is the opposite of what he conveys to the gullible. I agree with Horovitz’s sad but true conclusion:

Emotionally, Obama’s speech was profoundly affecting, and will likely have moved many Israelis, shifting their opinion of him, winning them over. Shifting them politically? That’s something quite different.

On this, I refer our readers to the always perceptive and on-target analysis of Commentary’s Jonathan S. Tobin, who writes:

In the wake of President Obama’s speech in Jerusalem yesterday, Israeli leftists are hoping for a new lease on life for a peace process that was left for dead by the country’s voters in January. But given the unenthusiastic reaction from Palestinians to the speech, any idea that negotiations will be revived anytime soon seems far-fetched. That’s especially true since most of those cheered by the president’s call for a new commitment to peace ignored the fact that the one tangible shift in American policy was that Obama backpedaled on his desire to force Israel to freeze settlement building. Much to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s displeasure, he also echoed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call for negotiations without preconditions.

What Tobin goes on to write is something that applies to all conservatives who have been Obama’s critics, including me:

But one thing has undoubtedly changed in the aftermath of the presidential visit to Israel: Barack Obama’s image as an antagonist of the Jewish state. … But after the stirring Zionist rhetoric uttered by the president during his stay in the Jewish state, it’s simply no longer possible for his opponents to brand him as a foe of Israel or as someone who is unsympathetic to its plight. Though his appeals for peace were addressed to the wrong side of the conflict, it just isn’t possible to ask any American president to have said more.

Some will still blanch at this conclusion, and will argue that Obama is posturing, that he is lying, and that one cannot trust anything he says. They will argue that he means to curb his opposition among Jews in America, and that it is nothing but cover for a new policy that will again disarm us, lead to a tilt to the Arab side, and end with new attempts to force Israel to create self-destructive policies enabling rogue states like Iran.

If Tobin is right that Obama has gone “some way toward rectifying his mistakes” of the past four years, it is our job to encourage him, praise him, and to help him keep on this new path rather than attack and demonize him. Especially, as Tobin says, since Obama has “endorsed the Zionist narrative and rationale about Israel’s founding and its purpose,” it marks a new phase in the president’s approach to the Middle East.

Perhaps Obama has learned something. Perhaps his frustration at the intransigence of the Palestinian side has made him understand that he was moving in a fruitless direction, and that they were no more likely to make concessions because he was president than did they meet Ehud Olmert even halfway when he offered them the most concessions of any previous Israeli prime minister.

As Tobin argues, Obama is now more like Bill Clinton, who warmly supported Israel but tried to make the peace process work, than Jimmy Carter, whom for a while it appeared Obama was trying to emulate. Yet problems persist. Obama, it appears to many observers, is a pacifist at heart.  It seems — as a well-known D.C. journalist said to me the other day — that he feels in his gut that nothing is worse than war, and that avoiding it is something that must be done above all else. If that is true, then he does not abide by those who claim that by preparing for war a nation has the best chance to attain peace, especially since our enemies are moving quickly towards a position that will make a conflict more than likely.

Will Obama really take military action of some sort against Iran if that nation moves towards attaining a nuclear weapon? He says the right things, but no one but he knows whether, at the appropriate red line, he will do what has to be done. Will he simply establish yet another red line that cannot be crossed, until it is too late?

On the matter of the Palestinian Authority, will Obama finally acknowledge that Mahmoud Abbas created a monster whose bureaucracy and leadership does not want peace with Israel, will never give up the “right of return,” and whose educational system teaches the Palestinian youth that all of Israel should be Palestinian and that Jews must be destroyed?

Will Obama continue to be blind to the reality of what the PA stands for, and what Abbas says behind his back and to others? Will he eventually give up the fiction that Abbas is in any sense a partner for peace? That so many argue Abbas is the best partner Israel may ever have is in and of itself terribly sad commentary.

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Top Rated Comments   
Yes Obama has changed, the tactic only! A charm offensive, which has already resulted that PM Netanyahu apologizes to PM Erdogan of Turkey, for the Marmara vessel that wanted, with intent, to break the legal sea blockade around Gaza. In any case Syria is getting hotter, and both, Israel and Turkey are very concerned, besides the whole ME. Obama won't move a finger against Iran, and contrary to everyone's thinking, I'm pretty much sure Europe will again play a bigger and larger role in the Middle East. Europe's power is Germany. America will be scratching its head and continue for the foreseeable future with its erratic policy which will in turn bring war quicker than expected. The socialist mind of at least 50% of the US population shows its results openly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Radosh, putting this as politely as I can, you can take your suggestion and shove it.

"Enemy of Israel?" Good lord, Obama is an enemy of the country that he's president of so of course he's an enemy of Israel...and of pretty much every other nation in the world that isn't Islamist or leftwing authoritarian in nature.

PJM just as well start putting the date/time stamp from the White House press office on its articles here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No.

Tell me about the man who forced a concession to the Turkish Turd on this same trip.

Tell me about the man who puts Rashid Khalidi at his dinner table and the LA Times has to hide what is said there for years, puts Chuck Hagel, Samantha Power, Robert Malley on his advisory team and cleaves to Jeremiah Wright.

Tell me about such a man at his core...not about his words.

Words are cheap currency. And often counterfeit. I need not "push" him or "pull" him, if he has agents pushing and pulling in the opposite direction, doing all his dirty work to keep his hands "clean".

No. I won't be fooled again.

