Posts Tagged ‘Bret Stephens’

Is President Obama Pro-Israel? Yes, According to AIPAC President Lee Rosenberg

June 7, 2011 Comments off

There have been a lot of arrows slung at President Obama in the last ten days from both sides of the political aisle.  But there is one person, a very unlikely person some would say, who actually lays out the facts about what Barack Obama has done for the State of Israel while he has been in office – the President of AIPAC, Lee Rosenberg (better known as “Rosy”).

It is very curious to me that the the media, members of Congress, and apparently many members of AIPAC have seemingly ignored Rosy’s very eloquent review of the President’s pro-Israel record:

  • Enhanced military co-operation between the two countries
  • Maintenance of aid to Israel at current levels of a little over $3B per year
  • Request for additional funding of $200M+ for the successful Iron Dome missile defense system
  • Obtaining international support for the most stringent sanctions on Iran to-date (which by the way, despite what many critics have been saying, may be beginning to work – although WSJ front page article on June 2 points to internal domestic political issues, implicitly it would seem that Ahmadinijad’s taking over the Oil Ministry is likely related to issues caused by both oil and financial sanctions)
  • Veto of UN resolution regarding settlements (albeit with alot of hesitation)

Despite this record, the President is being attacked from all sides for making explicit what has been the understood basis for negotiations by virtually everyone directly associated with the current peace process:  “1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps“.  Note: those words form a single phrase.  That was true listening to the speech as well as reading the transcript.  Anyone who claims that he suggested “1967 borders” alone, is simply being deceptive.  This deception is now being used to make Israel a partisan issue.  See Rep. Joe Walsh laughingly outrageous rant in the Daily Caller last week and Bret Stephens similar contentions in the Wall Street Journal.

The real problem is that this masked some actual new content in the speech.  Specifically, this paragraph was virtually ignored:

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

Note these very clear statements:

  1. Reaffirms Israel’s right to defend itself, i.e., not having to trust international or UN troops to provide defense
  2. Reaffirms Israel’s need to prevent weapon smuggling and to secure its borders
  3. Although he does call for “full” withdrawal of Israeli troops, it is within the context of a “phased” withdrawal, and for what I believe is the first time, calls for the Palestinian state to be “non-militarized”
  4. Recognizes that the security arrangements must be effective

These undeniably strong pro-Israel statements are loud and clear.  Why has everyone – Netanyahu, the US Congress, the press, and most importantly, a large portion of the American Jewish Community – ignored them?

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