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jAZ
05-29-2009, 03:53 PM
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-house-watch/middle-east/is-obama-getting-tough-with-is.html?wprss=rss_blog

Is Obama Getting Tough With Israel?
President Obama heads to the Middle East next week, where on Thursday he'll make a much-anticipated address in Cairo aimed at repairing American's ties with the Muslim world.

He has a big advantage simply not being George W. Bush, of course -- and having abolished the most egregious, Crusade-like aspects of this country's approach to counter-terrorism.

But what can he tell the world's Muslims to assuage their anger about their most long-standing grievance: America's reflexive support of Israel?

As I've written before, there are signs Obama will promote a new regional peace initiative for the Middle East, much like the one championed by Jordan's King Abdullah.

And now along comes the first distinct signs that Obama is willing to play hardball with Israel.

Paul Richter, Christi Parsons and Richard Boudreaux write in the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama and top Israeli officials staked out sharply opposing positions over the explosive issue of Jewish settlements Thursday, propelling a rare dispute between the two close allies into full public view just days before the U.S. leader is due to deliver a long-awaited address in Egypt to the world's Muslims.

"Speaking after a White House meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama reiterated that he had been 'very clear about the need to stop building settlements, to stop building outposts' on Palestinian territory.

"Only hours earlier, the Israeli government said it would continue to allow some growth in the settler communities in the West Bank.

"The exchange underscored the unusually hard-line position Obama has taken publicly with Israel early in his administration. Most U.S. presidents, aware of the political sensitivity, have worked hard to keep disagreements out of sight, when they existed."

The issue of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories is incendiary for Palestinians, and nearly defining for the right-wing Israeli political bloc that newly re-installed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu depends on in order to retain power.

Farah Stockman writes for the Boston Globe: "As he prepares to fly to the Middle East next week to give a speech on his policy toward the region and US-Muslim relations, it seemed clear yesterday that his administration is willing to risk prickly relations with one of the closest US allies - and possible anger from some Jewish voters - to try to create a Palestinian state."

David S. Cloud writes for Politico: "Obama's willingness to place much of the initial onus on Israel for resuming peace talks is clearly greater than his predecessor, President George W. Bush, who rarely allowed any hint of public difference between himself and Israel. The strategy also carries some domestic political risk for Obama. That was clear Thursday when 329 House members and 76 senators sent him a letter advising against putting too much public pressure on Israel."

Glenn Kessler writes in The Washington Post that the 2003 "road map" for peace, "commits Israel to dismantling settler outposts and freezing 'all settlement activity,' including building to accommodate what is known as 'natural growth.' But the near-daily barrage of U.S. demands that Israel halt settlement growth has surprised Israeli officials, who argue that they greatly restrained growth under an unwritten 2005 agreement with the Bush administration. Under that deal, Israel was to stop providing incentives for settlers to move to the West Bank and was to build only in areas it expected to keep in future peace agreements....

"The Obama administration appears to have calculated that pressing Israel on settlements will help demonstrate to the Arab nations that the United States is serious about pursuing peace, even at the risk of appearing to undermine Netanyahu's nascent government."

Steven Thomma writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "President Barack Obama Thursday ratcheted up what might be America's toughest bargaining position with Israel in a generation."

Thomma also writes: "It's noteworthy that Obama this week announced that he'd go to Saudi Arabia early next week for a private dinner with King Abdullah, en route to Cairo.

"'If what Obama is trying to do is get states like the Saudis to actually do things now, not only will he have achieved something pretty significant, he'll make it almost impossible for the Israelis to say no,' Miller said. 'No Israeli prime minister can afford to mismanage Israel's most important relationship, especially at a time when the Iranians are closer to nuclear power.'"

It's also possible that Obama is willing -- heck, even eager -- to see Netanyahu's government collapse. The prime minister has been a longtime skeptic of proposals to create a Palestinian state and refused to commit to the concept during his U.S. visit.

Laura Rozen blogs for Foreign Policy: "According to many observers in Washington and Israel, the Israeli prime minister, looking for loopholes and hidden agreements that have often existed in the past with Washington, has been flummoxed by an unusually united line that has come not just from Obama White House and the secretary of state, but also from pro-Israel congressmen and women who have come through Israel for meetings with him over Memorial Day recess. To Netanyahu's dismay, Obama doesn't appear to have a hidden policy. It is what he said it was....

