Here we go.
I figure this is the only way to respond to this letter.
15 April 2010
Dear President Obama:
SO FAR SO GOOD.
I write today as a proud American and a proud Jew.
GO ON. I AM WITH YOU. I TOO LOVE BEING AMERICAN AND JEWISH (AND I LOVE ISRAEL!)
Jews around the world are concerned today. We are concerned about the nuclear ambitions of an Iranian regime that brags about its genocidal intentions against Israel. We are concerned that the Jewish state is being isolated and delegitimized.
I AM SO THERE.
Mr. President, we are concerned about the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.
The Israeli housing bureaucracy made a poorly timed announcement and your Administration branded it an “insult.”
FIRST MISTAKE. IT WAS NOT POORLY TIMED. IT WAS THE RESULT OF AN UNDISCIPLINED FOREIGN MINISTRY AT A TIME OF THE GREATEST HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE FOR ISRAEL AND ITS IMAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE. IT WAS AN INSULT. JOE BIDEN IS SUCH A PROVEN, DEEP FRIEND OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND ISRAEL. TO NOT SIMPLY ADMIT THAT AT THIS POINT IN THE LETTER IS SIMPLY WAY TOO DEFENSIVE AND UNBECOMING AN INTERNATIONALLY IMPORTANT ORGANIZATION LIKE THE WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS. JOE BIDEN WAS EMBARRASSED. ERGO: INSULT. ADMIT IT, RONALD. PLEASE.
This diplomatic faux pas was over the fourth stage of a seven stage planning permission process – a plan to build homes years from now in a Jewish area of Jerusalem that under any peace agreement would remain an integral part of Israel.
THIS IS CLASSIC HASBARAH (PROPAGANDA.) BUILDING IN JERUSALEM IS NOT SOME MUTUALLY AGREED UPON SET OF PRINCIPLES. IT IS A HIGHLY POLITICIZED, UNEVENLY APPLIED SET OF MUNICIPAL LAWS, BACKED UP BY A NATIONAL POLICY AND GENERALLY FUNDED BY IDEOLOGICALLY DRIVEN, RIGHT-WING DEMAGOGUES FROM THE UNITED STATES (IRVING MOSCOWITZ (PROFITS FROM CASINOS) AND SHELDON ADELSON (DITTO). IT REMAINS, FOR MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICAN JEWRY, AN EMBARRASSMENT AND A SHAME WHEN THEY ACTUALLY SEE THE FACTS ON THE GROUND. THE PARTICULAR HOUSING PROJECT ANNOUNCED DURING BIDEN'S VISIT WAS ONLY *PART* OF THE ISSUE WHILE THE PRINCIPLE REMAINS--A BLATANT SERIES OF LAND-GRABS TO PREVENT AN MEANINGFUL PALESTINIAN DEVELOPMENT IN EAST JERUSALEM. IT'S INSULTING TO MOST INTELLIGENT MINDS TO SAY SIMPLY, "OH, THIS IS STAGE 4 OF 7--WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?" VERY DISINGENUOUS. NOT APPRECIATED, RONALD.
Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.
THERE IS OBFUSCATION HERE. NEGOTIATION REFUSALS HAVE A LONG HISTORY AND IT EXTENDS IN BOTH DIRECTIONS. IS RONALD NAMING SPECIFIC LEADERS? SPECIFIC ATTEMPTS AT NEGOTIATION? DOES HE LACK THE EXACT INFORMATION? THESE ARE ATTEMPTS TO ACQUIRE RHETORICAL POINTS THROUGH NON-SPECIFIC GENERALIZATIONS BUT NOT PARTICULARLY HELPFUL. HAVING SAID THAT--IF PALESTINIANS WOULD STOP ACTING LIKE IDIOTS AND BLOWING THEMSELVES UP OR LAUNCHING ROCKETS FROM GAZA AND EMBRACING NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE, THEY LIKELY WOULD HAVE TOPPLED THE OCCUPATION LONG AGO.
Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history.
THINK "IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID." AS IN, IT'S THE OCCUPATION, STUPID. OR, IT'S NOT THE MORATORIUM STUPID. 43 YEARS SINCE THE SIX-DAY WAR. WHO CARES ABOUT MORATORIUM? RONALD--UPDATE.
Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
TRUE. AND MANY ISRAELIS REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE PALESTINE'S RIGHT TO EXIST. AND ABBAS AND FAYYAD ACCEPT A TWO-STATE SOLUTION. DRAW.
The conflict’s root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Every American President who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later. Recall President Clinton’s anguish when his peace proposals were bluntly rejected by the Palestinians in 2000. Settlements were not the key issue then.
