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"Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now. Why is that so difficult for Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies to understand?" This is how New York Magazine's cover story begins from John Heilemann.

New Picture (54)

Heilemann chronicles in his story how President Obama has come to be characterized, unfairly, as "as the most ardently anti-Israel president since Jimmy Carter" when in fact he could be considered, by some measures, as the most pro-Israel president in the nation's history. (These are not measures with which I entirely agree, but measures that are worth noting.)

The striking element that Heilemann points out, and which I and many others here at Daily Kos have pointed out, is Obama's continuing to go to bat for Israel and Netanyahu – something that is about to dramatically happen again at the U.N. – despite being disrespected and mistreated by Netanayhu and despite the diplomatic damage such support is about to do to American interests in the Middle East.

Below are a few money selections from Heilemann's story, with a bit of my commentary. This first selection comes after Heilemann chronicles Netanyahu's visit to Washington in May, when Israel's leader spoke before Congress and, in an alliance with right-wing Republicans, twisted Obama's words and disrespected him on live television:

Obama was furious with Netanyahu, who in choosing to ignore the crucial qualifier about land swaps had twisted Obama’s words beyond recognition—the kind of mendacious misinterpretation that makes the presidential mental. The seniormost members of Obama’s team felt much the same. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, Bill Daley, the former Mideast-peace envoy George Mitchell: All were apoplectic with the prime minister, whose behavior over the past two years had already tried their patience. “The collective view here is that he is a small-minded, fairly craven politician,” says an administration source deeply involved in its efforts to push the parties to the negotiating table. “And one who simply isn’t serious about making peace.”

The Obama administration has known, since 2009, that Netanyahu has not been serious about making peace, and yet the president has largely stood by Israel and its leader in the public sphere, despite the lack of reciprocation.

But that's not what makes Obama the "first Jewish president," according to Heilemann. It's that Obama has been, despite standing solidly behind Israel, has been willing to engage in some "tough love" in order to try and save the Jewish state in ways that Israel's own leaders have failed to do.

Heilemann notes that Obama has been willing to be tougher with Israel on the issue of settlements than other presidents and has been willing to actually articulate 20 years of American policy regarding the future borders of a Palestinian state (based on 1967 with mutually-agreed land swaps). And in doing so, the characterization is that Obama has been engaging in tough love despite the fact that such moments have prompted American Jews and "pro-Israel" organizations to cast Obama as anti-Israel:

For Obama, such assessments would be funny [the he's anti-Israel] if they weren’t so frustrating and absurd; and for the Jews who know him best, they are simply mystifying. In the last days of the 2008 campaign, the former federal judge, White House counsel, and Obama mentor Abner Mikva quipped, “When this all is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.” And while that prediction has so far proved to be wildly over-optimistic, there is more truth in it than meets the eye.

In attempting to apply tough love to Israel, Obama is trying to make a stalwart ally see that undertaking the painful and risky compromises necessary for peace with the Palestinians is the only way to preserve the Zionist dream—which is to say a future as a state both Jewish and democratic. His role here is not that of the callous assailant but of the caring and sober brother slapping his drunken sibling: The point is not to hurt the guy but to get him to sober up.

The characterization is particularly mystifying to me, given my strong criticism of Obama for not going nearly far enough as a central broker between the Israelis and Palestinians. For not only has the administration failed to demand that illegal settlement construction stop, it has simultaneously demanded that the Palestinians give up their current U.N. push recognize Palestine as a state in the face of stalled negotiations (which are largely the fault of Netanyahu's intransigence).

And as I've written many times recently, Obama is about to severely damage America's standing in the Middle East – and thus damage a central foreign policy goal of gaining more legitimacy in the region as it convulses and shifts – by vetoing the upcoming Palestinian effort to achieve full member status at the U.N.

The U.S. is about to isolate itself in the world when it does so, and will irrevocably fracture its already-shaky standing in the Middle East with the vote. And why will Obama do so? Because he's going to bat for Israel. Again.

The electoral consequences of the Jewish vote aren't insignificant. While Jews only make up 2% of the U.S. population, they make up 4% and 5% in Pennsylvania and Florida respectively – two critical swing states.

And so Obama will go to bat for Israel at the U.N. in the coming weeks, despite this being against our interests.

And for that, he's being characterized by the right as anti-Israel.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Must Understand Modern Conservatives. (16+ / 0-)

    They're utterly finished with governance. They won't tolerate it no matter how much they're given in the bargaining.

    They're working for rule not governance. Doesn't seem to matter which country they're in.