"Even one veteran Washington peacemaker who had grown skeptical that Washington can overcome obstacles to get substantive progress on Middle East peace admitted to being impressed by the Obama team's resolve. 'What I'm beginning to see is that the Obama administration may be less concerned with actually getting to negotiations and an agreement and more interested in setting new rules and rearranging the furniture,' said Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Institute. 'They may have concluded that they can't get to a real two state solution with this prime minister. Maybe they want a new one? And the best way to raise the odds of that is to demonstrate that he can't manage Israel's most important relationship: with the U.S.'"

Jackson Diehl writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "From its first days the Bush administration made it clear that the onus for change in the Middle East was on the Palestinians: Until they put an end to terrorism, established a democratic government and accepted the basic parameters for a settlement, the United States was not going to expect major concessions from Israel.

"Obama, in contrast, has repeatedly and publicly stressed the need for a West Bank settlement freeze, with no exceptions. In so doing he has shifted the focus to Israel."

This is not a good thing, Diehl writes, because in so doing, Obama "has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud."

But in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth translated by M.J. Rosenberg, Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and a former United States ambassador to Israel, suggests that Obama is on a larger mission.

"Netanyahu should listen to Obama because Obama is telling him, in essence, that resolving the conflict is an American interest," Indyk said. "What is happening at present is that the Israeli-Arab conflict serves as an instrument in the hands of America's enemies — Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas. Time is not working in Israel's favor or in favor of peace."

Indyk says Obama's new message to Israels is this: "[A]ll these years, the US has been strengthening you precisely for this purpose — so that you can take the risk of making peace. How exactly can the Palestinians destroy you? The real existential danger is that you will not succeed in parting from them."

KC native
05-29-2009, 03:57 PM
Just read another article along the same lines.
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/05/28/netanyahu_what_the_hell_do_they_want_with_me
Netanyahu: "What the hell do they want from me?"
Thu, 05/28/2009 - 7:17pm

Last night, shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told journalists that the Obama administration "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a confidante. Referring to Clinton's call for a settlement freeze, Netanyahu groused, "What the hell do they want from me?" according to his associate, who added, "I gathered that he heard some bad vibes in his meetings with [U.S.] congressional delegations this week."

In the 10 days since Netanyahu and President Barack Obama held a meeting at the White House, the Obama administration has made clear in public and private meetings with Israeli officials that it intends to hold a firm line on Obama's call to stop Israeli settlements. According to many observers in Washington and Israel, the Israeli prime minister, looking for loopholes and hidden agreements that have often existed in the past with Washington, has been flummoxed by an unusually united line that has come not just from Obama White House and the secretary of state, but also from pro-Israel congressmen and women who have come through Israel for meetings with him over Memorial Day recess. To Netanyahu's dismay, Obama doesn't appear to have a hidden policy. It is what he said it was.

"This is a sea change for Netanyahu," a former senior Clinton administration official who worked on Middle East issues said. The official said that the basis of the Obama White House's resolve is the conviction that it is in the United States' as well as Israel's interest to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We have significant, existential threats that Israel faces from Iran and that the U.S. faces from this region. It is in our mutual interest to end this conflict, and to begin to build new regional alliances."

Netanyahu needed to engage Obama directly, the former official said. "Now that he has done so, and also sent a team of advisors to meet [special envoy to the Middle East George] Mitchell, he has very clearly received a message: ‘I meant what I said on settlements. No natural growth. No elasticity. There will be a clear settlement freeze.'" (Netanyahu sent a team of advisors including minister for intelligence Dan Meridor for meetings with Mitchell in London Monday.)

"Over the past 15 years, settlements have gone from being seen in Washington as an irritant, to the dominant issue," says Georgetown Univeristy Middle East expert Daniel Byman. He pointed out that key figures in the Obama administration -- Mitchell, who headed the Mitchell Commission, which recommended a halt to settlements; national security advisor Gen. Jim Jones -- see the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, home to some 290,000 people, as a key obstacle to getting a peace settlement. "I don't think the logic is hidden," Byman said.

It's not just the administration that's delivering Netanyahu that message, however. Whereas in the past Israeli leaders have sometimes eased pressure from Washington on the settlements issue by going to members of Congress, this time, observers in Washington and Israel say, key pro-Israel allies in Congress have been largely reinforcing the Obama team's message to Netanyahu. What changed? "Members of Congress have more willing to follow the leadership of the administration ... because [they] believe it is in our national security interest to move toward ending the conflict and that it is not a zero sum for Israel," the former senior Clinton administration official said.

"Netanyahu and [Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman are probing, looking for areas they can get space gratis from the United States," says Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force for Palestine. "And they are not finding it."

