Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Obama the Jew

Excerpts from the astounding interview of Jeffrey Goldberg by Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf and even Obama's daughters would be astonished:

--- my comments at end:

JG:-  "I probably share a lot of his analysis of Israel’s core dilemmas. To put it crudely, the basic split on Obama is this: Is he destroying Israel, or is Israel destroying Israel? I go more with the latter than the former at the moment. If you believe the former, you despise him. If you believe the latter, you can’t quite believe that a) Israel’s government is carrying out policies that will eventually lead to the country’s dissolution, or wholesale isolation; and b) that more Israelis don’t understand that an African-American president who speaks feelingly about the moral necessity of Zionism is a friend, not a foe." 

..."He also spoke of his feelings for Israel as a personal matter. Again, it is clear criticism he has gotten for his handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship stings him. And much of it is unfair, I think, given the role the Israeli government has played in all this."

..."Netanyahu, and Sheldon Adelson, have been engaged in a clear attempt to convince Israelis, and American Jews, that the Democrats are not their friends. This is both factually wrong and stunningly shortsighted."

Obama’s impatience with Israel, and his dislike of Netanyahu, is rooted in the fact that he is a very specific kind of Jew – an intellectual, Upper West Side, social action-oriented, anguished-about-Israel liberal values Jew. This happens to be a common American Jewish archetype, more common, in fact, than the Sheldon Adelson archetype." 

If current trends continue, a civil war is coming. It will be a very civil, civil war, but it will be a civil war nonetheless, between an American Jewry that has been nurtured on the values of the Civil Rights Movement, and an Israeli Jewry that has been taught, harshly, that the Middle East is not a place of mercy. Many American Jews are probably too rosy in their understanding of the possibilities of peace and reconciliation; many Israelis, particularly those who believe that the settlement project on the West Bank is a moral success, rather than a disaster of epic proportions, don’t understand that their country is slowly growing unrecognizable to American Jews, and to would-be members of the tribe — including the one in the Oval Office — as well. 

Q.   Do you believe that U.S.-Middle East policy during the Obama years has been successful? If so, by what metric? If not, where do you think the greatest damage has been done?...These are societies struggling with modernity, torn apart by major factions seeking to cling to old, outmoded, failed, and inequitable ways. Inroads of 21st century progress — whether in some Gulf States or Israel — are often seen as threats in that respect. And many of the governments have failed altogether at governance. Having said all that, America’s relations with virtually every ally we have in the region are worse now than they were six years ago. Virtually every country is at war (except Oman). Our interventions are for naught. Terrorism is a bigger problem than ever — there are more terrorists, more attacks, more casualties, and the terrorist groups are spreading in new and more threatening ways. U.S. interests in the region — from the security of our allies to the potential threats emerging to Americans and America to our influence to our access to oil — are all in worse shape than six years ago. So, how’s Obama doing? How are the president’s views jibing with reality? Is he in your view learning?

JG   ...President Obama, as I have argued, wants to be understood as a philo-Semitic, pro-Israel president, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still sensible enough to know that further gratuitous provocation of the American president (and his party) doesn’t serve his country’s interests. (Whether the people around Netanyahu know this is another question.) But anything can happen. Israel could put forward an assertive new settlement plan that causes Obama to see red, for instance...

...If the question is: Who better understands Israel’s existential dilemma, Benjamin Netanyahu or Barack Obama, I would have to give Obama quite a bit of credit here. Last year, in an interview I conducted with Obama, he wondered aloud about the absence of an alternative to a two-state solution. “[N]obody has provided me with a clear picture of how this works in the absence of a peace deal,” he said — the “this” referring to the goal of maintaining Israel as a Jewish democracy. “If that’s the case…if there’s something you know you have to do, even if it’s difficult or unpleasant, you might as well just go ahead and do it, because waiting isn’t going to help. When I have a conversation with Bibi, that’s the essence of my conversation: If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who? How does this get resolved?”

Netanyahu is correct to note that the region is in turmoil and that the Palestinian polity is weak. But this shouldn’t stop him from creating conditions on the ground — the removal of far-flung settlements, for instance — that could give hope to moderate Palestinians by showing that the Israelis are committed to eventually allowing them to create a state. What Obama sees — and what frustrates him (and a large number of American Jews) — is an Israel that is burying its head in the sand. There is still time to arrange the birth of a Palestinian state in an orderly fashion, in a manner that allows the Israelis to set many of the security terms of this new state’s creation. No good can come of this continued waiting. There is a tipping point ahead — one day soon, Israel will be defined across most of the world as an apartheid state, unless it steps away from the status quo. So, to the question of whether Obama doesn’t understand Middle East reality, I would answer that, in the case of Israel, he is grappling with some of the core challenges to its existence, challenges Netanyahu is avoiding.  This is not to say that the Obama administration hasn’t made mistakes in its management of the Israel file or that the president has a sufficiently cynical, or realistic, view of the nature of those who oppose Israel’s existence. As a hyper-rational person, he doesn’t seem to fully understand — as was on display in my latest interview with him — that anti-Semites actually believe the dangerous and idiotic things they say.

