June 7: Readers weigh in on comments by the US president

In this shuk we want to buy peace, but the PLO has not got it to sell.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
With regard to “Obama: World does not believe Israel is serious about 2 states” (June 3), US President Barack Obama, by inference, is saying that the Palestinians have no preconditions for peace talks, that only Israel has, and that the Palestinians are not at all responsible for the breakdown. Come off this concept! While the Palestinians have been and continue to be bent on taking lives, Israel’s most heinous crime, according to most of its critics, is construction in Jerusalem.
As I often say, in this shuk we want to buy peace, but the PLO has not got it to sell.
Tel Aviv
President Barack Obama claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “fairly unequivocal” in his statement that a Palestinian state would not emerge during the Israeli leader’s watch.
The adjective “unequivocal” cannot be qualified. Something is either definite or not definite.
Thus, by using the word “fairly,” President Obama can only be interpreted as saying that it is fair for Netanyahu to be unequivocal about this! Of course, all this is just splitting hairs about hermeneutics. Yet for me, one thing is unequivocal: I will sleep easier at night without a Palestinian state that refuses to recognize Israel.
Your editorial on US President Barack Obama (“Obama’s support for Israel,” June 3) might have been well intentioned, but it fell far short of changing the correct perception that Obama is the most anti-Israel US president since Jimmy Carter. We only have to look at two major issues confronting Israel today – Iran and the Palestinians.
On Iran, Obama is intent on reneging on the major US commitment of doing all possible to ensure that the Islamic Republic does not get a nuclear weapon.
To say his current proposal is the only solution is not only wrong, but dangerous to Israel and the entire region. Surely, continuation of the sanctions and use of a strong military operation can get an agreement that upholds that US promise.
On the Palestinian issue, one need only look at his interview with Channel 2’s Ilana Dayan. The 1993 Oslo Accords called for an agreed-on settlement. Obama’s perceived threat to support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council is in total contradiction to that pledge.
No US president has taken such a hard line against our interests, such as security and our rights to Jerusalem. His failure to keep longterm commitments on the Iranian and Palestinian issues undermines any argument that he is a friend.
No soft interview or empty rhetoric on his love for Israel can change these facts.
While pointing out the error of extremist accusations of anti-Semitism against President Obama, you fail to note one of the major reasons Israelis mistrust him – his totally unbalanced assessment of where the fault lies in the failure of the peace process.
President Obama never voices any criticism of Palestinian rejectionism, yet he trumpets the claim that Israel is responsible for the failure of the two-state solution.
Had he been fairer Israel (and it must be remembered that this one-sided criticism prevailed from the outset of his first term), then most Israelis would no doubt put greater trust in his attestations of true friendship.
Your editorial suggests that President Obama has faced “endless, baseless charges” regarding his support for Israel since 2009. That is quite a sweeping statement that slanders a number of intelligent and thoughtful people, and is at the same time an unusually extreme and simplistic statement.
Obama has acted in ways that seem to support Israel, such as his approval of financial and military assistance, and protective actions in the UN. But he showed questionable support when he introduced a new requirement for the “peace talks” (e.g., ceasing all settlement construction), which the Palestinians understandably and intransigently adopted.
He seems to place all blame for the failure of talks on Israel despite Israeli concessions. His statements have also given fodder, as well as subtle support, to the international delegitimization campaign. His criticism of Israel is also incomparable to that leveled against any other US ally (e.g., admonishing us in his Channel 2 interview for not living up to our democracy), and he continues to try to delegitimize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the emerging deal with Iran – a deal now coming under increasing criticism by many international figures and commentators.
Differing opinions are understandable and acceptable. But we must be more precise and astute as to what we base our assessments and comments on for such important issues as US-Israel relations.
It is comforting to know that President Obama “understands our concerns and our fears.”
More relevant to assuaging our concerns and fears, however, is the increase in US aid to Israel that is to kick in come 2017.
But of even more relevance is Eric Mandel’s “It’s time for the Sunni world to come to terms with Israel” (Comment & Features), which is juxtaposed immediately – and ironically – next to your editorial. In it, Mandel underscores the frightening realization that “American foreign policy experts still seem to be out of step with the reality of a Middle East where American compromise and outreach are perceived as weakness....”
Of what value is the president’s “understanding” if on his watch Iran becomes a nuclear threshold power? Frankly, of what critical significance is his “understanding” if Iran continues to openly sponsor terror aimed at our destruction? As we say in Hebrew/Yiddish: Tachlis! Basically, this means “bottom line.” If Iran is permitted to continue on a nefarious path that is already ushering in an apocalyptic nuclear competition among all our neighbors, then Obama’s legacy of “understanding our concerns and fears” will exude the stench of phoniness salted with crocodile tears.
An honest evaluation of US President Barack Obama’s love and support for Israel and the Jewish people needs to be affirmed by finally releasing Jonathan Pollard.
There is at this time complete transparency of the extent of Pollard’s crime and its possible repercussions.
There doesn’t exist even a minuscule excuse to prolong this terrible injustice.
Your June 3 editorial sees the Obama charm offensive as proof of his support for Israel. What I see is a vindictive campaign to delegitimize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and set the stage for American support of anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council.
With regard to “Obama’s interview” with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg (Editorial, May 25), you certainly do see that “questioning settlement policy, expressing compassion or empathy toward Palestinian youth who are dealing with checkpoints or restrictions on their ability to travel should not be equated with being anti-Israel, not to mention anti-Jewish.” But you go on to say that “Palestinians have over the years made horrifically bad choices,” and that “Obama seems not to appreciate the tremendous sacrifices Israelis would have to make for peace – dismantling settlements....”
Isn’t the creation of all these settlements – so many that forgoing them would involve “tremendous sacrifices” – a paramount example, when turning your words around, of some Israelis having over the years “made horrifically bad choices?” You also say that “Palestinians have been severely deficient when it comes to basic goodwill.” But when turned around, how can Palestinians see all of this settlement creation over the years as indicative of even the most minimal Israeli basic goodwill”?
Cambridge, Massachusetts