    They want everything and they're doing everything to get everything.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:04:41 AM PDT

  •  T'ed & R'ed, mainly for the link to Heilemann's (11+ / 0-)

    piece which deserves a full read by all.

    I have to disagree with your suggestion that "Obama is about to severely damage America's standing in the Middle East." The damage was already extensive and the expected veto will imo do nothing beyond provide conclusive evidence to the int'l community that the US has ceded any lingering moral authority upon which to act as arbiter between the Israelis and Palestinians.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:15:41 AM PDT

  •  Not so tough love (6+ / 0-)

    To give tough love, you have to be tough.  He issued a warning on the settlements early on.  Netanyahu called his bluff.  He then caved.  So much for tough.

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry. It takes a helleuva lot more.

    by Paleo on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:22:26 AM PDT

    •  And who backed up Netanyahu (6+ / 0-)

      Far too many Democrats in Congress.

      Republicans 2012 . . . Keeping millions out of work to put one man out of a job.

      by jsfox on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:52:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sad but true. (4+ / 0-)

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:56:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's no surprise (0+ / 0-)

        You knew that going in.  That congress is more pro-Israel than the Knesset.  So, either you're prepared to follow through on your threat, or you don't make it in the first place.

        “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry. It takes a helleuva lot more.

        by Paleo on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:04:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  more pro-war and pro-settlement than the knesset (0+ / 0-)

          but those policies do not equal israel.

        •  actually, I don't agree with this -- the Knesset (0+ / 0-)

          is so right wing -- just look at those boycott laws they passed!  And how they wouldn't meet with representatives of J Street and tried to declare that J Street isn't "pro-Israel."  
          I guess the way in which you are right, however, is that there are people in the Knesset willing to declare their opposition to the Israeli right wing -- not enough of them, certainly, but some.  Whereas most people in our Congress will not do that.  
          The reason for this, however, is not because our Senators and Representatives are "more pro-Israel than the Knesset," the reason is the stakes involved.  In Israel, if you represent people on the left of the spectrum, you are representing them by stating your opposition to Netanyahu.  In the U.S., it's not so clear. Liberal people in Congress are afraid of losing an election by being labeled as anti-Israel.  And the special election in New York just made that seem even more of a threat.
          That's why it's up to organizations like J Street and Jewish individuals like me, my family, friends and relatives to push for stronger anti-Netanyahu, anti-Israeli-right wing, anti-settlement stands by our elected representatives.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:00:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This should flip out the red necks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diane Gee, Ptah the Great

    He's black. He's a Muslim. Them there commie librul New Yorkers love him. And now he done killed poor Jesus!

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:24:13 AM PDT

  •  There was also an interesting quote (8+ / 0-)

    in the article on why Perry or Romney will attack Obama vehemently for being "anti-Israel" , it isn´t necessarily just or mainly to attract Jewish votes:

    “Israel,” writes Marc Tracy on the Jewish-life website Tablet, “is the easiest way to come from the right and cast Obama as a dove; as out-of-step with American values; as otherwise untrustworthy on foreign and national-security affairs. Obama can’t, after all, be soft on Al Qaeda—he killed Osama bin Laden. He can’t be soft on dictators—the Arab Spring happened on his watch. He can’t be lacking in experience—he has been commander-in-chief these past years. He wasn’t coddling Pakistan or China or Russia, and he didn’t normalize relations with Cuba. But on Israel (and, by extension, Iran), Obama can be effectively painted … as having not stood up for democratic friends against evil foes.”

    "Walking into someone's diary is like walking into someone's home. You are a guest. Act accordingly." Kos

    by Mariken on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:04:23 AM PDT

    •  Correct, and that was also the fundamental (7+ / 0-)

      message in Boehner's comments before the Jewish National Fund this past Sunday.

      [snip]
      Israel is not isolating itself – Israel is leading in the Middle East.

      “Israel does not stand alone – Israel stands above as the one true beacon of freedom and opportunity in the Middle East.

      “We’re here to see that Israel continues to thrive – and to make clear it is America’s duty to stand by her side.  Not just as a broker or observer – but as a strong partner and reliable ally.
      [snip]

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:10:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Late last night I read at least five of the (5+ / 0-)

    harshest opinion pieces I've read in Hareetz, and the Jerusalem Post, slamming Prime Minister Netanyahu as a complete failure, with no alternative viable vision for Israel's future, and calling for him to leave.

    I know Hareetz represents a more "left-wing" view, relatively speaking, however, I was still surprised. These were articles by fairly mainstream Israeli's which probably would have been troll rated and maybe even banned here if published a few months ago.

