Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Gutman: Palestinians “Understandably” Abandoned Bilateral Negotiations

U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman’s specific line, coming in the midst of a long apology about how Obama had to follow congressional instructions and defund UNESCO, comes in at about 3:38 on the video. Keep in mind that what he anodynely describes as a “short-term tactical victory” – which he finds “understandable” in light of Israeli policy – was in fact a full-scale Palestinian nullification of the Oslo Accords. Quote-unquote:

Now we are all frustrated by the lack of progress in the Middle East, and by the continued settlement efforts by Israel. So we needed to press harder to resume the negotiations; we needed to press harder to stop the settlements. But that frustration has understandably led to Palestinians pursuing short-term tactical victories.

The rest of the speech had more complaints about those pesky congressional mandates, which are known elsewhere as “laws” and which American ambassadors have traditionally been charged with articulating in a favorable light. Gutman’s comments were coupled with one particularly clanking Banana Republic-style aside, where he meditated on how “… if my country’s case is just, as I believe it’s always been under President Obama …” There was a time when ambassadors didn’t go out of their way to rhetorically imply that past American presidents had pursued unjust policies.

There’s a reason we want ambassadors to completely avoid any impression of partisanship. Otherwise, allies and enemies will anticipate discontinuity across administrations, which would erode the faith they have in our commitments and pledges, which would in turn weaken lame duck presidents and those who have to deal with opposition-controlled Congresses. That said, the president himself began the administration dispensing anti-Bush payback to stalwart War on Terror allies – including hanging New Europe out to dry after they had taken the huge risk of siding with us and against Russia on missile defense – so that damage has mostly been done.

In any case, here’s the video of Obama’s ambassador to Belgium blaming Israel for Palestinian unilateralism. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned from Ambassador Gutman, it’s that there’s nothing that’s not Israel’s fault:


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.