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August 11, 2011 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-08-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

points of view

EDITORIAL BOARD:
Publisher: Arthur M. Horwitz
Chief Operating Officer: F. Kevin Browett
Contributing Editor: Robert Sklar

>> Send letters to: Ietters©thejewishnews.com

Obama's Goal Is
A Secure Israel

Washington/JTA

A

strong, secure Jewish
State of Israel, sup-
ported by the United
States as a close ally, has been a
central feature of my public and
private careers.
As a senior government offi-
cial in several administrations,
an American and a Jew, I see
Israel from multiple perspec-
tives. Israel plays a strategic
role in advancing American
interests in the Middle East
and beyond; Israel and the United States
share a common set of democratic values
and have developed a partnership unique
in the annals of history. Israel is the Third
Jewish Commonwealth, returning the
Jewish people to their homeland after
2,000 years of exile; and it is the home of
relatives and close friends, and the final
resting place of my great-grandfather and
grandfather, both of whom made aliyah.
I fervently believe President Obama's
course is essential to achieve the hopes I
have for Israel's future — notwithstanding
the recent controversy over the president's
remarks about Israeli-Palestinian negotia-
tions and differences over Israeli settle-
ment expansion.

A Strong Plan
First, the Obama administration has gen-
erated unprecedented international pres-
sure to confront Iran, Israel's most danger-
ous security threat. President Obama is
determined in word and deed to "prevent
Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."
The president and Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton have orchestrated increas-
ingly biting multilateral sanctions through
the U.N. Security Council, winning
support even from Russia and China;
strengthened them with comprehensive
U.S. sanctions aimed at Iran's financial
sector; and obtained European Union sup-
port for similar sanctions.
As a result, Iran is virtually cut off from
large parts of the international financial
system, its economy is hobbled and most
large American and European companies
have left Iran.
The administration also has taken on
Islamic terrorism more generally, from
gravely weakening Al Qaida with relentless
drone attacks and the courageous killing
of Osama bin Laden to providing vast
financial and military support to help gov-
ernments throughout the Middle East and
North Africa combat radicalism.
Second, with bipartisan cooperation
from Congress, the president has placed

26

August 11 • 2011

Obama's Policies
Endanger Israel

the military relationship with
Beverly Hills, Calif./ JTA
Israel at an all-time high.
President Obama has expand-
srael and America are at
ed U.S.-Israeli security coopera-
a dangerous crossroads
tion from counterterrorism to
in which the survival of
preventing arms smuggling to
Israel and the safety of the
Gaza to missile defense.
United States both hang in
Despite the most difficult
the balance.
federal budget challenge in
Year after year, the forces of
our lifetime, Israel's military
terrorism become stronger,
assistance has increased to the
and the claims of terrorists
historic high of $3 billion. The
become more acceptable
Obama administration has
to our European allies and
assured that Israel will main-
more powerful in the United
tain a qualitative advantage in
Nations. Year after year, the
a region where the sophistication of arms
Iranian dictatorship, with its openly
is increasing by providing
stated desire to annihilate
additional support of $205
Israel and defeat the United
million to help produce an
States, moves closer to having
Israeli-developed short-range
nuclear means to do so. Year
rocket defense system, Iron
after year, Hamas grows stron-
Dome, which already has
ger in Gaza and Hezbollah
intercepted rockets from Gaza
grows stronger in Lebanon.
and saved Israeli lives.
Today, the greatest obstacle
Third, the Obama admin-
toward achieving a real
istration has taken head-on
and lasting peace is not the
the insidious campaign
strength of the enemy or the
to delegitimize Israel as a
unwillingness of Israel to make
Jewish state. Obama is the
great sacrifices for the sake of
first president to repeatedly
peace.
refer to Israel as the "Jewish
It is the inability on the part
State of Israel." He told the
of the Obama administra-
U.N. General Assembly that
tion and certain other world
Is President leaders to tell the truth about
"Israel's existence must not
be a subject for debate" and
terrorism, be honest about the
Obama's
said, "Efforts to chip away at
publicly stated goals of our
Israel's legitimacy will only
woridview
common enemies and devise
be met by the unshakeable
policies appropriate to an hon-
in line with
opposition of the United
est accounting of reality.
States."
Moral confusion — for
Israel's best
The president withdrew
example, not spelling out a
U.S. participation in the
interests?
carefully defined ideology of
Durban Review Conference
radical Islamist terrorism — is
in Geneva in 2009 because
sadly typical of this adminis-
of its anti-Israel agenda. And
tration's elevation of political
the administration strongly
correctness above common
opposed the Goldstone report following
sense. The Obama administration's
the Gaza War.
policy towards Israel has been a victim
of this dangerous confusion.
Mideast Impact
The controversy over the president's
Confusing Remarks
position on the Israeli-Palestinian peace
In his May 19 State Department speech,
process has colored the view of some
President Obama rightly stated that
supporters of Israel, who failed to listen
Israel cannot be expected to negotiate
to what the president said. His May 19
with a terrorist organization that denies
speech on the Arab Spring and his May 22
its right to exist. But he then went on in
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
the same speech to pressure Israel to do
(AIPAC) speech are bookends that should
exactly that.
be reassuring to Israeli supporters and are
President Obama wants Israel to enter
distinctly in Israel's best interests.
into negotiations with a Palestinian
It is critical to understand that the
Authority that is now in league with the
president was not only trying to reignite
terrorist organization Hamas. The presi-
the stalled peace process, but also head
dent said that applying this pressure on
off a serious looming danger to Israel: a
Israel was not the politically savvy thing

A Troubling Shift
In his recent speeches, President Obama
also called for Israel to accept the 1967
lines as the beginning of peace nego-
tiations. He went to great lengths to
have us all believe that what he said
at the State Department and later at
AIPAC was no different than what other
American presidents have declared as
official policy.
Unfortunately, that's just not true.
President Obama has, in fact, called for
a remarkable shift in U.S. policy regard-
ing the peace process. He wants Israel to
accept the indefensible lines of 1967 as
the starting point of negotiations.
Accepting such a proposal would be
a suicidal step for Israel. Fortunately
for Israel, that proposal is a non-starter
with the American people.
Like Israel, we are committed to see-
ing a peace agreement that protects

POINT on page 27

COUNTER POINT on page 27

I

AT I SSUE

for him to do and that the
safe thing to do in an election
year is nothing.
He is essentially telling us
that he is doing the brave
thing by pressuring Israel to
negotiate with terrorists who
want to destroy it. President
Obama and his State
Department should recall
some basic facts.
Hamas was founded as a
terrorist organization dedi-
cated to the destruction of
Israel. Its charter openly calls
for Israel's destruction and instructs its
followers to kill Jews wherever they find
them. Hamas goes well beyond words in
its effort to destroy Israel. In 2010, more
than 200 missiles were fired into Israel
from Gaza.
No country can be expected to con-
duct peace negotiations with a terrorist
organization dedicated to its destruc-
tion, or with a Palestinian governmental
authority that joins forces with such a
terrorist organization.
Twenty years of hopes for the modern
peace process cannot change this funda-
mental reality.
It also means that entering into peace
negotiations with any organization that
includes Hamas is a fool's errand. It
is something that no friend of Israel
should ever ask Israel to do.
I certainly hope this administration
doesn't resort to the meaningless exer-
cise of trying to artificially distinguish
between the military and political wings
of Hamas as a way of justifying pressure
on Israel to negotiate with the latter.

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