    One slammed Netanyahu for even being in New York over the next few days, and many described the frenetic and intense lobbying pressures the US is putting on the Europeans and other allies to oppose Palestine's bid for membership in the SC, and observer state status in the GA.

    One asked what possible good could come from his presence adding to commotion, suggesting instead he should be hiding someplace out of site.

    I wondered for a second if it is, perhaps, possible that he may reverse himself and take the US off the hook, and try to reframe this humuliating defeat and damaging isolation for both the US and Israel, but retracting his request for a US veto, and supporting the Palestine bid as a grand gesture.

    The fly in this oinment is that membership would give Palestine access to the International Court of Justice, and other internatinal bodies which could then rule against Israels illegal occupation, and force migration of occupied populations, which is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and "technically" consitutes a war crime.

    So, my pressumption has been this is the reason Netanyahu is willing to play this losing position at such an extreme price to himself, Israel, Obama, and the US.

    However, several articles last night suggested that Palestine may have access to these courts anyway, even in its limited status as a non-voting observer state.

    If so, Netanyahu would be far wiser to withdraw his veto request, and appear to be noble and support the Palestinian bid.  

    After such a "grand gesture" the world would turn our eyes to the Palestinians for some equally grand gesture of recognizing Israel as a state, if not even "The Jewish State" which has greater symbollic significance.  (As far as I can tell, this is a code word for Palestine renouncing the "right of return" of non-Jewish "Israeli" who fled after 1947, and perhaps even agreement to take most of Israel's non-Jewish Arab population in land-swaps, which the PA has already indicated a willingness to do.  If anyone who know better could clarify I'd appreciate it.)

    Is it naive to still be hopeful that the PM might be more considerate of Isreal's best ally and not force us to go through with this diplomatic disaster when Netanyahu has no viable end game?

    What can he be hoping.  Many pundits have suggested that this may be the last chance for a two-state solution.  That we are very close, if not past the point where Arabs have no choice but to seek full equal rights in a one State of Israel that extends from the Meditteranean to the the Jordan River, and accepting all the refugees rights of return.

    This would create a state of Israel with a poplulation of around 50% Jewish and non-Jewish people.  

    Isreal would then have to decide to either be Jewish or Democratic but could not be both.  And, at this point, there could be no argument that the current situation constitute apartheid.

    Notice how those threatening the PA that Israel may annex the West Bank if the PA goes through their bid for statehood, are sugggesting suicide for the Jewish democratic state.

    Also, even the extremist Caroline Glick of the JPost, notes that Netanyahu and the Jewish defense establishment does not want the US Congress to cut off all funds for the PA if they go through with this vote.

    Sallam Fayyad has received wide praise from nearly all parties for improving the PA's security forces to the extent of nearly eliminating all violence from Palestinian terroritories.  

    Something the IDF was not able to do on its own.

    My my concern now is that the US will exert such extreme pressures that either Abbas or the rest of the world will back down.

    A victory in the UN, even of just observer status is the only hope left I can imagine for keeping the possibility negotiating a two-state solution alive, and will reverse the time advantage of delay for both parties, and change the BATNU's in a more balance direction.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:23:50 AM PDT

    •  I think you're giving Netanyahu too much credit (0+ / 0-)
      So, my pressumption has been this is the reason Netanyahu is willing to play this losing position at such an extreme price to himself, Israel, Obama, and the US.
      I don't think it is an "extreme price" to himself -- because  he really doesn't give a damn about anything except his own power and ambition.  He reminds me of the Republicans in Congress -- willing to let the country go to hell if it means defeating Obama and gaining power for themselves.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:08:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Disrespect" is a noun, not a verb (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JNEREBEL, fizziks, leftynyc, JayinPortland

    also, far more Americans than the small percentage of Jews, even in Florida and Pennsylvania, are ardent supporters of Israel, so the continued canard about "the Jewish vote" is absurd.

    On another note, as long as Hamas (a) is a viable political power with a reasonable possibility of taking power in a new Palestinian state, and (b) Hamas is sworn to destroy Israel, it is actually not in America's interest to support that which you posit it should.

    Additionally, and particularly for those who think we should "just" agree to a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, I have two suggestion. First, remember that history did not start in 1967. Second, understand that the PA is talking out of both sides of its mouth, saying that it will honor Jewish holy sites and give all Jews access to them, but also saying there are no Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem.

    No country, particularly one like Israel, can accept a neighboring nation that has one party dedicated to its destruction, and that has the party presently in control dedicated to destruction of its cultural (and religious) heritage.

