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Friday, September 9, 2011

Jeffrey Goldberg and Recognition of Israel

The debate over Palestinian statehood brings to mind this post that I did during Netanyahu's memorable visit to Washington last spring. I repost it at my new blog because of it's continued relevance to the latest chapter of America's role in the Middle East and Netanyahu's respect (?) for it.

Jeffrey Goldberg is without question a leading Jewish American commentator in the secular media on all things relevant to the security of Israel and the United States’ role in that security. I follow his blog at The Atlantic regularly. He is anything but “opposed to Israel” or "an enemy from within" (as a reader described the Israeli ex-military men who signed the letter supporting 1967 borders). He is regularly criticized throughout the blogosphere for his strong support for the State of Israel. He has had a lot to say this week and we should all be listening.

On Obama’s speech today at the most important Anerican lobbyist for Israel, AIPAC:

[Obama] understands Israel's dilemma in the same way Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin understood their country's dilemma.

On why Netanyahu was “shockingly” misguided in his attitude to Obama this week.

It wasn't the content of Netanyahu's lecture that I found so shocking -- Jews, over a few thousand years, have earned a great deal of our paranoia -- but that he chose to hector the American president, an American president who, the day before, gave Netanyahu two enormous gifts -- a denunciation of the radical Islamist terror group Hamas, and a promise to fight unilateral Palestinian efforts to seek United Nations recognition as an independent state -- in public, in the White House, in a tone that suggested he thought he was speaking to an ignoramus. 

On the importance of Abe Foxman’s praise of Obama’s speech:

I know of no one on this planet who loves the Jewish people, and the Jewish state, more than Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League. I'm not exaggerating; I quite literally can't name anyone who has a love of his people as profound as Abe's… the man has devoted his life to Jewish survival, and to Israel's defense. So when he declares that President Obama isn't anti-Israel, it's safe to believe him. 

On the fact that the predecessor to Netanyahu as the leader of Israel said the same thing as Obama:

Mitt Romney stated yesterday that Barack Obama threw Israel under a bus by calling for Israel's borders to be based on the pre-Six Day War lines. Does Romney know that Benjamin Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert, did the same thing? That's a busy bus.

On why Netanyahu should have been happy with the president’s speech: He "got everything he could have hoped to get. If he's not happy with Obama, then he's kidding himself. I know this is a Twitter-length post, but it sums up the Israeli-Palestinian portion of the speech nicely, IMHO."

On the reality of the Obama administrations support for Israel the last two years: "Top officials of the Israeli defense ministry have been telling me, and other reporters, for a couple of years now that military cooperation between their country and America has never been better. Some bus. There are a lot of countries out there that would like to be thrown under simliar buses."

This is not to say that Goldberg has had no criticisms to offer of the president this week. In two separate posts he referred to thoughtful critiques of the President’s initial speech by serious thinkers. That is as it should be. The president’s speeches were not inspired by God and like any statement of policy goals they call for honest, careful engagement. That is what Goldberg has provided in spades this week and deserves our highest praise. In a week in which in many lost their minds and perspectives, Goldberg kept his and we are the better for it.

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