Blindsiding Israel

In his speech last week, he continued a long and unsavory tradition of many American liberals by implying moral equivalence between the Israeli government and the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

One has to question whether the belief in this moral equivalence influenced the president’s demand for Israel to revert to its pre-1967 lines.  President Obama’s vague language regarding “swaps” of land fails to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty over its own country and its own capital, Jerusalem.

While the president chose not to discuss what swaps would be made, he asserted that a Palestinian state would need to be contiguous and border Egypt, Israel and Jordan. The only way to create a contiguous Palestinian state is to connect Gaza with the West Bank. This move would effectively divide Israel. Thus, President Obama believes in a contiguous Palestine, but not a contiguous Israel. 

Successive administrations have, with varying degrees of success, continued to push Israel to make more and more concessions. At what point do we acknowledge that Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinian government are always going to be at Israel’s expense because the Palestinian government is not a legitimate actor in the peace process? The Palestinian leaders yearn for Israel’s annihilation and the death of as many Jewish people as possible.

Hamas is not and will never be a partner in peace. It is by no means realistic to think that Hamas will accede, in the president’s own words, to “the responsibilities of peace.” They serve at the behest of the Iranian regime who views Israel’s very existence as illegitimate. 

The president had an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the U.S. is not only a friend to Israel but also a champion of its continued existence in the midst of historically hostile territory. He missed the opportunity and instead advocated a position that would fundamentally weaken Israel. 

Any future agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority must require recognition of Israel’s right to exist and to exist in such a way that ensures the security and success of Israel. But any fruitful agreement will not originate from a flawed process in which the U.S. continues to tacitly and overtly reward the bad behavior of the Palestinian leadership. 

The president’s call for Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders, in the absence of an agreement between the two parties, is not only strategically indefensible for our vital ally, but morally indefensible for the Administration. It is not a reality that friends of Israel can or should accept. America must demonstrate to Israel and the Jewish people true friendship by refusing to pressure Israel to make itself even more vulnerable to terrorist attacks on its soil.

More in Foreign Policy

After Iran, bringing bipartisanship back to pro-Israel advocacy

Read more »