I expect the president is going to be flabbergasted at the angry response to his speech today from friends of Israel. I think he thought he had given the most pro-Israel speech of his life.
Why? Because of this line: “Too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people’s grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half-century after the end of colonialism. Antagonism toward Israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression.” This acknowledgment of the use of Israel as a two-minute-hate object for the Arab street by the region’s dictators was surprising and remarkable.
And this passage: “For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist. As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums.” This is the promise of a veto at the UN in the future, which for him, is like promising to undergo a root canal.”
And this: “Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them—not by the United States; not by anybody else.” By saying he would not “impose a peace” on them, he might have believed he was doing Israel a huge favor.
And this: “The recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel: How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question.” Since he didn’t pose a comparable “question” for Israel, Obama might have thought he was being rhetorically generous.
Given what he probably truly believes of Israel in his heart, his acknowledgment of its utility as a scapegoat, its security concerns, its right to determine its own future, and the problems raised by the Fatah-Hamas agreement surely seemed like the height of generous good feeling. And you should expect that interpretation any minute now from his Jewish apologists.