Continued from The DNC melodrama: The day two-thirds wasn’t two-thirds
SAN DIEGO, September 9, 2012 — As a matter of fact, Debbie’s “truthful” analyses of Israel and American politics had already come up in a separate venue at this very same convention. During a training session for Jewish Democrats, the Florida congresswoman, herself Jewish, explained that Republicans “can’t get anywhere with our community on domestic issues” and therefore “do everything they can to lie and distort and mischaracterize this president’s stellar record on Israel.”
Then came the real zinger: “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”
This comment, reported by Michael Barone and Philip Klein in the Washington Examiner, was quite a powerful statement from the enthusiastic DNC chairwoman. Only one problem: Ambassador Oren denied making any such comment:
“I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel, Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”
Debbie wiggled away from her dilemma with a denial of her own, insisting that the Washington Examiner misquoted her. “That comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It’s not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me.”
However, the alleged “misquote” was recorded by Klein and released to the public. Her exact recorded words were, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”
That sounds remarkably like Klein’s original report. Caught with jam on her face, Wasserman Schultz still denies putting her hand in the jar. Add this to her “two-thirds” misstatement and we have reason to doubt everything else, including her promise about Obama’s desires for Israel.
In that vein, Politico offers a much different interpretation of Obama’s involvement with his party platform, namely that he had been aware of the deletions all along:
“While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue. Once that happened, the president directed his staff to change the language to include a reference to God and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital because, the campaign source said, the amended version is “consistent with the president’s own positions”(Politico, Sept 5, 2012)
Some might question Politico’s accuracy because of its exclusive source, but other reports from other outlets force us to at least consider the possibility that Politico is dead on accurate.
At first, The Weekly Standard got an explanation similar to the one from Wasserman Schultz from an Obama campaign advisor: “The president did want to make clear what his personal beliefs were because they were not in the original platform.” But when The Weekly Standard asked this same official to comment on White House spokesman Jay Carney’s refusal to commit to the Jerusalem issue back in July, the spokesman said, “The president has a personal view, but the president and the administration’s view as a matter of policy is ultimately that Jerusalem is a final status issue … It doesn’t make sense for a U.S. a president to impose his personal beliefs in a policy context. … But it’s important for him to make clear where he stands on these issues.”
The translation of this political gibberish is this: Obama does not want Jerusalem to be the capital, but Obama’s policy does want Jerusalem to be the capital. But Chairwoman Shultz already told us that the president personally believes that Jerusalem should be Israel’s capital. For that matter, the White House campaign official initially said the same thing and adjusted personal to policy only after being pressed.
Obama’s feelings about Jerusalem have surfaced on and off, not only through his campaign advisors and Press Secretary, but the State Department itself. In March, when asked to comment on whether Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel, State Department official Victoria Nuland said “Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations” (The Washington Free Beacon, March 28, 2012).
That may sound a little evasive, but in all fairness she did add more: “That’s all I have to say on this issue.”
In September of 2011, she finally had more to say. Nuland referred to the building of Jewish apartments in East Jerusalem as “counterproductive.” She was also “deeply disappointed by Israel’s decision on new settlement construction.”
“We consider this counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties, “ Nuland explained, “ and we have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could undermine trust, including in Jerusalem, and will continue to work with parties to try to resume direct negotiations” (Y Net News.com, Sept 27, 2011).
If Jerusalem is really recognized by Obama (or Obama’s policy for those who like to parse words) as Israel’s capital, why be concerned when Israel builds apartments in her own capital?
And what about the whole Hamas omission, which also relates to Israel? Obama didn’t even try to put that back in. Why not? Perhaps the Hamas deletion shouldn’t be too big of a surprise considering the amount of financial aid America continues to award those cut throats via Palestinians who elected Hamas as one of their ruling parties (along with Fatah). In fact, Palestinian Media Watch recently reported the intentions of a stronger connection between the two parties:
“A Palestinian Authority minister stated last month that Fatah and Hamas must unite in order to achieve the destruction of the state of Israel.”
Although the Bush administration also gave financial aid to the Palestinians, it is reasonable to ask why Obama has no concern about a new Democratic platform that removes mention of Israel’s sworn enemy, an enemy who promises her complete annihilation.
Meanwhile, let us not allow the whole song and dance about changed amendments to get our minds off the original platform topics in their own rites, since they say every bit as much about truth and falsehood. It is not yet clear why God was deleted but it is painfully apparent that Jerusalem got the white out because many Democratic delegates (and very likely, Obama himself) simply do not accept Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Such a position is not supported by facts or by honest friendship with Israel.
Jerusalem has been the capital city of Israel since the time of King David, one thousand years before Christ. Jerusalem’s conquerors have come and gone, but occupations by Babylonians, Romans, Muslims, Byzantines and Roman Catholics (to name only some) do not establish any moral disqualification of Jewish ownership. Neither is the city disputable simply because Arabs in the Holy Land changed their name to “Palestinians” in the 1960’s and then allowed some in their number to rewrite history by insisting Palestinians are the true indigenous people and that Jews have no ancient claim to the land.
Actually, Arabs came on the Jerusalem scene in 637 AD as a result of Muslim expansion. Jews and Arabs continued living there all the way up to the twentieth century when the United Nations offered a two-state solution (one Jewish, one Arab) that would share Jerusalem as the capital city. The Jews agreed to this partition. The Arabs did not. After several wars with surrounding Arab nations dedicated to liquidating Israel, the Israelis eventually took over all of Jerusalem in 1967. Inasmuch as the PLO charter does not even recognize Israel’s right to exist, Israel has zero reason to discuss any new partitioning of her capital.
It can be argued that to not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is to not recognize Israel, period. Israel views her legitimacy through the lens of her own history. If there are lessons to be learned from the 2012 platform debacle, one of them is that Obama should talk straight and speak his honest feelings about Israel so that our electorate, including a strong Jewish Democratic voting block, can make an informed decision in November. Don’t hold your breath. Still, it’s not too hard to add up the pieces and make an educated guess.
Which was worse? Removing Jerusalem and other important features from the platform in the first place? Lying about who initially wanted them removed? Trying to put some of them back in a railroaded undemocratic fashion? Compounding the lie with claims that the two-thirds majority was legitimate? Unfortunately for Obama, Shultz and their associates, the correct answer seems to be E: All of the above.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net
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