    These points are rarely noted in the ongoing Daily Kos I/P teeter-totter, but are important elements in any discussion.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:14:04 AM PDT

    •  this (4+ / 0-)

      I am conflicted about whether the US should veto the statehood bid or not, but I find the analysis on the DKos I/P teeter-totter to be so overly simplistic and devoid of nuance as to be laughable.  People dismiss the relevance of the existence and position of Hamas like it is entirely inconsequential to the whole thing.  FFS, Israel is 9 miles wide and an army dedicated to its complete destruction is entrenched in an enclave within its borders.  Imagine if the US was 9 miles wide and an armed group was in control of a polity 20 miles from our one major metro area.  Would we be faulted for being rather judicious about final status talks with that entity?  

      •  And therein lies the point... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fizziks, JNEREBEL, Red Sox
        Imagine if the US was 9 miles wide and an armed group was in control of a polity 20 miles from our one major metro area.  Would we be faulted for being rather judicious about final status talks with that entity?
         

        Also, you know... I don't believe anybody here at dKos has had over 12,000 rockets fired at them, over the last nine years, from an entity which vows to destroy them and their country.

        As for the I/P teeter-totter here, it's interesting that yet again we're reading another piece which seems to claim, or make it seem so by omission, that just one party to the conflict is the obstacle to peace here.

      •  that whole argument can be applied moreso (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dont Call It, protectspice

        to the palestinians, who have had their sovereignty violated with far more violence and regularity. and yet you would not argue that gaza should be made larger at israel's expense to make their territory easier to defend against israeli attacks.

        to say nothing of the fact that israel openly works to make sure that palestine does not exist, while complaining about palestinian reluctance to recognize the existing state of israel while they are not allowed to exist.

    •  OED (7+ / 0-)

      “The reverse of to respect; to have or show no respect, regard, or reverence for; to treat with irreverence.”

      Just saying.

      First citation from 1614

      And the Palestinian state will certainly have a country next to it that has a party that in it's own charter states:

      We have therefore established that the Likud party charter does not recognize Palestine and will not accept a sovereign Palestinian state

      And Netanyahu is to the left of some of his cabinet on that one.

    •  you sure about that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza
      On another note, as long as Hamas (a) is a viable political power with a reasonable possibility of taking power in a new Palestinian state, and (b) Hamas is sworn to destroy Israel, it is actually not in America's interest to support that which you posit it should.

      The Pro-I side argues (falsely) that Arafat turned down thw last peace offer and was solely to blame for the fate of those negotiations. But,  (a) and (b) were also true in 2000 which shows that no deal was possible under these preconditions.
      •  You're missing the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fizziks, JayinPortland

        in 2000, they specifically set aside the final borders in and around Jerusalem for a later time. Now, the Palestinians are aiming for a fait accompli on the '67 borders, and combining it with promises that are lies.

        Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

        by dhonig on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:28:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I argue your "Pro-I side" because I'm pro-Israel (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Euroliberal

        and I think the Palestinian resolution in the U.N. Security Council should be passed and Palestinians should have their own country.
        I will argue with anyone who claims that being pro-Israel means being anti-Palestinian.  Israel's survival, IMHO, depends on good faith peace negotiations with the Palestinians; with openness to a Palestinian nation; with willingness to work out the boundaries so that Palestine can be a contiguous state; with acceptance that the settlements must be dismantled (unless they are part of a mutually agreed upon land swap).  
        So I view the right-wing in Israel and the overly zealous Christian right wing in the U.S. as detrimental to Israel's survival and therefore as ultimately anti-Israel.

        If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

        by Tamar on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:18:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What you advocate there- (0+ / 0-)

      To deny the God-given right of free association to a people, regardless of the ideology?

      How can you say that no country should accept a neighboring nation, regardless of its ideology?

      Nations in heated conflict and rivalry have existed for centuries, millennium.

      I just don't understand how a "Liberal" (in the old-school sense, even) can believe that natural rights should be denied to people.

      "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

      by AZ Independent on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:52:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayinPortland, JNEREBEL, fizziks

        You miss entirely what I advocate. What I advocate has nothing to do with this comment. What I advocate can be found HERE and might surprise you.

        No, what I'm talking about here is not the right of free association, nor accepting a neighboring nation. You see, it's not a matter of being a NEIGHBOR, but of overlapping property, particularly where that property is not just land, but the epicenter of an entire culture and religion.

