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What Comes from Meekness

It seems that Obama’s obnoxious advice to American Jews to “engage in serious self-reflection” isn’t going over so well with some Democrats. Marty Peretz writes:

Frankly, I am sick and tired of President Obama’s eldering–more accurately, hectoring–Israel’s leaders. It is, after all, they whose country is the target of an armed and ideological cyclone that Obama has done precious little to ease. He brought nothing back from Riyadh and Cairo, absolutely nothing except the conviction of the Arab leaders that they need do nothing but sit and wait until the president squeezes one concession after another out of Jerusalem. Oops, I apologize. Maybe I should still say Tel Aviv. In any case, waiting is exactly what they are doing. Palestinian President Abbas has prided himself in doing just that. He had said so, as I pointed out in this space a few weeks ago.

Maybe you weren’t offended by Obama’s advice to Israel, via some 15 American Jewish leaders, that it had to “engage in serious self-reflection,” as if it took its perils frivolously. But I know many Democrats who are; they’re just a bit intimidated to say so.

What message did the president think he was giving the reactionary and cloistered Saudi monarch when he curtsied before him? That Abdullah should engage in serious self-reflection the way royals are accustomed to doing?

Well, Obama has certainly brought Bill Kristol and Marty Peretz together. Still, this can hardly be surprising. This is what comes from obsequiousness. When supposed “leaders” in their community go to the president and fail to object to a recitation of history and an assertion of a new American stance toward Israel which is antithetical to their views, they can hardly be surprised when their meekness is returned with condescension. If they act like doormats, they can’t expect to be treated as equals. If they would prefer the president to show respect for their political and intellectual positions and extend the same to Israel’s leaders, they might try a new tactic: speaking truth to power. Indeed, the president keeps saying we need more “honesty” when it comes to Israel. The same it’s true of the American Jewish leadership.


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