Is Obama "Jewish"?  Is Goldberg?  What type of argument or context is this?  Is Goldberg insane?  This is but the dilution of Jewishness.

At least Goldberg published Yossi Kuperwasser's contra to Obama at The Atlantic.


President Obama’s anger toward Netanyahu is misplaced, especially given his extraordinary lack of criticism of Palestinians for far more egregious behavior. The Palestinians, after all, are the ones who refused to accept the president’s formula for extending the peace negotiations...Rather than recognizing how fundamentally different Palestinian political culture is, the president offered slogans about how Palestinian youth are just like any other in the world. This is a classic example of the mirror-imaging—the projection of his own values onto another culture—that has plagued most of his foreign policy...So why does Obama pick on Netanyahu and not on Abbas? The most likely reason is directly related to a conflict in the West between two schools of thought, both dedicated to defending democratic and Judeo-Christian values: Optimism and realism. Obama is a remarkable proponent for the optimist approach—he fundamentally believes in human decency, and therefore in dialogue and engagement as the best way to overcome conflict. He is also motivated by guilt over the West’s collective sins, which led, he believes, to the current impoverishment of Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. He believes that humility and concessions can salve the wound, and Islamists can be convinced to accept a global civil society. “If we’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us,” Obama thinks.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, is a realist. Due in part to Israel’s tumultuous neighborhood, he has a much more skeptical attitude of Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian President Rouhani’s government. Netanyahu does not see these groups as potential moderates, willing to play by the international community’s rules; instead, he acknowledges their radicalism, and their intent to undermine a world order they consider a humiliating insult to Islam...The prime minister’s insistence on the dangers of the optimist approach threatens to expose the inherent weakness of Obama’s worldview and challenge the president’s assumption that his policy necessarily leads to the best possible solutions. For Netanyahu and almost everybody in Israel, as well as pragmatic Arabs, the president’s readiness to assume responsibility for Iran’s future nuclear weapons, as he told Jeffrey Goldberg, is no comfort. The realists are not playing a blame game; they are trying to save their lives and their civilization. To those who face an existential threat, Obama’s argument sounds appalling...Does it make sense for Israel—in the face of an aggressive Iran, the rise of Islamic terror organizations across the Middle East, and the fragmentation of Arab states—to deliver strategic areas to the fragile and corrupt PA, just to see them fall to extremists?

Should Israel at this moment aid in the creation of a Palestinian state, half of which is already controlled by extremists who last summer rained down thousands of rockets on Israel, while its leaders urge their people to reject Israel as the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people? Should it aid a movement that follows these five pillars: 1) There is no such thing as the Jewish people; 2) The Jews have no history of sovereignty in the land of Israel, so the Jewish state’s demise is inevitable and justified; 3) The struggle against Israel by all means is legitimate, and the means should be based simply on cost-benefit analysis; 4) The Jews in general, and Zionists in particular, are the worst creatures ever created; And 5) because the Palestinians are victims, they should not be held responsible or accountable for any obstacles they may throw up to peace?...

...while Obama and the optimists offer their critiques, Netanyahu and the realists will be on the ground, living with the consequences the optimists have wrought.


In Obama's interview with Ilana Dayan, he said this:

...[Netanyahu's] statements have suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state, but it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met any time in the near future.  And so the danger here is that Israel as a whole loses credibility. 

But why?  If he is legtimately concerned about Israel's future, he can't make caveats?   And why not come down on the Pal. Authority?

And on Iran, he said there:

everybody said, this isn’t going to work.  They’re going to cheat.  They’re not going to abide by it. And yet, over a year and a half later, we know that they have abided by the letter of it.

Really????   The NYTimes doesn't think so.  And more here:

Iran’s Stock of Less than Five Percent Low Enriched UraniumJune 2015 UpdateBy David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini

From January 20, 2014 and into May 2015 Iran produced about 4,000 kilograms of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) hexafluoride. Under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), Iran has committed to convert all newly produced 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride into oxide form. As of May 2015, it has fed a total of 2,720 kilograms of this type of LEU into the conversion process at the Enriched UO2 Powder Plant (EUPP) and produced only about 150 kilograms of LEU dioxide. It has not fed any LEU hexafluoride into the plant since November 2014. Thus, Iran has fallen behind in its pledge to convert its newly produced LEU hexafluoride into oxide form. There are legitimate questions about whether Iran can produce all the requisite LEU oxide...By the end of June, in order to meet its commitment under the JPA, Iran must finish converting the 2,720 kg of LEU into oxide and introduce into the EUPP, and convert into oxide, 1,106 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride produced over the last several months (plus the few hundred kilograms of LEU to be produced in late May and June 2015). Thus, Iran hasclearly fallen behind in its pledge under the JPA.

And there also was this:

I will tell you this.  When I’m with Bibi, we have good conversations.  They’re tough, they’re forceful, we disagree, but I enjoy jousting with him, I do.

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