        If your neighbor wants to build a two-story home on his lot and you like ranch homes, that's your problem. If your neighbor wants to build a two-story home that comes over onto your lot, takes your kitchen as his, and bars you from ever going to the refrigrator, though, that's another story entirely. And, of course, if the ownership of the kitchen is in dispute, well then, how can we be talking about "natural rights"? Multiply that by google because you're talking about the center of a culture and a religion, and then we can start having the same conversation. Hopefully, without the leap-to-a-conclusion-and-then-get-judgmental bullshit.

        Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

        by dhonig on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:26:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JNEREBEL
          the leap-to-a-conclusion-and-then-get-judgmental bullshit.

          This is dKos!

          As they say...

          ;)

        •  Its not the kitchen (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza

          its like a shared driveway.

          Both sides want all of the driveway for themselves. To deny your neighbor control over his own house because you want to keep the whole driveway, then start putting up tents in his front yard, is insane!

          It doesn't matter if your neighbor wants your house too. The point of the matter is, you're putting tents up in his yard and not letting him run his own house.

          I just don't get it. There has to be undisputed portions. Share the driveway, stop putting up tents and let him run his own house.

          If Israel can't accept the existence of a self-governing Palestine, how does that make it better than those who would not accept the existence of Israel?

          My opinion is, this is a battle between self-determination and imposed rule.

          "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

          by AZ Independent on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:43:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who's denying what? (0+ / 0-)

        dhonig sure isn't denying anybody anything.  Rather, he's simply pointing out facts which are apparently inconvenient to  some here.

        How and where on earth is he "deny[ing]" anybody "free association" or "G-d given rights?"

        Huh?

        I'm sorry, but your comment simply makes no sense.

        I don't know about you, but I'd sure be wary if my neighbors have clearly let it be known that they intend to destroy me, and have followed up on that threat by firing thousands upon thousands of rockets at me.

        I just don't understand how a "Liberal" can not see the problem here.

        See?  That works both ways.

        Oh, and multiple strawmen attacks duly noted.

        How can you say that no country should accept a neighboring nation

        The irony police just called, btw.  Check the Hamas charter.

        •  Israel is NOT Hamas (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza

          Israel is a democratic country, and I believe its people are better than Hamas.

          Taking the high road is too much to ask?

          No country, particularly one like Israel, can accept a neighboring nation that has one party dedicated to its destruction, and that has the party presently in control dedicated to destruction of its cultural (and religious) heritage.

          That is denying the right of self-determination, a Liberal value.

          Self-defense is certainly acceptable; persistent denial of rights is not, and is illiberal.

          I would hope that the Israeli people would see that peace begins first with you.

          BTW: What's strawman about my comment? I just don't get it. Surely a valid point is that people deserve the right to determine their own fates, without threat of force?

          "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

          by AZ Independent on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:51:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What? (7+ / 1-)

            Once again, I'm sorry but your comment makes absolutely zero sense.

            And I'd argue that peace begins with not firing rockets at your neighbors, but hey maybe I'm crazy and "illiberal"...

            Eye roll, redux.

            •  It makes perfect sense (0+ / 0-)

              Why can't the Palestinians have a country of their own?

              Having terrorists exist within the borders of a country does not preclude the country from existence.

              Giving the Palestinian people their own state does not preclude Israel from defending itself against the murderers of Hamas.

              It is simple.

              "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

              by AZ Independent on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:04:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have never seen a single person on this blog (6+ / 0-)

                advocate against Palestinians having a state of their own.

                The Democratic Party position is for a Two State Solution and that is the vision of many of the posters here at dkos.

                Strangely, from what I've seen, the people who advocate most strongly for the Palestinians having a country of their own are called "pro-I" here on daily kos.

                Consider adopting a homeless pet at PAWS.org (Progressive Animal Welfare Society)

                by hikerbiker on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:26:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK, let's get this all cleared out (0+ / 0-)

                  First, I have no qualms with "pro-I" people. In fact, "pro-I", "team I", whatever labels we want to use, and "pro-P", etc, are NOT helpful to this discussion, IMO.

                  The original comment above said that a state of Palestine that consisted of Hamas as part of a government or in any influence could be tolerated by Israel.

                  My argument is, that regardless of the government of a hypothetical Palestine, the right of a people to determine their own fate, and the right of a people to have representation of their own choosing, is not an ideal that should have opposition. Now, saying this, Israel is perfectly within its rights to defend itself against hostile actions taken by other states OR stateless actors. The security of Israel (whose Army/etc is really top-notch against anything the other Arab nations have) would not be threatened any more with an independent Palestine than it is today.

