Sunday, May 29, 2011

O’Donnell: Obama And Netanyahu Hold Identical Positions On Israel’s Borders

Following the speeches by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Republicans, along with a few Democrats, see an opportunity to cultivate a wedge issue against the president. For example, presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that Obama “threw Israel under the bus.” Several Jewish Democratic Congressmen have pushed back with the truth: in calling for negotiations to start at the 1967 borders, and for those borders to be changed through mutually agreed land swaps, Obama is not saying anything new or radical. Yet the demagoguery continues, with claims that Obama is calling for Israel to go back to the 1967 borders–period. Lawrence O’Donnell called out the falsehood of such claims and pointed out that Netanyahu, in his speech to Congress, promoted the same stance on borders as Obama:

O’Donnell: All of the outrage was based on the lie that President Obama said that he believes the solution is to go back to Israel’s 1967 borders which he never, ever said. …When it was the prime minister’s turn to give his big speech to Congress just five days after President Obama’s speech, he used slightly different language, but he said exactly the same thing President Obama said. …The Prime Minister is saying there will be some settlements that will be beyond those borders that will have to be included in the new border that defines Israel. That is exactly what President Obama was saying when he referred to using the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. …The president’s position and the prime minister’s position are identical. You would ever know that by listening to the hysterics who wrongly believe they are rising in Israel’s defense. …The position of the president of the United States on Israel’s future borders is identical to the position of Israel’s prime minister.


Michael The Molar Maven said...

O'Donnell gives a cerebral, step-by-step analysis of the situation and proof, at least to me, that the NY Times editorial is absolutely correct that knee-jerk opposition to the "abridged" version of President Obama's speech is nothing more than pandering for votes and an insult to the intelligence of the American Jewish community.

Jeff Tone said...

Thanks for the reference to the valuable NY Times editorial, which I then linked under the word "opportunity" in my post.

Mohammad Shihabi said...

I think the main problem Netenyahu, AIPAC and members of Congress had with Obama's speech was that in publicly stating that the 1967 borders would be the basis for the establishment of a Palestinian state (with mutually agreed land swaps), he essentially supported the ultimate Palestinian position that East Jerusalem should be their capital.

Those calling Obama anti-Israel for his speech are just going for political points. Besides O'Donnell's excellent points, there's the fact that the Palestinians are going to the U.N. in September to declare (unilaterally) their statehood (I'm assuming that East Jerusalem will be included in that declaration), and it is definitely going to be supported by a majority of the world's nations.

Therefore, pursuing a two-state solution that gives the Palestinians at least some of the things they are asking for would technically be in Israel's interests.

Jeff Tone said...

Mohammad: The point about East Jerusalem may play a part, if those who are engaged in this demagoguery are even thinking about such implications. What is clear is that they are distorting Obama’s clearly stated position for political gain.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the U.N. declaration “a political-diplomatic tsunami” and spoke against “paralysis.” Of course Israel would be better off resolving its issues with the Palestinians through negotiations. The irresponsible talk we’ve heard this week only sets such negotiations further back. The ones making such charges against Obama are not doing Israel any favors.

Mohammad Shihabi said...

Here's an interesting article on the subject by Fareed Zakaria on CNN.