"We've been watching the move in Congress, especially among certain high profile Jewish American members -- people like Representative Gary Ackerman, Representative Robert Wexler, and Representative Howard Berman," Ibish said. "What has occurred -- and this has been greatly intensified by the election of Obama: There has been a growing sense of members of Congress who are well-informed on foreign policy ... that peace is essential to the American national interest and the Israeli national interest. And there's been a growing sense that the possibility of a two-state agreement is time-limited and that things like the settlements are incompatible with the goal of creating two states."

The changed dynamic in Washington has impressed Palestinian audiences. At a breakfast yesterday morning with Palestinian American policy hands near Pentagon City, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he was extremely impressed with the Obama administration's resolve on policies that it sees as crucial for getting out of the current status quo -- after years of drift that have seen Jewish settlements expand to almost 300,000 people on land the Palestinians envision as part of a future Palestinian state.

Abbas had a private meeting with Obama at the White House this afternoon, followed by an expanded meeting in the Oval Office with Obama, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Clinton, and other U.S. officials. "We are a stalwart ally of Israel and it is in our interests to assure that Israel is safe and secure," Obama said in a joint press conference with Abbas after the meeting. "It is our belief that the best way to achieve that is to create the conditions on the ground and set the stage for a Palestinian state as well.

"And so what I told Prime Minister Netanyahu was that each party has obligations under the road map," Obama continued. "On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state. On the Palestinian side it's going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We've seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank. Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process."

Even one veteran Washington peacemaker who had grown skeptical that Washington can overcome obstacles to get substantive progress on Middle East peace admitted to being impressed by the Obama team's resolve. "What I'm beginning to see is that the Obama administration may be less concerned with actually getting to negotiations and an agreement and more interested in setting new rules and rearranging the furniture," said Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Institute. "They may have concluded that they can't get to a real two state solution with this prime minister [Netanyahu]. Maybe they want a new one? And the best way to raise the odds of that is to demonstrate that he can't manage Israel's most important relationship: with the U.S."

Echoing language from the Bush administration's debate about policy to Iran, behavior change vs. regime change, Miller said the Obama administration's stance demanded "behavior change for sure" on the settlements issue. "If they keep pushing as the Secretary [Clinton] was last night, who knows about the other," he said. "The danger of course is that they raise the level on the settlements issue and then back off, leaving the emperor(ess) with no clothes. And this would make America look really bad."

KC Dan
05-29-2009, 03:58 PM
And, somewhere in Israel on an almost daily basis, Israeli inhabitants are ducking from yet another rocket lobbed at them. Come on Israel! Give in, they'll stop shooting rockets at you, Obama promises.

mikey23545
05-29-2009, 04:06 PM
Well, I for one hope we finally crack down on the only civilized humans in the Middle East...

Hell, you have to go back all the way to the last Democratic prez to find terrorists being pampered at the White House...Far too long a stretch!

vailpass
05-29-2009, 04:06 PM
Israel is the only sane nation in the region. The US has billions invested and close cultural and financial ties with Israel. Obama can talk tough all he wants but it's just words. The US and Israel are irretractably intertwined and will be so long after President One-and-Done is gone.

jAZ
05-29-2009, 04:07 PM
But in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth translated by M.J. Rosenberg, Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and a former United States ambassador to Israel, suggests that Obama is on a larger mission.

"Netanyahu should listen to Obama because Obama is telling him, in essence, that resolving the conflict is an American interest," Indyk said. "What is happening at present is that the Israeli-Arab conflict serves as an instrument in the hands of America's enemies — Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas. Time is not working in Israel's favor or in favor of peace."

Indyk says Obama's new message to Israels is this: "[A]ll these years, the US has been strengthening you precisely for this purpose — so that you can take the risk of making peace. How exactly can the Palestinians destroy you? The real existential danger is that you will not succeed in parting from them."
I thought this was great.

jAZ
05-29-2009, 04:10 PM
Israel is the only sane nation in the region. The US has billions invested and close cultural and financial ties with Israel. Obama can talk tough all he wants but it's just words. The US and Israel are irretractably intertwined and will be so long after President One-and-Done is gone.

It isn't reasonable to assume that they always act sane. They act strong when they weren't, just like Iraq did. They have gotten stronger over the years and it's time for them to stop acting strong and be strong.

Often it's the guy in the bar-fight who offers to buy his enemy a beer that is ultimately the bigger man.

vailpass
05-29-2009, 04:10 PM
I thought this was great.