RONALD, ON ONE HAND YOU ARE CORRECT. ON THE OTHER HAND, LET ME TELL YOU A STORY. ARIEL SHARON, BEFORE HIS STROKE, CAME TO THE REALIZATION, FROM THE HARD RIGHT (SIMILARLY TO YITZHAK RABIN) THAT CHANGING PALESTINIANS' MINDS WAS NO LONGER THE PRIORITY--PRESERVING ISRAEL'S DEMOGRAPHIC AND MORAL INTEGRITY WAS. TWO STATES MEANS WE CAN MAKE OURS BETTER AND BETTER EACH DAY AND IF *THEY* WANT TO FESTER AWAY IN DISILLUSIONMENT, THAT'S THE WAY THE AUTONOMOUS COOKIE CRUMBLES.
They are not the key issue now.
AND YET, THEY ARE. BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT A JEWISH REFUSAL TO COMPROMISE, PRECISELY WHAT YOU CRITICIZE AMONG PALESTINIANS.
Another important question is this: what is the Administration’s position on Israel’s borders in any final status agreement? Ambiguity on this matter has provoked a wave of rumors and anxiety. Can it be true that America is no longer committed to a final status agreement that provides defensible borders for Israel? Is a new course being charted that would leave Israel with the indefensible borders that invited invasion prior to 1967?
I THINK THAT THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS *NO*. IN FACT, I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY THIS WAS WRITTEN EXCEPT FROM A PLACE OF MISINFORMATION. WEIRD. I READ STUFF ALL OVER. WHO HAS INDICATED THIS?
There are significant moves from the Palestinian side to use those indefensible borders as the basis for a future unilateral declaration of independence. How would the United States respond to such a reckless course of action?
RECKLESS COURSE OF ACTION. I TRULY WONDER WHAT ISRAEL WOULD DO IN A SIMILAR POSITION. WOULD LAUDER ENTERTAIN A U.N. VOTE? SEEMS A FAIR QUESTION TO ASK. DID AMERICA ASK BRITAIN FOR PERMISSION? I MEAN, ON A CERTAIN LEVEL, AFTER 43 YEARS SINCE THE SIX-DAY WAR, WHAT MIGHT THE SOLUTION BE?
And what are America’s strategic ambitions in the broader Middle East? The Administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim world is well known. But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy? Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims? History is clear on the matter: appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended.
APPEASEMENT? THIS IS A VEILED REFERENCE TO VICHY FRANCE. LOW BLOW. ASKING IF FRICTION IS PART OF A STRATEGY IS FAIR, HOWEVER. ON ONE LEVEL, I AGREE WITH LAUDER BUT WE HAVE DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS. MIGHT OBAMA BE CALIBRATING BY SHOWING THE MUSLIIM WORLD THAT HE CAN *ATTEMPT* TO OR *POSITION HIMSELF* TO BE FAIR BY DEMONSTRATING THAT HE'S UNAFRAID TO CHALLENGE A SACRED ALLIED RELATIONSHIP? AND HERE'S WHERE OBAMA GETS TREATED UNFAIRLY. I REMAIN CONVINCED THAT HE IS PRO-ISRAEL--VERY PRO-ISRAEL--AND HE UNDERSTANDS ISRAEL'S DILEMMAS. HE IS MERELY SAYING THAT (AND HE MAY BE WRONG BUT HE MAY BE RIGHT) THAT THE TIME HAS COME TO MOVE TOWARD PEACE AND THAT IF ISRAEL (IN THE POWERFUL POSITION VIS A VIS PALESTINIANS) DOES NOT DO SO, IT IMPERILS ITS OWN WELL-BEING.
And what about the most dangerous player in the region? Shouldn’t the United States remain focused on the single biggest threat that confronts the world today? That threat is a nuclear armed Iran. Israel is not only America’s closest ally in the Middle East, it is the one most committed to this Administration’s declared aim of ensuring Iran does not get nuclear weapons.
OBAMA HAS SHOWN JUST THIS WEEK HIS WILLINGNESS TO BE TOUGH ON IRAN. MORE POWER TO HIM.
Mr. President, we embrace your sincerity in your quest to seek a lasting peace. But we urge you to take into consideration the concerns expressed above. Our great country and the tiny State of Israel have long shared the core values of freedom and democracy. It is a bond much treasured by the Jewish people. In that spirit I submit, most respectfully, that it is time to end our public feud with Israel and to confront the real challenges that we face together.
RONALD--IN THE END, WE AGREE!!!
Ronald S. Lauder
World Jewish Congress
and Shabbat Shalom to one and all!