Obama, Cairo & Jerusalem

June 13th, 2009 at 12:57 pm David Frum | 4 Comments |

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My weekend National Post column parses the president’s Cairo speech for evidence of his intentions on Jerusalem and reaches this conclusion:

Characteristically, Obama is trying to find an intermediate position between two opposing points. But also characteristically, this intermediate position is not exactly in the middle. Obama will pressure Israel to surrender something it has — control over Jerusalem — in exchange for the Palestinians surrendering something they want. Similarly, the outcome the President appears to seek — internationalization of the central city — will likely be less favourable to Israel, since international bodies can be expected to show much greater deference to the sensibilities of their many Arab and Muslim members than to their sole and single Jewish member.

The President’s preference is not of course the last word. But it is a powerful word — and it presents Israel with another in the daunting series of challenges and dangers from this audacious President.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • danbmil99

    What I find amusing about this whole issue is the obvious fact that American Jews are glad Obama is saying what has to be said. In a strange paradox, Jews who live here seem paralyzed when it comes to criticizing Israel. They know in their hearts that settlements are just wrong, that the treatment of the Palestinians has been horrendous, and that compromise on Jerusalem is necessary. But they never speak up, I guess for fear of being labeled traitorous uncle toms or something like that.This might explain the strong Jewish showing for Obama in the election, despite the ‘warning signs’ from the uber pro-Israeli contingent of the neo-con right that he was going to be the toughest president on Israel since Carter.

  • joescannura

    but the question must be asked, what do Israeli Jews think?I can’t imagine that they are overwhelmingly supportive of Obama. Jonah Goldberg wrote something interesting yesterday about the whole “neo-con” thing. Is this code for conservative Jews, or Zionists? It is strange that this word has become an insult now, to the point of inspiring immense hatred. You can hear it from reverend wright, and you can hear it in the writings of the guy who shot up the holocaust museum.Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear power. it would be insane to think that they won’t try and and create nuclear weapons and give them to the terrorist groups they support, and there are many. Nobody who says they wish to see whole country’s wiped out can have nuclear power that will inevitably lead to the development of nuclear weapons. Not today. And people will say,well ahmidinejad is not the real powerful one, it’s the ayatollah’s. Well aren’t they just crazier?! Khomeini put a death sentence, to this day, on Rushdie for writing a book! Ahmidinejad is probably tame compared to this guy. Were heading towards a disaster.

  • mlindroo

    > But more politicized Muslims have insisted on a > different interpretation. For them, the farthest mosque > is a place on Earth: Jerusalem. For them, the story of > Isra is the theological origin of the Islamic claim to the > holy city of the Jews.[...] > President Obama made no analogous allusion to the > Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Oh, for HEAVEN’S SAKE … does any and every self-evident fact really have to be explicitly stated?????Everybody knows that there have been Jews in Jerusalem for a few thousand years, but no sane person would argue that the city does not have a long Muslim history as well (or Christian for that matter). In a region chock full of uncompromising religious fanatics, making sure historical Jerusalem belongs to everybody and nobody would seem to be decent compromise indeed. joescannura:: Jonah Goldberg wrote something interesting yesterday : about the whole “neo-con” thing. Is this code for : conservative Jews, or Zionists? It is strange that this : word has become an insult now, to the point of : inspiring immense hatred.I personally dislike neoconservatism for a very simple reason: its key movers and shakers were the main ideological force behind the Bush Administration’s discredited foreign policy, and the decision to invade Iraq in particular. 2001-05 was particularly bad although the heavy losses in 2006 combined with the emergence of more sensible officials such as Condoleeza Rice reduced the bellicose insanity a little bit.—REPUBLICANS ought to have a particularly good reason for despising the Bush Administration and the neonconservatives. Before the invasion of Iraq, foreign policy competence was one of the GOP’s strongest areas and perhaps the chief reason why Ruy Texeira’s “emerging Democratic majority” had not yet emerged. If Bush & co. had handled this well, it is entirely possible that the Republican party might still be holding on to power. MARCU$

  • ottovbvs

    The game has changed over the last ten years for several reasons but principally because the strategic balance is shifting against Israel. This is most visible in the emergence of Iran as a regional hegemon largely as a result of US incompetence and its imminent aquisition of nuclear weapons. This cannot be prevented, neither the US or Israel is going to start a major middle east war between a nation of 6 million and one of 75 million however much sundry conservative fruitcakes in the US would like to see such an event. Equally important in tipping the strategic balance is that the Arabs have learned how to if not defeat Israel at least hold it to a draw as they did in Lebanon and Gaza. Israel has also become diplomatically isolated in that the US remains her only international supporter. And that support has all of a sudden become equivocal because basically the US and even the American Jewish are not going to go to the stake to defend Israel over issues like continued occupation of the west bank, denial of two state solution, and settlements. Even within Israel itself the country is more or less equally divided over these issues. The Israelis know all this, although some of their more conservative supporters in the US don’t, which is why Netanyahu is shifting position. This won’t be the last shift.