Thursday, May 19, 2011

Israel, Obama and the NY Times

I’m nowhere near smart enough (nor stupid enough) to have real ideas on what should/could/might be done in the Middle East with the intractable Israeli/Palestinian problem.

What I write below is more about how this is being reported and interpreted already.
But first read these two paragraphs from today’s NY Times:

“His (Obama’s) decision to put the United States formally on record as supporting the 1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations over a Palestinian state marks a subtle (italics mine) — but, for the contentious Israeli-Palestinian peace process, potentially important — moved the United States a step closer to a position long held by the Palestinians. (Try to deconstruct that sentence?)

The shift is significant because it means America now explicitly (italics mine again)backs the view that new Israeli settlement construction outside those borders would have to be reversed — or compensated for by exchanges of territory — in talks over the formation of a new Palestinian state.“

I’d like to pick on a couple of words, that to me are hugely important in how used and that they were used at all.

I started out to read Obama’s speech but at more than 8 pages, well I do have a paying day job that beckons.

In graf #1 – it reads: “… marks a subtle …” Subtle? Asking Israel to give up a huge amount of settled land that provides a well-known buffer of at least perceived relative safety from neighboring countries, is subtle? Like a brick I guess. One that could easily be thrown. Based on the dangerously little I know, this is far from a “subtle” shift. I’m not aware of any President or Congress since 1967 that has ever suggested Israel give up land seized in the 6 Day War of 1967 when Israeli was attacked (was that mentioned anywhere today?)

Can we question the wisdom (or lack of) in some of Israel’s actions related to the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip? Of course. But to suggest that they give this up is far from subtle. My point here is not to debate what Israel should do but rather how they (NY Times) is already “spinning” this in a pro-Obama way.

Point or word #2 – “America now explicitly (italics mine) backs the view …” Which or what America? The White House? Congress? Voters? Jewish Americans? Just askin’.

I just read someone who said ‘America threw Israel under the bus.’ I tend to agree.

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