                  It is simply a question of supporting the rights of liberty for a people. The security of neighboring nations would still be respected, regardless.

                  NOW, I admit yesterday wasn't the greatest of days for me and I was probably a bit mushy on my wording, but I'll attribute that to a shitty work day.

                  I really hope this clears up my position. I'm not "anti-I" or "pro-P" or any of that. I want people everywhere to be able to exercise the rights that are inalienable and God given. Including the right to life (ie don't go killing people with rockets).

                  "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

                  by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 08:56:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  uprated for brazen HR abuse (6+ / 0-)

              What's your problem, Dont Call It?  And how on earth are you a TU?

          •  Lol, and wait a minute... (0+ / 0-)

            Tell me again, please, why the guy who recced this comment should ever be taken seriously on this issue again?

            Wow.

            Okay, dude.

            •  So, you don't believe that the R's will (0+ / 0-)

              try to defund the Democratic party?

              They are doing it on all levels, not just with the Jewish community!

              They are pitting Asian Americans against Hispanics, setting up new divide and conquer politics, and seek to completely transform our political landscape.

              The commenter wasn't trying to be anti-semitic. I read his comment and understood what he meant. Hell, even Scott Walker in WI admitted to busting the unions to kill Obama's base in 2012.

              It's perfectly fact that Republicans are trying any tactics they can to disrupt funding for Democratic candidates in every historically Democratic community.

              "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

              by AZ Independent on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:54:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I wouldn't have rec'd that comment (the one (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayinPortland, AZ Independent

                JayinPortland linked) because the way the commenter worded it was incredibly offensive.  But I saw some value in the comment if you can get past the language (which, I will admit, would be very hard for me to do.  Reading it raised my blood pressure quite a bit).
                I think you might want to look at how The Troubadour responded to that comment -- not recommending it but explaining to the commenter how inappropriate his wording was and then answering the real question in the comment.
                And it had a very good effect on the commenter -- as did JinP's response also.
                It helps in these discussions to be very aware of the sensitivity and hurt that can result from certain types of language and phrasing.

                If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                by Tamar on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:32:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll admit that I might not have that (0+ / 0-)

                  sensitivity to some language...

                  I do try, though, and have called out some shitty language before.

                  If not for the language, I think the idea that the Republican party and its moneyed interests are trying to kill the Democratic party is well supported I agree with that.

                  Examples include: Killing the unions (WI, the NLRB killing bill), restricting ability to vote by Dem constituencies (poor & minorities w/ voter ID laws etc, students), and finally, sowing discord among Democratic constituencies by replaying the "Southern Strategy" (Asians v Hispanics, disaffecting Jews/whites/working class folks).

                  I really didn't even feel the ZOG. "Jewish" could be replaced by "union" and still make sense, which I thought was the rule of thumb for non-ZOG worthiness. But if the Jewish community considers the comment to be ZOG worthy, I will retract my rec.

                  Jay's comment was full of sarcasm and loaded accusation of guilt. Yours took the time to explain why you felt offense.

                  And people wonder why it is so hard to have a decent conversation when you give people a big middle finger instead of an explanation?

                  "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

                  by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 09:22:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Language matters... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AZ Independent

                Tamar said it better than I could have, because admittedly I get too angry sometimes in these discussions at the time they're live.

                I would have thought you would be sensitive to this, especially considering that you wrote this excellent diary just over a month ago.

                I'm certainly not perfect on that count (I've uprated a few things I probably shouldn't have in my time) myself, either.  But I'm trying...

                •  Hey, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayinPortland

                  Its cool. Yesterday was a very "off" day for me.

                  I get it after Tamar's comment, and I've retracted the rec.

                  I'm not perfect at all, and I don't have the same experience with all of these memes that are outside of what I've experienced. I really do try to use Mets' anti-semitism letter as a guide on what not to do.

                  If the Jewish community considers it offensive, its offensive.

                  We all have "off" moments, and I can understand why you would get angry in these discussions. Sometimes people are aiming just to piss you off. Trust me, I'm not.

                  Hopefully our future interactions won't be as tense.

                  "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

                  by AZ Independent on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 09:30:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  ok, how about the 1947 lines, then? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dont Call It

      go back to the original UN mandate.

      •  Won't happen (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayinPortland, JNEREBEL, fizziks, livosh1

        for innumerable reasons, but the most important ones have to do with Jerusalem and Bethlehem as international cities and with every nation needing defined and defensible borders.

        Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

        by dhonig on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:34:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  does palestine count as a nation? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, callmecassandra

          or does that defensible border thing only apply to the colonizing entity?