I hope it works.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 05:02 PM
Is he getting tough on Israel... or is he turning his back on an ally. Did people like jAZ and whoever wrote this article ask whether the Bush administration was getting tough on France?

patteeu
05-29-2009, 05:06 PM
Oh, and btw, his speech is going to be filled with a lot of fine sounding rhetoric that doesn't mean a lot and he's going to criticize both Israel and the Muslims so he sounds like he's in the reasonable middle scolding extremism on both sides. His criticisms of muslims will be more generalized and meaningless than his specific criticisms of Israel though.

Before it's all said and done, Obama's probably going to set off a war.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 05:11 PM
It isn't reasonable to assume that they always act sane. They act strong when they weren't, just like Iraq did. They have gotten stronger over the years and it's time for them to stop acting strong and be strong.

Often it's the guy in the bar-fight who offers to buy his enemy a beer that is ultimately the bigger man.

Come on. Have you ever been in a bar fight? Have you ever seen someone in a bar fight offer his opponent a beer?

orange
05-29-2009, 05:27 PM
Oh, and btw, his speech is going to be filled with a lot of fine sounding rhetoric that doesn't mean a lot and he's going to criticize both Israel and the Muslims so he sounds like he's in the reasonable middle scolding extremism on both sides. His criticisms of muslims will be more generalized and meaningless than his specific criticisms of Israel though.

Before it's all said and done, Obama's probably going to set off a war.

Did Bush set off Israel's latest war in Lebanon?

Or should we hold Israel accountable for its own actions?

orange
05-29-2009, 05:30 PM
Well, I for one hope we finally crack down on the only civilized humans in the Middle East...

Hell, you have to go back all the way to the last Democratic prez to find terrorists being pampered at the White House...Far too long a stretch!

Israel is the only sane nation in the region. The US has billions invested and close cultural and financial ties with Israel. Obama can talk tough all he wants but it's just words. The US and Israel are irretractably intertwined and will be so long after President One-and-Done is gone.

Civilized? Sane?

Knesset okays initial bill to outlaw denial of 'Jewish state'

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent



The Knesset plenum gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison.

The measure was the latest of several introduced in the past week by right-wing lawmakers and denounced by critics as an assault on free speech, particularly for Israeli Arab citizens, most of whom are of Palestinian origin.

It would outlaw the publication of any "call to negate Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, where the content of such publication would have a reasonable possibility of causing an act of hatred, disdain or disloyalty" to Israel.

Forty-seven MKs voted in favor of the bill and 34 voted against, with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) abstaining from the vote.

MK Zevulun Orlev, a lawmaker with the right-wing Bayit Hayehudi party who initiated the bill, said the bill permitted a maximum one year prison term for any offenders.

The measure would have to pass three additional votes in parliament and a committee review before becoming law.

Orlev linked the bill to the case of former MK Azmi Bishara, who resigned from the Knesset and fled Israel in 2007 to avoid charges of assisting the enemy. Bishara was under fire then for a series of trips he had made to Syria and Lebanon, where he issued praise for Hezbollah.

Orlev said Bishara's case shows that what begins with words "very quickly leads to actions."

MK Haim Oron (Meretz) attacked the proposal, saying "this insane government, what exactly are you doing? Creating a thought police? Have you run off the rails?"

Oron said that even though he disagrees with those who do not support Israel's identity as a Jewish, democratic state, there is no reason to make it a criminal issue.

Civil rights activists have cautioned that this and other legislation threatens to curb the rights of Arab citizens.

Its approval on a preliminary reading showed how Israeli support for laws seen as targetting Israeli Arabs has grown since a right-wing government was sworn in after a February election.

Most Israeli Arabs, who make up about a fifth of Israel's population, are descended from Palestinians who remained in the country after hundreds of thousands either fled or were driven away in fighting over Israel's founding in 1948.

Many are related to Palestinians in conflict with Israel living in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank.

Naomi Chazan, president of the liberal New Israel Fund, denounced a bill approved by Israel's cabinet on Sunday to outlaw public displays of mourning over Israel's birth, which Palestinians call "nakba", an Arabic word for catastrophe.

Chazan called that bill an "attempt to trample on the feelings of pain of Israeli Arabs" that could hurt efforts to forge better coexistence between Jews and Palestinians.

Another bill introduced by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party this week would require Israeli citizens to take a loyalty oath to the Jewish state before they could be issued a national identity card.

The cabinet was scheduled to debate the loyalty oath measure at a session next week.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1088712.html

Taco John
05-29-2009, 05:37 PM
Come on. Have you ever been in a bar fight? Have you ever seen someone in a bar fight offer his opponent a beer?

