Thursday, May 26, 2011

Major Democratic donor criticizes (and will not contribute to) Obama over Israel

As the neocon Commentary (or is it Dysentery?) is (gleefully) reporting, Haim Saban, a major Democratic donor, "has indicated that he will not contribute to President Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, because of the administration's stance on Israel":

"President Obama has raised so much money and will raise so much money through the Internet, more than anybody before him. And he frankly doesn't, I believe, need any of my donations," said Saban.

"I'm very perplexed as to why the president, who's been to Cairo, to Saudi Arabia, to Turkey, has not made a stop in Israel and spoken to the Israeli people," he continued. "I believe that the president can clarify to the Israeli people what his positions are on Israel and calm them down. Because they are not calm right now."

He's probably right that Obama doesn't need his financial support, but what does he object to, that Obama hasn't visited Israel? Okay, fine, he should go to Israel sometime, but the real issue is that Obama refuses to play along with the right-wing pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., that is, to kowtow before Netanyahu and Likud, and their American allies, who seek "peace" only on terms that penalize the Palestinians and otherwise keep them in a state of submission before an enlarged Israeli state that keeps the land it has come to occupy.

Again, all the president said in his speech last week was that Israel's pre-1967 borders should be taken as a starting point for negotiations. That's it, but it was enough to enrage Netanyahu and others on the right and to turn Congress into a bunch of shameless weaklings applauding Israel's, and the Israeli lobby's, demands.

Obama deserves criticism, perhaps, for not doing enough to work for a settled peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but his position is clearly aimed at securing such a peace by acknowledging that concessions are required on both sides. Of course, Netanyahu and his allies, both in Israel and the U.S., refuse to make any concessions, or at least the sort of concessions that could actually bring about peace, which is why they are obstacles to peace regardless of whatever dishonest rhetoric they may spew.

If there is to be any progress in the region, and any long-term security for Israel, it is essential that extremist ideology of all kind be rejected in favour of a more realistic understanding of what it may take to reach a compromise that, while not necessarily perfect, will be acceptable for the most part to both sides. It's too bad Saban doesn't seem to get that.

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  • Attacks and insults instead of cogent arguments, which I will offer. What have the Palestinians done to enhance peace - going around the world delegitimizing Israel and honoring terrorists who have killed hundreds of Israelis at home? Netanyahu has offered to negotiate under Obama's pressure, but Abbas wont show up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:09 PM  

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