ZOA: Obama Supports Strong U.S./Israel Relations – Doesn’t Criticize Palest. Failure to Negotiate/Accept Jewish State/Hamas/PA Unity/Palest. Jew-Hatred
September 23, 2011


Praises Obama for U.S. Delegation Walk-Out

on Ahmadinejad’s UN Talk






The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has noted appreciatively President Barack Obama’s remarks in his United Nations speech on the depth and strength of the U.S./Israeli relationship and his elaboration of the violent rejection and hatred that has been Israel’s lot since its establishment. The ZOA has also praised President Obama for the U.S. delegation’s walk-out on Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech. At the same time, it has expressed concern over President Obama’s failure to criticize the Palestinian Authority by name for its refusal to negotiate; to accept Israel as a Jewish state; to abrogate its unity government agreement with Hamas and to end its incitement to hatred and murder against Jews. President Obama seems unable to bring himself to blame the Palestinians for the break-down in any serious movement toward peace. It is also critical of President Obama’s failure to call for specific international action to compel Iran to relinquish its nuclear weapons’ program, which poses an existential threat to Israel and the U.S. (‘Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly,’ September 21, 2011).


In his address to the UN General Assembly, President Obama made the following points:


·         American commitment to Israel’s security unshakeable, friendship deep and enduring:  America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.” [ZOA: However, President Obama’s public demand that for the pre-1967 lines as a starting point for negotiations endangers Israel’s security, while his public “condemnation” of Israel building homes for Jews in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, while ignoring Arab construction in these areas belies his claims to close friendship].


·         Obama said, “We believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map.” [ZOA: However, President Obama did not condemn by name any of the countries or terrorist groups that attack Israel and promote these vicious policies. By failing to name them, he holds none of them to account].


·         Criticized Iran repression and nuclear weapons program: “In Iran, we’ve seen a government that refuses to recognize the rights of its own people …The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful. It has not met its obligations and it rejects offers that would provide it with peaceful nuclear power.” [ZOA: Despite these words of criticism, President Obama did not condemn Iran for calling for Israel’s destruction, nor did he outline any policy for stopping Iran’s march towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons].


·         Palestinians deserve a state: “One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own.” [ZOA: No they do not. Where the Palestinian leadership promotes terrorism and murder of Jews; refuses to arrest terrorists and outlaw terrorist groups; names schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killing terrorists; where it demands a state in which no Jews will be permitted to remain; where it forms alliances with terrorists that call for the worldwide murder of Jews, like Hamas; and while Palestinian culture has been molded to hatred so that 75% of Palestinians have been polled to favor the murder of Jews, it is clear that a Palestinian state would be a dangerous terrorist state as well as also a beggar state. There are other peoples deserving of statehood who do not seek to harm or deprive others of their state, like Tibetans and Kurds, but President Obama has not spoken out in favor of statehood for these peoples].



Regrettably, President Obama’s UN speech also suffered from some glaring and troubling omissions:


·         He said nothing about the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s repeated, explicit refusal to accept Israel as Jewish state, nor did he call upon it to do so.


·         He said nothing about the PA’s repeated, racist insistence – repeated by the PLO ambassador to the U.S. only last week – that any future Palestinian state must be Jew-free. This position has been publicly stated by the most senior PA officials, including Abbas (“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it … when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it”); and Saeb Erekat (“Nobody should agree to Israeli settlers remaining in the Palestinian [state]”).


·         He said nothing about the PA’s rejection of two extraordinary offers of statehood in 2000 and again in 2008.


·         He said nothing about the unaltered Fatah Constitution, which calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensible element in the struggle to attain that goal (Article 19), nor did he call for Fatah to rescind its emblem depicting Israel as ‘Palestine’ draped in an a Palestinian headdress, with a picture of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and a Kalashnikov rifle beside it.


·         He did not call upon the PA to repudiate its unity government agreement with Hamas, whose Charter calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the world-wide murder of Jews (Article 7).


·         He said nothing about Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration to Arab states that “If you want war [with Israel], and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor” and that “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel.”


·         He said nothing about continuing PA refusal to negotiate with Israel – to the contrary, he spoke of Palestinians being impatient for peace and statehood.


