Obama and the Jews

May 12, 2008 Published under Israel, Mideast Negotiations, Palestine, United States

Ben Smith highlights some excerpts from an excellent article by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.

Smith explains about Obama:

He’s trying to do something hard, and unusual: Associate himself with a strong pro-Israel line, but also refuse to be associated with the hardest line on everything, calling settlements "unhelpful" and, elsewhere, distancing himself from a reflexive Likud line. This isn’t strange in terms of Israeli politics, say, or scholarship of the region; but it is in American politics.

Smith also excerpts some Obama statements from the Atlantic article, including these:

When I visited Ramallah, among a group of Palestinian students, one of the things that I said to those students was: “Look, I am sympathetic to you and the need for you guys to have a country that can function, but understand this: if you’re waiting for America to distance itself from Israel, you are delusional. Because my commitment, our commitment, to Israel’s security is non-negotiable.” I’ve said this in front of audiences where, if there were any doubts about my position, that’d be a place where you’d hear it.


The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I’m not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that’s the safest ground politically.
I want to solve the problem, and so my job in being a friend to Israel is partly to hold up a mirror and tell the truth and say if Israel is building settlements without any regard to the effects that this has on the peace process, then we’re going to be stuck in the same status quo that we’ve been stuck in for decades now, and that won’t lift that existential dread that David Grossman described….

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  1. Steve Kroll said:

    It is funny how Jews seem to continue to vote Democrat, given the anti-Israel record of the liberal members of the party. The number one group supporting Israel is Conservative Christians.

    I make the prediction that if Barack Obama becomes president, Israel will come under serious attacks. He criticized Hillary’s comment of wiping Iran off the face of the earth if they attack Israel. If he wouldn’t do the same, then doesn’t that make him a soft-liner on Israel’s sovereignty?

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