Yeah, that was a terrible metaphor that didn't make a lick of sense.

jAZ
05-29-2009, 05:41 PM
Is he getting tough on Israel... or is he turning his back on an ally. Did people like jAZ and whoever wrote this article ask whether the Bush administration was getting tough on France?

By invading Iraq? What are you talking about?

jAZ
05-29-2009, 05:42 PM
Come on. Have you ever been in a bar fight? Have you ever seen someone in a bar fight offer his opponent a beer?

Before the bar fight starts. And yes.

Mojo Jojo
05-29-2009, 05:57 PM
Just my observation over my many years.
1. The Jewish people are very tight with each other. I'm not Jewish, but I have many friends who are, and I have been synagogue many times.
2. For the most part part Jewish people in the US defend Israel. The right to have a home state and to defend at all costs.
3. The Republicans have always backed Israel over other nations. The Democrats want everyone to live happy together for the first time in thousands of years.
4. Jewish Americans mostly vote Democrat.

Am I the only one who finds this strange?

jAZ
05-29-2009, 06:13 PM
Just my observation over my many years.
1. The Jewish people are very tight with each other. I'm not Jewish, but I have many friends who are, and I have been synagogue many times.
2. For the most part part Jewish people in the US defend Israel. The right to have a home state and to defend at all costs.
3. The Republicans have always backed Israel over other nations. The Democrats want everyone to live happy together for the first time in thousands of years.
4. Jewish Americans mostly vote Democrat.

Am I the only one who finds this strange?

Only a fraction of the world's Jews support the postition of Israel's hardline conservative policies. The American conservative jewish groups in the US don't have nearly as much grassroots support as their political influence would suggest.

orange
05-29-2009, 06:15 PM
Just my observation over my many years.
1. The Jewish people are very tight with each other. I'm not Jewish, but I have many friends who are, and I have been synagogue many times.
2. For the most part part Jewish people in the US defend Israel. The right to have a home state and to defend at all costs.
3. The Republicans have always backed Israel over other nations. The Democrats want everyone to live happy together for the first time in thousands of years.
4. Jewish Americans mostly vote Democrat.

Am I the only one who finds this strange?

I guess there's something most Jewish Americans find repulsive about the Republican agenda.

stevieray
05-29-2009, 06:30 PM
I guess there's something most Jewish Americans find repulsive about the Republican agenda.


...well it's not they have a great track record of getting it right.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 06:31 PM
Did Bush set off Israel's latest war in Lebanon?

Or should we hold Israel accountable for its own actions?

No, Iran set that one off.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 06:33 PM
By invading Iraq? What are you talking about?

I'm talking about all the complaints about Bush offending our allies (in western Europe). I don't remember you applying this kind of spin to that scenario.

orange
05-29-2009, 06:33 PM
No, Iran set that one off.

So if/when Israel attacks Iran, will it be Iran or Obama who sets it off (or, heavens forfend, Israel)?

patteeu
05-29-2009, 06:34 PM
Before the bar fight starts. And yes.

My jAZ decoder says that's a "no".

jAZ
05-29-2009, 06:36 PM
I guess there's something most Jewish Americans find repulsive about the Republican agenda.

Most US Jews oppose the NeoCon agenda that republians support. That ideology gets most of it's support from coldwar-era, Reagan republicans.

Cannibal
05-29-2009, 06:37 PM
Some Republicans, especially the Evangelicals back Israel in large part because of the biblical prophecy that the Jewish state is a required for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

orange
05-29-2009, 06:38 PM
Most US Jews oppose the NeoCon agenda that republians support. That ideology gets most of it's support from coldwar-era, Reagan republicans.

Not to mention the GOP trying to turn this into a Christian nation. Nor American Jews' 200 year tradition of liberalism, tolerance, intellectualism, etc.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 06:39 PM
Just my observation over my many years.
1. The Jewish people are very tight with each other. I'm not Jewish, but I have many friends who are, and I have been synagogue many times.
2. For the most part part Jewish people in the US defend Israel. The right to have a home state and to defend at all costs.
3. The Republicans have always backed Israel over other nations. The Democrats want everyone to live happy together for the first time in thousands of years.
4. Jewish Americans mostly vote Democrat.

Am I the only one who finds this strange?

Some of Obama's closest advisers on the Middle East are very, let's say empathetic with the Palestinian (and European) view of the conflict and hostile to the Israeli view. But what you say above is pretty much true so Obama is caught in a bit of a tension between his own apparent instinct telling him that Israel is the problem and his need to keep the ranks of his democrat party, who tend to support Israel, comfortable.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 06:41 PM
So if/when Israel attacks Iran, will it be Iran or Obama who sets it off (or, heavens forfend, Israel)?