          •  Ahh (5+ / 0-)

            I see we're no long having a conversation, but rather trying to spit at each other.

            No thank you.

            Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

            by dhonig on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:41:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe you should ask... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JNEREBEL, fizziks

            ...their leaders, who've turned down a state of their own many times in the past, on that.

            That Palestine is not currently a nation is certainly not Israel's fault, and what's indisputable is the fact that the one tiny Jewish nation in the world is surrounded by countries which have, in the not so recent past, attacked, invaded and continue to threaten its very existence to this day.  Multiple times.

            Yes, defensible borders are a necessity.

            Does this not apply to Israel in your opinion, btw?

            the colonizing entity

            That's cute, thanks for letting us all know what you're about.  Eye roll...

            •  how is israel's actions in the palestinian mandate (3+ / 0-)

              since 1947 not colonial? it's a textbook settler colony.

              in the past several decades, israel has attacked nearly every single one of its neighbors, and it threatens the existence of the palestinians - hell, blocks its self determination just as the colonial powers did the now-independent nations of the third world in the 50s and 60s, with much of the same feigned concern for whether the occupied nation is "ready" to be independent - in regular bursts of violence and invasive disruption. the yom kippur war was nearly 40 years ago.

              to my knowledge, the only neighboring country that has attacked israel with anything resembling state-run military force in the past several decades is iraq during the gulf war, with its scud missiles. beyond that, it's people shooting back against israeli invasions on their home turf, minor border skirmishes, non-state terrorist bombings, or non-state homemade missiles fired impotently out of gaza.

              again, does palestine deserve secure, defensible borders, the same as israel? or do those requirements only matter for israel, to you?

              right now, palestine's self-determination is being blocked by israel and the US, period. israel has no authority to set conditions for palestine's independence, because it is not rightfully in charge of palestinian territory, it is occupying it against international law, by force.

              if the ethnicities were reversed in this conflict, i suspect we would be on the same side in this discussion. i come at this from an anti-colonial, anti-occupation perspective, the identities of the occupied and occupier are tangential to the position.

              •  I should have stopped reading at "1947." (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fizziks, leftynyc, JNEREBEL, livosh1

                Unfortunately for me, I didn't.

                But it's like a train wreck, just can't pull your eyes away, you know?

                if the ethnicities were reversed in this conflict, i suspect we would be on the same side in this discussion.

                Last refuge of a scoundrel, resort to allegations of racism.

                That's wonderful.

                •  that's not an allegation of racism (0+ / 0-)

                  it's clear that your position is due in part to support of israel because of its jewish identity. there's nothing racist about that, a lot of irish catholics in the states supported irish catholics in northern ireland for similar reasons of identity, just as taiwanese-americans overwhelmingly support taiwanese entry into the UN against chinese obstruction. my point is that the flip side is not the case (as is often alleged), that i'm not opposed to israel because of that identity, and if it was in a reversed position, i would be loudly defending israel's right to self-determination just as i am currently doing with palestine.

                  •  Serious question. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    leftynyc, JNEREBEL, livosh1

                    Do your legs hurt from backpedaling that furiously?

                    •  nope (0+ / 0-)

                      that was what i meant when i wrote it. i don't think most of you guys on the other side of the discussion would believe it, but i figured it was worth a shot to explain. in an american context, i think right-wing violent anti-semitism is a very serious threat (and since the same types attack atheists, and seculars, and liberals generally, fighting anti-semitism domestically is enlightened self-preservation), but thrown around in foreign policy debates the way it is, it's pretty overdone.

    •  On Hamas: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug

      Israel may think it is not in its interest to support Palestinian statehood because Hamas may theoretically come to power, but I don't see how it is not in America's interest, except for sentimental reasons. Israel has little strategic value to America (this assertion usually earns me lots of insults from the pro-Israel side, but never do I get an rational argument as to Israel's alleged strategic value).

      The idea that Hamas may come to power seems a poor argument even for Israel itself. Palestine's government is controlled by Fatah, not Hamas. So what if Hamas is committed to Israel's destruction? (How many parties in Israel are committed to preventing a Palestinian state from coming into existence?) Israel could wipe it out in minutes.

      Plus Hamas's popularity is based in good part of the desperation of Palestinians ever having a proper country. Once they do, once they have something to preserve and protect, it is virtually certain that they will moderate their hostility to Israel, especially if the latter is seen as being at least mildly conciliatory.

      So what if Israel is only 9 miles wide at one point? How wide is Palestine at its narrowest point right now? How wide would it be were it to be recognized as a nation?

