Sunday, May 22, 2011
Obama's AIPAC address
I have to admit that watching Obama give a speech to AIPAC today took the edge off my tooth ache. All the pain killers I've been taking since Friday night didn't begin to ease the pain as much as Obama's words. I can't wait to see how this no-drama-queen guy, this super rational brain will force the Israelis and the Palestinians to figure out a solution to their conflict. I have a feeling he would pull something out of his hat, sooner or later.
Anyone who heard Obama's Middle East policy speech on Thursday could hear that he said something to the effect of pre-1967-war borders with land swaps bla bla bla. And those who didn't hear well, could have easily found the transcript of that speech. I definitely heard him say "land swap" on Thursday. And I am sure I was not the only one who heard that.
But not Netanyahu. He had to blow a fuse and flail hysterically as if he were the smartest guy in the room: 1967, 1967, that's not the borders we can accept. As if what Obama had said was big news. Those "mutually agreed swaps" Obama referred to were already discussed in Camp David 2000 between Clinton, Barak, and Arafat. Just read the book Gili Sher, who was one of the Israeli negotiators, wrote. The name of the book is במרחק נגיעה. I have an author signed copy if you can't find it on Amazon. (I couldn't). And if you can't find that one, read Dennis Ross's account of Camp David. It tells the same story, only in English.
Anyway, watching Obama speak to that crowd was like watching the State of the Union, only better. Because it was all about stuff I care about, but without any Republican yelling "you lie." (I don't think AIPACers are crazy enough to scream at him, yet).
There were two revealing moments in the speech, the first when he reassured the audience that "the commitment of the United State to the security of Israel is iron clad." The applaud lasted 20 seconds! And the second time was when he reminded the audience of something he had said last year: "Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate, and efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.” These lines were followed by seventeen seconds of applaud, whistles and shouts. Though the camera did not pan on the audience I could feel that people were jumping off their seats in excitement.
Israel has been around for over 60 years and Jews still need to get validation from the president of the United State that Israel has a right to exist. Show me another country whose citizens need this type of reassurance. It is really amazing that after 60 years saturated with full-blown wars, countless military operations (justified and unjustified), terror attacks, scuds, kassam rockets, long range missiles, short range katyushas, unilateral withdrawals, iron dome, road blocks, cease fires, unruly settlers, Jewish underground, peace agreements, failed negotiations, chemical and nuclear threats, left-wing government, right-wing government, technological and scientific breakthroughs, social experimentation, economic meltdowns and recoveries, Israel still has to fight for legitimacy. I think this is the only country in the world whose citizens still fight for acknowledgment from the world: Please look at us, we exist, give us a break already.
And then I thought: all those Israel haters who believe that the Jews conspire to rule the world (and Congress) and the media with the evil AIPAC are probably seething as they watch Obama "selling off" to the Jews.
If they only knew...
Oh, on second thought, happy belated birthday Israel.