March 7: Obama at AIPAC

I was highly disappointed by Barack Obama’s speech to America’s pro-Israel lobby.

Obama at AIPAC
Sir, – I was highly disappointed by Barack Obama’s speech to America’s pro-Israel lobby (“US would use force against Iran if diplomacy fails, Obama tells AIPAC,” March 5). This should count for something extra because I belong to that small group of Israelis who don’t believe the US president is our enemy.
I understand that in an election year, Obama could hardly admit that he personally ruined whatever was left of the peace process by being more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Still, some form of apology would have gone a long way. He declared that Israel had the sovereign right to defend itself against Iran but failed to add that in such a scenario the US would fight alongside it. And he called Iran’s threats against Israel a danger to the US, but where was his declaration that these threats are a danger to good people everywhere? Obama called Israel the historic homeland of the Jews but failed to say that it still is. He announced nothing against the murderous Syrian regime. He did not say that the US embassy would move to Jerusalem. And he did not announce the liberation of Jonathan Pollard.
How many chances can one blow?
Sir, – President Obama’s actions speak much louder than the words of a well-written, rehearsed and teleprompted speech.
It behooves us to remember the shameful White House side-door entrance and exit for our prime minister. That Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 45- minute telephone harangue was given full public disclosure can only be construed as having been intended to humiliate and shame.
Obama is the one who repeatedly demands Israeli concessions while making no demands whatsoever of the Palestinian Authority. His demand to commence negotiations from the indefensible pre- 1967 lines only serves to embolden our adversaries.
As the saying goes, talk is cheap, perhaps because supply far outstrips demand.
Sir, – I am very grateful to The Jerusalem Post for printing the full text of President Obama’s Sunday speech to AIPAC (“‘When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back,’” March 5).
It allowed me to catch every one of his empty platitudes and promises. And it allowed intelligent Israelis to learn how, using the same empty promises, he was elected to office.
My little granddaughter got it right. When she returned one day from kindergarten and I asked her what she had learned, she replied, Harbei klumim, meaning “lots of nothings.”
Sir, – One surprise announcement came from US President Obama’s speech before AIPAC.
It was unequivocal and not subject to interpretation: President Shimon Peres will be given the highest civilian award by the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with all the pomp and ceremony the US can display.
This is a mark of recognition for the State of Israel because its president represents all Israelis.
In his speech, Obama also defined Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, the very words used by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. These words, which seem to claw in the throat of the leadership of the Arab world and of the Palestinians particularly, were uttered by the president of the United States in a major policy address.
We can take heart from these words and from the recognition being given to Peres. The US is still playing with time as far as Iran is concerned, but hopefully Obama will find the courage to say that no matter what Iran intends to do militarily, America will be acting with Israel.
Disappointed man
Sir, – Alon Ben-Meir (“End the slaughter in Syria while isolating Iran,” Comment & Features, March 5) is clearly going to be a disappointed man.
There is absolutely nothing happening on the ground to give any credence to the belief that the Assad regime’s days are numbered other than his own wishful thinking.
If Ben-Meir is seeking a different result, there is no option but for Western countries to risk the lives of armed forces to assist the opposition at the very minimum by establishing no-fly zones (probably now too late given the destruction and massacres).
Then he would know who to blame for the inevitable disaster – the current occupant of the White House.
Why Israel, of all countries, should want or be so foolish to get involved by opening its borders to Syrian refugees is quite beyond me.
Sir, – In his thought-provoking article, Alon Ben-Meir demonstrates that he possesses the analytical skills to identify the players responsible for the turmoil now taking place in our part of the Middle East.
He is able to speak with political and moral certainty when describing the roles of Iran, Assad’s Syria, Turkey and Iraq, and is capable of clearly distinguishing between the forces of good and evil. With an absolute confidence in his own judgment he even prescribes the strategies that are necessary to ward off total chaos in our region.
One is compelled, therefore, to wonder why Ben-Meir cannot apply that same clarity of vision when focusing on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
It should be quite easy to see that Hamas is a terror organization that does not hesitate to fire missiles into Israeli population centers as a daily routine.
With the same ease, one must conclude that if the PA assiduously woos Hamas with the intent of unification despite the latter’s adamant refusal to recognize Israel, the PA is defiantly stating that it has no intention of negotiating.
Add to the above that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the Holocaust denier, does not miss an opportunity to glorify terrorists and diffuse hatred for Israel throughout the PA’s educational system, and it should be quite simple to understand who are the good guys and who are the bad.
Not for everyone
Sir, – Reuven Hammer (“Civil, Jewish law agree: Equal service for all,” Comment & Features, March 4) tells only part of the story regarding mandatory army service.
I have four sons who proudly marched through army service in Israel, and one daughter who is currently a commander at Havat Hashomer, an amazing and unique army program, so I feel qualified to make at least this one comment: The army is not for everyone.
It’s one of the pillars of Israeli society, but its avowed goal is to break down each young man and woman who enters the service so as to rebuild him or her into the soldier it needs.
Sometimes the soldier turns into someone different, not better or worse necessarily, but different.
I’m sure Hammer, or his sons or daughters who went into the Israeli army, can vouch for the many young people who come out less religious, communicative, ennobled or Zionistic than when they entered. There’s no one to blame, but the army is clearly not for everyone.
Perhaps Hammer might do well to realize this and consider that the pikuah nefesh he’s talking about may sometimes be that of the soldiers themselves who, for whatever reason, need to be saved from the army.
CLARIFICATION The photo accompanying “The elephant in the room: Jonathan Pollard remains a hostage” (Comment & Features, March 6) is not of the author, Aaron Lerner. We regret the error.