If that happens, it will be Iran. If Iran or any of the Arab countries/entities in the region go to war against Israel or if Israel is forced to pre-empt any of the Arabs, it will be Obama.

orange
05-29-2009, 06:50 PM
Some of Obama's closest advisers on the Middle East are very, let's say empathetic with the Palestinian (and European) view of the conflict and hostile to the Israeli view. But what you say above is pretty much true so Obama is caught in a bit of a tension between his own apparent instinct telling him that Israel is the problem and his need to keep the ranks of his democrat party, who tend to support Israel, comfortable.

If Obama does have to ruffle some feathers, this current Israeli government is sure making it much easier. Censorship and loyalty oaths - I doubt many American supporters of Israel are happy with what's happening there.

patteeu
05-29-2009, 06:55 PM
If Obama does have to ruffle some feathers, this current Israeli government is sure making it much easier. Censorship and loyalty oaths - I doubt many American supporters of Israel are happy with what's happening there.

Next thing you know, crass Americans will follow Obama's lead and further offend our Israeli allies by talking about "freedom falafels"!

BucEyedPea
05-29-2009, 08:08 PM
Did Bush set off Israel's latest war in Lebanon? Yes. The NC's were behind that one.

Or should we hold Israel accountable for its own actions?

Abosolutely. Takes two sides for a war. The settlements need to stop.
Also, when they spy on America.

BucEyedPea
05-29-2009, 08:10 PM
Some Republicans, especially the Evangelicals back Israel in large part because of the biblical prophecy that the Jewish state is a required for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Now see I agree with you on this. They're perfecting Jews but they get to call anyone else who disagrees anti-semitic.

BucEyedPea
05-29-2009, 08:11 PM
Not to mention the GOP trying to turn this into a Christian nation. Nor American Jews' 200 year tradition of liberalism, tolerance, intellectualism, etc.
They are not.

orange
05-29-2009, 08:59 PM
They are not.

Here are a couple of stories - you can believe them or not, it really doesn't matter. The point is they're representative of how the GOP and specifically the Christian Right are perceived.

http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v19n3/clarkson_dominionism.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/08/obamas-prayer-snub-brings-reproach/
http://www.theocracywatch.org/texas_gop.htm

Since my point was that American Jews aren't becoming Republicans because of what the Republicans are, maybe it would be best to hear from American Jews who are not Republicans about what they think the GOP is:

Groups criticize McCain for calling U.S. 'Christian nation'

Story Highlights
Sen. John McCain says Constitution established U.S. as a "Christian nation"
McCain later said U.S. founded on Judeo-Christian tradition of human rights
Arizona Republican says comments not meant to exclude other religions
Muslim and Jewish groups critical of GOP presidential candidate's remarks


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Muslim and Jewish groups on Monday sharply criticized Sen. John McCain's comments that he would prefer a Christian president to lead the United States.

The Arizona Republican's remarks came in an interview with Beliefnet, a Web site that covers religious issues and affairs.

"I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who has a grounding in my faith," the GOP presidential hopeful told the Web site in an interview published Saturday.

McCain also said he agreed with a recent poll that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation," he said.

On Sunday night, McCain sought to clarify his remarks while campaigning in Hollis, New Hampshire. "What I do mean to say is the United States of America was founded on the values of Judeo-Christian values, which were translated by our founding fathers which is basically the rights of human dignity and human rights," he said.

"I believe that anyone can be president of the United States of any faith," McCain said, saying he was angry his remarks were misinterpreted but "there's nothing I can do about it."

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said McCain's comments failed to recognize that Christianity is not the only faith with beliefs that support the concept of human rights.

"Sorry, Islam and other faiths have their basis in human dignity," Hooper said.

McCain's remarks also "go against the traditions of American pluralism and religious pluralism and inclusion," Hooper said.

Hooper's organization, a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, said it's trying to organize a group of Muslim leaders to meet with McCain.

The National Jewish Democratic Council, an advocacy group representing Jewish Democrats, also called on the Republican Party to denounce the remarks formally.

"Former maverick John McCain's statements were repugnant," the group's executive director, Ira N. Forman, said in a statement. "It's been sad watching him transform from political maverick to religious right mouthpiece."

Forman added, "Someone running for president ought to understand the Constitution a little better. Nowhere does it say the United States is a 'Christian' nation. How can we trust someone to uphold the Constitution who doesn't even know what is in it?"

