The Right’s Nutty Reaction to Obama’s Middle East Speech

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

President Obama’s middle east speech contained this exact quote: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

So started the insanity. The fact that this has been the U.S. policy over several administrations seems to be lost on the outraged.

Even the NY Times is getting into the act. In one sentence they claim that “using the 1967 boundaries as the baseline for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute” is a first by an American president, and just two paragraphs later quote President George W. Bush using the phrase: “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,” another way of describing the 1967 boundaries. Those two statements, by Obama and Bush, convey the same concept.

In 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.

Where was the manufactured outrage then?

In 2008 President George W. Bush, on a middle east trip, said:

I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous.

In 2005 President George W. Bush, at a White House meeting, said:

Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to.

President Obama is following the same policies put forth by George W. Bush. To claim that Obama’s speech represents some departure from previous U.S. policy is absurd.

Andrew Sullivan notes the immediate hysteria and hypothesizes that “it was the Israelis who immediately got their US media mouthpieces to spin the speech as some sort of attack.”

Anonymous Liberal tweeted:

I never cease to be amazed by the right-wing’s ability to – in unison – decide that a previously uncontroversial position is now anathema

H/T: Kevin Drum, Walter Russell Reed (cool image at bottom), Jeffrey Goldberg, Charles Johnson.

32 thoughts on “The Right’s Nutty Reaction to Obama’s Middle East Speech”

  1. “Great American Patriots”

    For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ran to AIPAC to undercut (and rebuke) his own President and the leader of his own party on Israel, something that — as Andrew Sullivan correctly observed — would be inconceivable on any foreign policy issue other than Israel.

    In sum, the same faction that spent the last decade demanding fealty to the Commander-in-Chief in a Time of War upon pain of being accused of a lack of patriotism (or worse) now openly sides with a foreign leader over their own President. The U.S. Congress humiliates itself by expressing greater admiration for and loyalty to this foreign leader than their own country’s. And because this is all about Israel, few will find this spectacle strange, or at least will be willing to say so.

    (end excerpt)

    And there’s an update, for those who may have read this yesterday.

  2. Mr. Netanyahu’s comments are designed to satisfy the right wing of his party and to remind that upstart Pres. Obama that Israel can do what it wishes because it controls political debate in the United States on all matters relating to Israeli interests. Unfortunately, his take is largely correct. Several days ago I posted a comment on Huffington Post criticizing Israeli settlement policies as a form of imperialist expansionism. After it received a number of favorable responses, my comment disappeared, erased by an anonymous (of course) “moderator” as violative of HuffPost’s rules. I have had no response (of course) to my request for an explanation.

    It is time to remind Israel that friendship does not entail the toleration of intolerable policies. But it is virtually impossible to convey that message when policy determinations are controlled by a coalition of AIPAC and the Christian right. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

  3. What Benny and the Jets refuse to acknowledge is that they are a minority in their own country and, as the expand their country against the will and in the destruction of the majority, they are becoming an even smaller minority. This can not end well. It may have started with a Palestinian refusal to accept Israel but it is the wingnut faction of Isreal’s refusal to accept the reality that the end result will either be an country dominated by Muslims or an apartheid plagued world outcast that even the US can stand by that will be the death of the country.

  4. NAI-

    It is widely accepted in Israel that Netanyahoo is an inveterate liar.

    It was quite embarrassing to behold our Congressmen / women, and Senators, defying their rheumatism, jumping up and down their seats, clapping hands enthusiastically while knowing exactly who Netanyahoo is.

    But hey, after our Imperial President went to Canosa /AIPAC, hoping to fill up his coffers, those 550 infirms to fill up their coffers too, by faking enthusiasm in front of the cameras.

    Dis I mention that “the Medium is the message?”

  5. From last Nov. 11:

    A Joint Statement From Clinton And Netanyahu

    The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

    What a bald-faced liar Bibi is; and how pathetic that so many fell for his hissy fit yet again.

  6. Mike,

    I’ll accept your quibbles as stipulations. The Neocons are indeed corporatists who use fundamentalists to their own profit driven ends (as opposed to being “true believers”).

  7. “Netnayahu has no interest in peace is a huge part of the problem. His interests are solely in the neocon definition of victory. A victory which in no way allows for a Palestinian state.”


    I agree with the overall thrust of your statement, with some quibbles. Clearly Bibi does not want peace. He is driven by two political imperatives, that are not necessarily mutually inclusive. The first s the support of the Ultra-Orthodox, who want to annex all lands as fulfillment of what they think is Torah imperatives. This drives the settlement movement as an attempt to create a fait accompli and s supported by many Fundamentalist Christians who want to establish the conditions for the End Times.

    The second is that Bibi is a Corporatist and so is supported by the US Corporatists. While Corporate interests don’t necessarily
    include keeping the territories, the Fundamentalists help keep intact the coalition keeping Likud in power.

  8. President Obama reiterates his previous statement in Remarks by the President at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011

    Now, that is what I said. And it was my reference to the 1967 lines — with mutually agreed swaps — that received the lion’s share of the attention, including just now. And since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means.

    By definition, it means that the parties themselves -– Israelis and Palestinians -– will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. (Applause.) That’s what mutually agreed-upon swaps means. It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. (Applause.) It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people — (applause) — and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people — each state in joined self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. (Applause.)

    If there is a controversy, then, it’s not based in substance.

  9. It is obvious that Obama spake twice to AIPAC, with the expectation that they will fill up his coffers to finance the continuation of his failing presidency.

    As to the Israelis, they knew all along that they have to violate Biblical(1) and International laws and “establish facts on the ground.” Now, that they stole from the Palestinians the bulk of their lands, the have the khuzpah to claim that the “border settlement(s)” have to recognize the “new situation” where Jewish settlers (i.e. -squatters) and their need to have “territorial continuity” with mainland Israel.

    The UN’s General Assembly seems to be the only Body / Organization which indeed understood the perennial “foyle shticks” (foul tricks) of the Israelis, issuing almost annually, in the past 40 years resolution upon resolution demanding Israeli withdrawal from the occupied areas AFTER 1967.

    The US is now ripping what it sow by encouraging Israel, no, strike that, by assisting and abetting Israel to pillage the Palestinians for so many years. This open, pussy wound is the cause of US hatred in the Middle-East.

    (1)Hast thou killed and also taken possession?

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