·         He said nothing about continuing PA incitement to hatred and murder against Israelis.


·         He did not condition continuing U.S. aid to the PA on its ending of incitement, refusing to negotiate and repudiating its unity government agreement with Hamas.


·         He did not call for the PA to revise its stationary, maps, atlases and textbooks that erase Israel’s existence, showing only ‘Palestine’ in its place.


·         He did not mention or criticize Abbas’ UN statehood bid, as Abbas himself has outlined in an May 16, 2011 op-ed in the New York Times, will not bring peace, because, “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”


·         He did not denounce the Palestinian UN statehood bid as a clear breach of the Oslo Accords, the Oslo II (1995) agreement specifically stipulating that that “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”


·         He did not name a single regime – Iran, Syria or any other country – for promoting hatred and vilification of Jews and Israel, even in the very act of noting that such hatred and vilification has been a constant since Israel came into existence.


·         He did not name a single group – whether Abbas’ Fatah, Hamas, Hizballah or any other organization – that attacks Israel with suicide bombs and rockets, even in the very act of noting that Israeli civilians have been subjected to such attacks.


·         He said nothing about Iran’s repeated calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, nor did he call for Iran to be expelled from the UN for contravening the UN Charter by calling for the destruction of Israel, a UN member state.


·         Nor did he outline any proposal to deal with Iran’s continuing nuclear weapons program, which poses an existential threat to Israel and the U.S. Worse, President Obama provided a number of false alibis to account for the Palestinian UN statehood bid:


·         He engaged in false moral equivalence, claiming that “There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long,” that “each side has legitimate aspirations,” and that “the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes” – when in fact, peace has been unobtainable solely because Palestinians do not accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and will not sign a peace agreement with it; refuse to negotiate or fulfill commitments to ending terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it.



President Obama also offered troubling, false rationalizations for the Palestinian UN statehood bid:


·         Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress … There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long.” [ZOA: By saying this, President Obama is implying that the lack of Palestinian statehood is due to something other than Palestinian refusal to negotiate, refusal to end terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds its and its refusal to accept Israel as Jewish state. It is precisely because the PA does not accept Israel as a Jewish state that it refuses to sign an agreement that encompasses ending all further claims against Israel and thus turned down two offers to this effect – President Clinton’s 2000 parameters and Ehud Olmert’s 2008 peace offer.]


·         … each side has legitimate aspirations — and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes.” [ZOA: It is untrue that Palestinians aspire to their own peaceful state alongside Israel; they aspire to a Palestinian state that replaces Israel. If they did not seek to replace Israel, they would not be arming and protecting terrorists; glorifying terrorists; inciting Palestinians to hatred and murder; denying Jewish history and connection to Jerusalem and the land of Israel; supporting international efforts to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel; refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state and refusing to negotiate. To say, as  President Obama did, that peace has eluded us because the two sides have failed to “stand in the other’s shoes” is an exercise in moral equivalence that falsely places the blame for the absence of peace on Israel as well and accordingly mitigates Palestinian responsibility].


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We appreciate President Obama’s words regarding the strength and enduring nature of the U.S./Israel relationship, but we cannot fail to be deeply concerned at the many vital, important things he did not say, as well as his false rationalizations for the Palestinian UN statehood bid. And of course, much of what he didn’t say – calling on Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state, end its unity government agreement with Hamas, cease incitement or face a cut in US aid – reflects simply the many vital things he has himself has failed to demand of Palestinians.


“Conversely, his condemning of Israel for Jewish construction projects in its own capital, his ignoring of Israel’s 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria by claiming that Israel had failed to make ‘bold gestures’ and past comparisons of the Palestinian predicament to Jews under Nazism and blacks under Apartheid add to a deeply troubling record on Israel.


“In short, President Obama’s words and even occasionally his actions may at times be positive, but they are not reflected in the totality of his deeds. For example, it is not possible to support Israel’s security needs while demanding the pre-1967 lines as a baseline for negotiations and giving the Palestinians a veto over Israel retaining anything beyond these lines. If a spouse declares deep love to his or her partner while treating them badly, of what good is their declaration of love?


“Unfortunately, President Obama’s UN speech simply underscores much that is flawed and troubling in his policy towards Israel.”


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