McCain's communication director, Jill Hazelbaker, issued a statement Sunday defending her candidate's comments: "Read in context, his interview with Beliefnet makes clear that people of all faiths are entitled to all the rights protected by the Constitution, including the right to practice their religion freely.

"In the interview he also observed that the values protected by the Constitution, by which he meant values such as respect for human life and dignity, are rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. That is all he intended to say to the question, America is a Christian nation, and it is hardly a controversial claim."

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/01/mccain.christian.nation/

And there's Alan Dershowitz, as big a Neocon as you could ask for:

McCain and the Godless Constitution

Recently John McCain--whose presidential campaign is in the sewer--declared that "the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation." What an ignoramus! McCain should go back to school and take Civics 1, where he might learn that the United States Constitution was called "the godless constitution," by its opponents, because it was the first constitution in history not to include references to God or some dominant religion. The Constitution mentions religion only once, in prohibiting any religious test for holding office under the United States.

The Bill of Rights mentions religion twice, once in prohibiting an establishment of religion (a clear reference to any branch of Protestant Christianity, which was then the dominant religion) and a second time, in guaranteeing the free exercise of all religions. Several years after the ratification, the Senate ratified a treaty with the Barbary regime of Tripoli which expressly proclaimed that "the Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." In fact, many of our Founding Fathers, including the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, were not Christians but rather were deists. In other words, they believed in the existence of God, but not in the divinity of Jesus or the divine authorship of the bible. Today they might be called Unitarians; in fact, John Adams, another author of the Declaration, and the President under whom the treaty was ratified, is buried in a Unitarian church, along with his wife Abigail and his son John Quincy.

Roger Williams--the religious leader most responsible for separating church and state in America--put it very well a century earlier: "no civil state or country can be truly called Christian, although the Christians be in it." That is what is so striking about American history, namely, that a nation of Christians ratified a Constitution that did not in any way establish "the United States as a Christian nation." We are in fact the most diverse nation in the history of the world and that is the secret of our success. McCain may prefer to vote for someone who "has a solid grounding in [his] faith," namely, Episcopalianism (though he is apparently thinking of changing his faith to Baptism), but in doing so, he is violating the spirit of our Constitutional prohibition against requiring a religious test for the holding of office in our diverse country.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/mccain-and-the-godless-co_b_66964.html

And here, a digest of several articles: Dominionism: How Jews See Efforts to Establish a Christian Theocracy

http://www.jewsonfirst.org/howjewsseedom.html

KILLER_CLOWN
05-29-2009, 09:30 PM
There are so many falsehoods in this thread i don't even know where to begin wether it be the liberal view that Reagan Republicans like to see dead people everywhere or the neocon view that we must protect Israel at all costs or those attacking the fact this nation WAS founded on Christian principals. I guess I'll just stay out of it. ;)

redsurfer11
05-29-2009, 10:16 PM
Oh, and btw, his speech is going to be filled with a lot of fine sounding rhetoric that doesn't mean a lot and he's going to criticize both Israel and the Muslims so he sounds like he's in the reasonable middle scolding extremism on both sides. His criticisms of muslims will be more generalized and meaningless than his specific criticisms of Israel though.

Before it's all said and done, Obama's probably going to set off a war.



Obombus?

SBK
05-30-2009, 12:15 AM
The US should never, ever, seek to side with ANY nation that threatens to wipe another off the map. Ally or not.

BucEyedPea
05-30-2009, 12:23 AM
The US should never, ever, seek to side with ANY nation that threatens to wipe another off the map. Ally or not.

Iran did not do that. Actually it's president was cited for saying it but even he didn't say that. I posted the translation if you want to use the search on it. It was a mistranslation picked up by the media and carried forward. The NeoCons seized on it to do what they want to already do and have for years—just like on Iraq.

BucEyedPea
05-30-2009, 12:24 AM
You post didn't prove anything orange. Christians are not one monolith that think as one vulcan mind meld anymore than Muslim's are.
Nor is merely one man's opinion, McCain, the head of the Christian faith.

jAZ
05-30-2009, 01:25 AM
My jAZ decoder says that's a "no".

Sorry, I was posting from my phone and trying to be brief. Instead I was horribly cryptic.

I was trying to clarify that yes, I've been in drunken bar fights (well, one)... but I've been around several.

And yes, once it's gone to the point of actual fighting, you are right, buying a beer doesn't stop the fight and fix things.

I should have said bar confrontations.

