Obama’s Cluelessness on Israel in Indonesia Speech

Richard Silverstein on his site, Tukan Olam ('make the world a better place'), posted this evaluation of Obama's remarks on Israel's colonialism of Palestine during his Indonesia visit:

I’ve just been reading coverage and an excerpted video of Obama’s Indonesia speech (full text).  I’m reminded of how brilliant he is as a strategist, theorist, and speechmaker (when before have you ever heard a U.S. president with the moxie to end a speech with the words “Asalaam Aleikum?”) and how woeful he is as a tactician.  He knows where we need to go, he has a vision of what the future should look like in the Middle East, but he hasn’t a clue how to get there.  And that will be the death of U.S. policy for the region.

Pres. Obama is actually delivering a speech to Indonesia’s Muslims in which he is attempting to sell them on the fact that he is confident that the U.S. can make headway and bring peace to the region.  This flies in the face of Israel’s announcement that it will build 800 new housing units in East Jerusalem along with 200 more on the West Bank.  Further, Bibi Netanyahu, speaking defiantly at the annual GA conference told off the Administration, saying Israel has never and would never agree to a settlement freeze in Jerusalem.  In other words, he told Obama you can take your pretty words about our building efforts as “not being helpful” and shove it.  That’s really what he said when you come right down to it.

So if you’re Barack Obama, what do you do?  Do you keep making pretty speeches in Muslim capitals or do get down in the trenches and fight for what you believe in.  Here’s what you shouldn’t say because it makes you look feeble:

And that's just what Obama said.

Let me at least correct those figures: that was 1,300 housing units in East Jerusalem, and 800 new units in Ariel, an Israeli city located deep in the West Bank, whose development, it is believed, is intended to make it impossible for there to ever be a contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state.

As for Obama's mild rebuke of Netanyahu, Silverstein said: "It will take someone with a lot more moxie than Barack Obama to get a peace agreement out of the Israelis." And that's the problem.

Read the full article here: http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/11/09/obamas-cluelessness-on-israel-in-indonesia-speech/


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