What Bill Clinton can teach Obama about the Israelis

  • Article by: Natan B. Sachs , Special to the Washington Post
  • Updated: November 24, 2012 - 12:15 PM

To make sure the Israeli government does not act on its own on Iran, Obama needs to gain the trust of the Israeli public.

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mruniverseNov. 24, 1212:33 PM

The "trust" or "love" of the Israeli public means nothing in reality for peace. First, if President Obama and Clinton has an issue with Netanyahu despite the massive assistance we give Israel, then there is a good chance that Netanyahu is to blame. Second, as for the Israeli public, a recent survey found that more than 65% of them have no problems with practicing Apartheid against the Palestinians. Third, George W. Bush blindly supported all Israeli policies (most of them going to wars too) and he earned the "trust" and the "love" of the Israeli public and leaders. The result is the same. Israel is going on with its destructive policies of settlements and Apartheid. The only thing that will work now is a meaningful and tangible steps to cut our aid to Israel and not impulsively veto any UN Security Council resolution condemning its Apartheid policies.

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pumiceNov. 24, 1212:56 PM

Aaron David Miller (advisor to both Republicans and Democrats on Arab-Israeli affairs) reinforces the point of this commentary: "Combined with a tendency to see the conflict through the more detached unemotional filter of American national interests, Obama doesn’t have [Bill Clinton's] instinctive emotional attachment to Israel." Miller's insight provides another reason for President Obama to nominate John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton at State. Senator Kerry's 19-year pro-Israel voting record in the US Senate--where he's recognized for efforts on behalf of Israeli security and for unwavering commitment to our most steadfast ally in the Middle East--is second to none.

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hobie2Nov. 24, 12 2:45 PM

If Obama should learn anything from Clinton's eastern Mediterranean policy, it should be to give financial aid to the Palestinians as Clinton did, and not cut back for any reason. The Palestinians are more of a lever for the "hearts and minds" of the Mideast than the Israelis will ever be... And in so doing, Clinton blunted terrorist group recruiting by giving enough funds DIRECTLY to the Palestinians so that even when Israel tried to create situations,, it was less likely to blow up - and attacks on the US backfired for terrorist recruiting... And Clinton treated Arafat as a head of state and let the Palestinians know it.. (When 911 hit, the Palestinians were out in the streets with candles and signs supporting the US - one of the very few Arab countries to do any such gesture. After Bush, I am betting they won't be out doing that again for a long while.)

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buskahNov. 24, 12 3:23 PM

@hobie2 "When 911 hit, the Palestinians were out in the streets with candles and signs supporting the US - one of the very few Arab countries to do any such gesture. After Bush, I am betting they won't be out doing that again for a long while." Actually I remember very clearly that on September 11, 2001 the Palestinians were dancing in the streets when the towers fell. I was horrified that a repressed people could be so jubilant over such a tragedy.

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roymercerNov. 24, 12 6:17 PM

"To make sure the Israeli government does not act on its own" is code language for American troops, American blood, and American money. Let's be abundantly clear.

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hobie2Nov. 25, 1210:12 AM

"Actually I remember very clearly that on September 11, 2001 the Palestinians were dancing in the streets when the towers fell."...Apparently the Strib censor has a problem with cites and quotes rebutting that video of the 40 Palestinian kids dancing and a handful of adults in front of the store that Fox played ad nauseum to "show the Palestinians sickening response to 9/11" - the total lack of people in the streets behind those "streets full of dancing demonstrators", the German TV reporters on the spot telling of the candy and cake handed out "for a happy photo shoot", or listened to the Arabic being spoken - the anti-Palestinian propagandists ignored that and the later film of the woman in the shoot and what she said...instead preferring to fuel the hate machine... I do clearly remember "the sea of candles" live shot taken of the Palestinians supporting American people on 9/11, a shot taken by press with no axe to grind either way - but then I rarely watch Fox propaganda - instead reading the international presses.

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hobie2Nov. 25, 1210:26 AM

" I was horrified that a repressed people could be so jubilant over such a tragedy."... You would be right to be, because it was a staged video, and you should be horrified that the media would use a staged video by people wanting to gain from 9/11, for their ratings... But for the sake of argument ONLY- let us not use a double standard - if the American Indians in South Dakota in the late 1800s winter in a US stockade with one blanket per family and no food were watching a TV showing Wall Street being bombed; or the dissidents, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jews, and other prisoners in the camps in World War Two were shown TV of the atomic bomb burning 100,000 Japanese alive; or US POWs cheering as the local towns in Romania were bombed; or any number of oppressed people who saw the allies of their oppressors being hurt - would you be horrified at them rejoicing? Of course not - That is why the sea of candles was so striking - they should have been dancing - they weren't.

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