May 25: More on the US President's recent speeches

With a “friend” like this in the White House, I can only wish godspeed to his Republican opponent in 2012.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Sir, – Regarding “Obama clarifies at AIPAC: Borders should reflect changes in demographic realities over 44 years” (May 23), the US president played to his audience by bringing up the issue of borders and demographic changes. Why did he not state this formula to the press while meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and avoid a diplomatic firestorm? Did he really think his statement concerning the 1967 borders would not elicit a sharp reaction from Israel? Clearly, Obama never misses an opportunity to clash with Netanyahu. His endless talk of an “unshakable commitment” to Israel has proven to be nothing more than empty rhetoric.
With a “friend” like this in the White House, I can only wish godspeed to his Republican opponent in 2012.
Sir, – One day President Obama spouts something, the next day out pops something else. What disposable statement will he come up with tomorrow? Obama is clearly no statesman.
He is a politician facing re-election.
Who was it who said: Politicians, like diapers, should be changed regularly, and for the same reason.
Sir, – Very interesting: Obama called for freedom for Gilad Schalit, something he can do nothing about, and said nothing about Jonathan Pollard, something he can do something about.
AIPAC, how gullible can you be?
LEONARD KAHN Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – You missed one important observation regarding President Obama’s comments on Israel.
Official US foreign policy statements are made either by the White House or the State Department. Policy is not made by way of speeches before organizations such as AIPAC, which is a domestic lobby having no impact on policy unless an official White House or State Department statement is released incorporating corrections.
No such official statements have been released, so official US policy is still as stated by Obama at the State Department last week.
AIPAC was used by Obama to reingratiate himself with American Jews by saying he really didn’t mean all he said.
US policy remains very much against Israel’s best interests.
Obama and Foggy Bottom prevail.
Sir, – In all the excitement of Obama’s “explanation” at the AIPAC conference, two important things have been overlooked: 1) Whenever he referred to the Palestinian entity he added that it must be a “viable” state. What about Israel being viable? 2) Where was his promise of secure borders for Israel? Once Palestine adjoins other Arab countries, it can bring in as much heavy weaponry as it likes.
Surely these should be a wakeup call not only to our leaders, but to all of us. We should tell Obama that actions speak louder that words.
Sir, – While watching each of President Obama’s speeches, along with replays of his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I had an uneasy feeling.
In all three appearances the president’s face did not seem to go along with his words.
Later I recalled the Nixon- Kennedy television debates in 1960. These meetings were the first time US presidential candidates faced each other on the TV screen. Kennedy was the more photogenic. Nixon, with his heavy eyebrows, sweaty brow and five o’clock shadow, looked sinister.
And then it came back. During that election campaign, Herb Block, the political cartoonist, drew Nixon as he appeared on screen. The caption was, “Would you buy a used car from this man?” The answer then was definitely no, and now, regretfully, no.
DAVID STAR Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Kudos to David Horovitz (“Obama’s abiding failure to internalize Palestinian intolerance,” Analysis, May 22), who exposes the naiveties and inconsistencies of a neophyte US president.
How can the Arabs be considered “peace partners” when Palestinian leaders cannot even acknowledge Jewish sovereignty in Israel? How can Obama ask the Jewish state to negotiate with Hamas, a terrorist organization openly bent on Israel’s destruction? How can Obama declare that Israel start negotiations from the indefensible 1967 “Auschwitz lines?” Why was he silent about the absurdity of the Arab demand for a “right of return?”
Sir, – Prior to Barack Obama’s May 19 speech at the State Department, I, like many others, was led to believe that his references to the Israel-Palestinian problem would not be touched in any great detail. We were, therefore, pleasantly surprised when, indeed, he spent quite some time discussing this matter and outlining his ideas on how the problems should be resolved.
Our immediate reaction was that for the first time, Obama was showing more consideration for, and understanding of, Israel’s problems. He did not comment on the blockade of Gaza or the restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank. He did not refer to the Palestinian demand for a right of return. Jerusalem was not mentioned by name even once. He did not call for a cessation of building activity by Israel in the West Bank. He reiterated the status of Hamas as a terrorist organization and said that symbolic actions to isolate Israel won’t create an independent Palestinian state.
I and many other right-wing supporters were therefore disappointed when we read the headline of your May 20 front page article, “PM slams Obama call for ‘Palestine’ based on ’67 lines.”
Netanyahu’s reaction could and should have been more diplomatic. He should first have congratulated the American president on his thoughtful analysis and understanding, and then stated that Obama’s suggestion of land swaps would include Israel retaining all the settlement blocs. To ask Obama to endorse former president George W. Bush’s statement made in a letter to Ariel Sharon in this regard was surely asking too much. He also should have welcomed Obama’s call for a Palestinian state to be demilitarized and stated that methods would have to be instituted to ensure such demilitarization.
A lot of this would, in fact, have to be part of direct discussions between Netanyahu and Obama, but at least it would have followed an endorsement rather than outspoken criticism of the American president’s speech.
Was it necessary for Netanyahu to respond so rapidly, without allowing some time for thought and discussion with advisers? We all, even heads of government, have our pride and feel we need recognition for our efforts, and not open and widely publicized criticism.
Sir, – President Obama, under pressure to at long last articulate a coherent US policy on the Arab popular uprisings, instead shifted to the tired old path of least resistance in finding Israel to browbeat.
In one stroke, the Arab uprisings and their ticklish political exigencies went from primary to tertiary in the priorities of world governments and media. The fraught and looming Iran issue totally disappeared.
Assad and Ahmadinejad couldn’t have played it better. But even more dangerous is the dabbling in classic anti-Semitism, which sees the solution to every problem in the Jews.
“Everything old is new again,” is what Obama’s “change” is really about.