      Please provide a link demonstrating that the PA does not recognize Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem.

      First defeat, then deceit, then you're totally in denial (old Egyptian proverb)

      by Ptah the Great on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:22:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm wary of that language (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour, capelza, PeterHug

    Mostly because I remember Bill Clinton being called the "first Black President", and that is sometimes used against Obama. I've heard rumblings that Obama has not been as good for the Black community as Clinton... mostly online tough-guys/gals, though.

    But you do make a valid point. Something that some Jewish Democrats and progressives should take note of, instead of advocating for his replacement/fall.

    "Look at this; I'm a coward too; You don't need to hide, my friend; For I'm just like you" - Monster/Sprite (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex)

    by AZ Independent on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:59:45 AM PDT

    •  I'm wary of that language to, though its use is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, PeterHug

      important since Heilemann/New York Magazine chose to lead with the phrase, which came from an Obama advisor in the lead-up to 2008:

      For Obama, such assessments would be funny if they weren’t so frustrating and absurd; and for the Jews who know him best, they are simply mystifying. In the last days of the 2008 campaign, the former federal judge, White House counsel, and Obama mentor Abner Mikva quipped, “When this all is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.” And while that prediction has so far proved to be wildly over-optimistic, there is more truth in it than meets the eye.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:02:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I completely disagree with your assessment. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayinPortland
    And as I've written many times recently, Obama is about to severely damage America's standing in the Middle East – and thus damage a central foreign policy goal of gaining more legitimacy in the region as it convulses and shifts – by vetoing the upcoming Palestinian effort to achieve full member status at the U.N.

    But we both shall see in the coming days and weeks whom is correct in their prediction.

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:17:51 AM PDT

    •  I realize it's bad form, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamar

      and I apologize. But I simply cannot prevent myself from saying this: you have misused the word "whom". It should be "who". Please forgive me. And don't hold it against me when I make typos in the future.

      First defeat, then deceit, then you're totally in denial (old Egyptian proverb)

      by Ptah the Great on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:28:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  until democrats are willing to point out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, PeterHug

    that the big right wing likud-supporting jewish organizations are not synonymous with - and are in fact deeply out of step with - rank and file jewish americans, they'll stay stuck in this bizarre holding pattern.

    it would be better to just admit publicly that jews like any group of americans have political divisions in their community, and that there will be jewish votes that a sensible foreign policy towards israel will lose. then, go about doing right by the vast majority of pro-peace jewish voters, openly as such.

    •  Yep, lots of divisions. Even among us liberal, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      lefty, Palestinian-rights supporting Jews.  I'm pretty much where J Street is (a little to the left).  Our older daughter is not so sure a two-state solution is the answer and is back & forth between that and a single unified state with equal rights for all (the end of a Jewish state).
      Our neighbor, also Jewish, a former AIPAC lobbyist, is barely for a 2-state solution.   Our former rabbi -- very liberal on all social issues -- is vehemently against the flotillas, vehemently defends the bombing of Gaza, and I'm not sure where she stands on Palestinian independence.  Our current rabbi is squarely in the J Street camp.
      Like I've said over and over again in comments -- two Jews, three arguments.  
      Anyone who thinks they can lock up the Jewish vote simply by being hawkish on Israel and supporting Netanyahu and his right-wing colleagues is in idiot.  I don't know a single Jew, no matter what they're feeling about Israel, who will vote for Perry.  There are some, I'm sure, but they certainly don't represent the majority or even the plurality of American Jews.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:46:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is there not a campaign to reduce Jewish funding (0+ / 0-)

    of democratic politics?  I apologize if my question is off-base as I am not well versed in matters concerning Israel, but I can't help wondering if there is another important aspect to all this.

    I read someplace, probably here at Daily Kos, that the three greatest sources of funding for Democratic politics are unions, trial lawyers, and Jews.  As demogaphics and slowly increasing public political understanding doom future Republican hopes of convincing the American public to vote Republican, there has been a shift to strategies for politcal victory that do not require winning the minds of the voters.  Hence the efforts to change laws to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote, and to mess with the electoral college, etc.

    An all out war of course calls for defunding Democratic politics.  Hence the war on unions, the passing of legislation that guts trial lawyers' profitability, and who knows what regarding Jews.  Perhaps the scare about Sharia law.  It seems to me there must be an intense campaign to separate the President from support of Israel so as to go after that funding source.  Republican strategists are good at what they do, and no doubt are scoring points somehow that are causing Jewish dissatisfaction with the President regardless of the facts on the ground.  Just sayin'.

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