The "hey watch it mother****er!" when neither of you is paying attention and you bump shoulders while moving through the crowd. You can either double down with a "f*ck you, mother****er!" and all but ensure you are both on your way to getting thrown out... or one of you can diffuse the situation by taking the non-obvious path of apologizing even when you know he wasn't paying attention either, and buying his next beer.

One way is free, typical, and all but ensures a pretty shitty night for you and your friends.

The other costs you $10, a little bit of pride that you don't really need, keeps you out of jail, and gives you one more shot at the chick you have been trying to hook up with.

jjjayb
05-30-2009, 05:37 AM
Come on. Have you ever been in a bar fight? Have you ever seen someone in a bar fight offer his opponent a beer?


Jaz in a bar fight? ROFL

BigRedChief
05-30-2009, 06:00 AM
Some of Obama's closest advisers on the Middle East are very, let's say empathetic with the Palestinian (and European) view of the conflict and hostile to the Israeli view. But what you say above is pretty much true so Obama is caught in a bit of a tension between his own apparent instinct telling him that Israel is the problem and his need to keep the ranks of his democrat party, who tend to support Israel, comfortable.As probably the only person on this board who has actually lived in Israel for a year and a half on this board I think I might have a more learned opinion than some others on here.

I have spent considerable time with Palestinians/Muslims/Israeli's/Jews talking and learning. I've stayed in the Palenstine refugee camps, I've stayed at the yeshiva's(Jewsish Religious schools). Lived on a Israel Kibbutz, had an apartment in Jerusalem in the civilian arab part of town.

The conservatives see the expansion of the settlement in the West Bank as the best way to ensure the continued exsistense of Israel. There is a strong under current of religious zeal to this opinion.

You grow up watching your mom carry water by hand for a mile back to your dirt/mud floor house with no money or oppertunity and see if you don't become radicalized and have a serious attitude against your percieved oppressors.

These two sides will never, I repeat never be able to live peacefully beside each other. There is a religious part of this issue in which there is no compromise. God is on their side. They will go to their grave knowing their beliefs are the right beliefs.

The bottom line that I learned after all that time over there is that the extremes on both sides will never allow a lasting peace.

King_Chief_Fan
05-30-2009, 07:45 AM
Israel is the only sane nation in the region. The US has billions invested and close cultural and financial ties with Israel. Obama can talk tough all he wants but it's just words. The US and Israel are irretractably intertwined and will be so long after President One-and-Done is gone.

Does anyone think that Obama can tell Israel what to do?
I don't think so....South Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, they tell him to shove it. Why shouldn't Israel?

King_Chief_Fan
05-30-2009, 07:48 AM
Sorry, I was posting from my phone and trying to be brief. Instead I was horribly cryptic.

I was trying to clarify that yes, I've been in drunken bar fights (well, one)... but I've been around several.

And yes, once it's gone to the point of actual fighting, you are right, buying a beer doesn't stop the fight and fix things.

I should have said bar confrontations.

The "hey watch it mother****er!" when neither of you is paying attention and you bump shoulders while moving through the crowd. You can either double down with a "f*ck you, mother****er!" and all but ensure you are both on your way to getting thrown out... or one of you can diffuse the situation by taking the non-obvious path of apologizing even when you know he wasn't paying attention either, and buying his next beer.

One way is free, typical, and all but ensures a pretty shitty night for you and your friends.

The other costs you $10, a little bit of pride that you don't really need, keeps you out of jail, and gives you one more shot at the chick you have been trying to hook up with.

coward:)

patteeu
05-30-2009, 09:50 AM
Sorry, I was posting from my phone and trying to be brief. Instead I was horribly cryptic.

I was trying to clarify that yes, I've been in drunken bar fights (well, one)... but I've been around several.

And yes, once it's gone to the point of actual fighting, you are right, buying a beer doesn't stop the fight and fix things.

I should have said bar confrontations.

The "hey watch it mother****er!" when neither of you is paying attention and you bump shoulders while moving through the crowd. You can either double down with a "f*ck you, mother****er!" and all but ensure you are both on your way to getting thrown out... or one of you can diffuse the situation by taking the non-obvious path of apologizing even when you know he wasn't paying attention either, and buying his next beer.

One way is free, typical, and all but ensures a pretty shitty night for you and your friends.

The other costs you $10, a little bit of pride that you don't really need, keeps you out of jail, and gives you one more shot at the chick you have been trying to hook up with.

Israel and it's antagonists are way past the point where buying a beer defuses the situation and fixes things.

HonestChieffan
05-30-2009, 12:55 PM
This clown is going to suck up to the muslims while Iran and North Korea have his gonads in the vice and he has no clue.

Inexperience is showing badly