Never...again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (107)
All Comments   (107)
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It's about time, Mr. Radosh, you recognized that Obama is no antisemite nd not hostile to Israel, but a true friend. As your Commentary colleagues noted Obama's pro Israel is in the tradition of Clinton.

I expect many of the ignorant posters here to keep insisting beyond the evidence that Obama is an antisemite but not someone who only recently awoke from the nightmare vision the left imposed on you. Trust your senses my friend, and not ideology.

One need not agree with every Obama policy decision to see that he is a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry, Ron. I wouldn't trust a politician if he told me that the sun rose in the east.

Obama is number one in the top ten list of politicans I don't trust (which is all of them).

If his lips are moving, he's lying.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
BARACK OBAMA: ISRAEL'S FRIEND FROM HELL

Okay. I get it. In visiting Israel last week Obama did a fairly good job in convincing the Israeli public (and Ron Radosh) that he's their committed, sincere and trustworthy friend and not their deceptive subversive enemy secretly plotting their destruction. And that's all well and good as Obama needs to try a different approach to reignite the failed peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Afterall, Obama wants to leave office with at least one major foreign policy accomplishment to his credit as to date he has none.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mitigate the fact that Obama is our enemy-in-chief, the enemy within, the enemy of the Founders and Framers of the Constitution and the values, principles and ideals that made this country into the super-wealthy, super strong, superpower of liberty-which Obama resents as unfair to lesser states. In fact, Obama is the most unAmerican president in US history as his political ideology is rooted in the unAmerican collectivism of the French Revolution and not in the American Revolution of individual rights and liberty. In fact, no president in our history has been more loved by our enemies and loathed by our friends. For under Obama's inept, incompetent, incoherent leadership America is in economic, military and strategic decline-a boon to our enemies and baneful to our friends and the cause of liberty everywhere.

The Obama that visited Israel last week may not be its enemy bent on its destruction (like the genocidal, Jew hating Palestinians and racist, Hamas loving pastor he once revered); but in weakening America he's imperiling Israel and that makes him a friend from hell.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here is my critique of Obama's trip to the MENA, Ron, he has been throwing around money and promises and support to Islamists and Jews, but nary a word about the Christian minority's treatment by anyone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The whole point of this article seems incredibly naïve. A good speech, written by some political operative and read to the magic teleprompter, does not a change in policy make, not that this administration has any decipherable policy in the middle-east to start with. If the President has really become a friend to Israel and a leader for this country, he is the one to show it by his actions instead of just words.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
His animus against Israel has been consistent throughout his career. He nurses a contempt for the very idea of Israeli nationhood. This trip was a ruse, a stunt, a cost-free way to distract from and arrest his political hemorrhaging at home. Support for Israel was at an all-time high in America -- this was the easiest, quickest way to recharge popularity. Still, he managed to stick the knife in wherever he could. Now he will return to America and use the wild hosannas of praise from the media as cover while he renews attack on republicans and Constitutional rights. Just watch.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
President Obama is pretty thin skinned and the Palestinians have dissed him after rejecting his overtures. Of course, speaking in front of a giant photo of Arafat looks to us like being dissed though Obama didn't see it that way.

But wait, there's more: Obama is expert at using administrative and regulatory means to do his will despite Congress and the American people. Between Obamacare and the massive expansion of the regulatory state (yes, Bush didn't help, nor did the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the massive expansion of the debt with much more in store. )
While the hard Left cabinet members will be gone in 4 years, their agencies' new politicized hires won't be. Personnel is policy; this is the long march through the educational institutions all over again except now it will be the Federal Civil Service.
With all that, even as EuroSoc is hitting the shoals, in 4 more years, the resulting EuroSocialization of the USA may well be irreversible; the US military will be on its way to European scale and there just won't be the money or the manpower for the USA to stand with Israel in any substantive way.
So the President can say whatever nice things he likes in Israel, when his plans mature, it won't matter.
Then twist Bibi's arm with Erdogan on the way out having set Israel up to do the dirty work on Iran while the US covertly helps and publicly deplores and maybe even backs sanctions against Israel.
OK, for now he's not overtly an enemy. That is an improvement; I hope it lasts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
President Pinocchio: Perpetual Pathological Prevaricator, prevaricating pathologically perpetually.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama read a speech that was written for this event. He did not not write his own words, but well into the speech it he injected some of his own words and ideas. That is, the great body of the speech represents an Israeli's or a Jewish-American who has spent some time in Israel view of "how a US President should speak", exactly as a movie script writer would.

Yet when Obama injected his own ideals and words into "the script" as Obama himself called it. they flew like cormorants after a fish to counter some key ideals that the scriptwriter holds and had brought in earlier, and thus imo, that Obama resented enough that he felt compelled to overlay them.

That Obama did not inject himself more is also interesting, although the meaning of that is unclear, and may just be his own admitted laziness.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama's speech had some problematic sections, but also a very eloquent endorsement not only of Israel's existence, but the justice of the Zionist dream and its realization by the Jewish people. Whether Obama "really means it or not," it is clear that he has realized it is necessary to acknowledge Israeli sensibilities and concerns. Mr. Radosh is quite right in his assessment of this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He read some words. He's good at that. And he used the earnest inflected voice in all the right spots. He's good a that too. Take comfort in them as you will. And see where it gets you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama has essentially pulled a "180." I cannot imagine what would prompt such a thing other than concern that perhaps an attack upon Iran by the Israelis might be more imminent than most think. It'd be interesting to be that "fly on the wall" where all the top secret intelligence is being shared.

And no, I don't trust Obama AFA I could ever throw him & wonder about anyone who would.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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