Minority Whip Eric Cantor is blasting Obama’s “honest talk” speech, declaring in a statement:
As Palestinian terror shows no sign of abating, President Obama’s insistence that it is in America’s best interest to pressure Israel sends the wrong message to the region. Where is the outrage at the Palestinians’ continued refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Where is the concern for their failure to root out the terrorists in their midst?
Palestinian terror and the refusal to recognize Israel stand directly in the way of peace, yet this is only one part of the process. It is misguided to assume that if we deal with the Israel-Palestinian question, somehow all the problems in the Middle East – including in Iran – will be solved.
And he highlights another extremely problematic portion of the president’s NPR interview in which he indicated Iran had some right to nuclear development if they could show it was to be used for peaceful energy purposes. Cantor cries foul: “Iran forfeited any right to nuclear energy when it made the decision to illicitly enrich uranium to levels that can be used for nuclear weapons. Access to nuclear energy is an irreversible process, and the United States cannot trust the aspirations of the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism.”
But this is not a partisan issue, as the Politico report makes clear:
“There’s a line between articulating U.S. policy and seeming to be pressuring a democracy on what are their domestic policies, and the president is tiptoeing right up to that line,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who said he’d heard complaints from constituents during the congressional recess. “I would have liked to hear the president talk more about the Palestinian obligation to cut down on terrorism.”
“I don’t think anybody wants to dictate to an ally what they have to do in their own national security interests,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who said he thinks there’s “room for compromise.”
“I have to hear specifically from the administration exactly how they define their terms and is there room for defining the terms,” he said, referring to the terms “settlement” and “natural growth.”
In addition to the utter lack of domestic support for this gambit one does have to marvel at the audacity of this:
When asked about this during the NPR interview, Mr. Obama indicated that he was not yet ready to stipulate an “or else,” despite the fact that several American presidents before him have demanded settlement freezes in Israel and been ignored.
“The United States has to follow through on what it says,” Mr. Obama said.
But not so much with regard to American commitments to Israel, as Rick points out. And follow through with what we say to North Korea? Or Iran? Or just when threatening Israel? One can’t but help conclude that lacking the will, know-how or finesse to deal with the world’s trouble makers he has decided to show he is “tough” by castigating Israel. Forget James Baker, this is right out of the UN playbook.