In London, Obama changes tone, stance on Israel

President Barrack Obama used his London press conference today to rewrite his politically damaging speeches on the Arab-Israeli stand-off by raising his emphasis on the need for Arabs to recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s existence.

“Hamas… has not renounced violence and has not recognized the state of Israel,” he told reporters this morning at a joint-press conference with the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. ”Until they do, it is very difficult to expect the Israelis to have a serious conversation, because ultimately they have to have confidence that the Palestinian state is going to stick to whatever bargain is struck,” he said.

The president also sidelined the related demand by Arabs that the million-plus descendants of Arabs who fled amid the multi-national Arab attack on Israel in 1948 should have a “right of return” to their ancestors’ abandoned property in Israel. Israelis and the Arabs can “have a difficult conversation about refugees … [but] that is not something any party on the outside is going to be able to impose,” he said.

The press statement was a sharp reversal in tone from the president’s May 19 statement of Middle East policy, and his May 22 speech at the American Israel Political Action Committee’s annual meeting in Washington D.C.

Both speeches aroused strong opposition from Israel’s backers — including many GOP legislators and social-conservative activists — and from many influential pro-Israel advocates within the Democratic Party. The opposition was demonstrated May 25, when legislators repeatedly applauded Israeli’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as he repeatedly countered Obama’s policy in a speech to the Senate and House of Representatives. The pushback from Israel’s supporters in the Jewish community has also prompted top-level Democratic politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to distance themselves from Obama’s policy statements.

The words ‘recognition’ and ‘refugee’ did not appear in President Obama’s AIPAC speech, even though they’re central elements of the Arabs’ refusal to accept the return of a Jewish-led state on territory captured by a Muslim Arab army more than 1,300 years ago.

Obama’s May 19 speech did refer to the disagreement over recognition, but put far more emphasis on his call for the Israelis to first accept a border that roughly matches the ceasefire line that lasted from 1948 to 1967, even before Israel’s Arab enemies concede on the more fundamental disputes over recognition and refugees, and control over Jerusalem.

“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… moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues [of recognition and Jerusalem] in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians,” he said in the controversial May 19 speech.

  • T2

    what an a$$hat – hasn’t he weakened and embarrassed this country enough already?

  • MDABE80

    This is a tactic so he can quote both sides of the argument ….and claim each as his own as he tries tl be re-elected. He’s a fraud, a mealey mouthed Democrat. I hope the world doesn’t give him cover on this.
    Such a transparent tactic… He is the most arrogant person we’ve seen in a while. Also thee most incompetent liar ever to be president.

  • Ira

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barak Obama’s played good cop, bad cop.

    Right after Obama made his reformed statement on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Cameron jumped in and said,

    “Thank you. I described the President’s speech as bold and visionary because I think it did an absolutely vital thing, which was to talk about ’67 borders with land swaps. So as the President said, if you think about what both sides absolutely need to know to start this process, those two things are in place.

    “First, that the Israelis need to know that America and her allies like Britain will always stand up for Israel’s right to exist, right to defend herself, right to secure borders. That is absolutely vital that the Israelis know that their security is absolutely key to us. They need to know that.

    “But the second thing that needs to be done is the Palestinians need to know that we understand their need for dignity and for a Palestinian state, using the ’67 borders as land swaps as the start point. That is I think what is so key to the speech that’s been made. So neither side now has I believe the excuse to stand aside from talks.

    “On the specific issue of U.N. recognition, the President is entirely right that in the end the Palestinian state will only come about if the Palestinians and the Israelis can agree to it coming about. That is the vital process that has to take place.

    “As for Britain, we don’t believe the time for making a decision about the U.N. resolution — there isn’t even one there at the moment — is right yet. We want to discuss this within the European Union and try and maximize the leverage and pressure that the European Union can bring, frankly, on both sides to get this vital process moving.”


    Note that Cameron mentioned the ’67 borders TWICE.


    Did one of Obama’s “experts” on the Middle East finally tell him that Hamas and the Palestine “government” are one and the same? Maybe the Queen whispered it in his ear so she could get another Ipod from him.

  • aspirin

    2012 will be such an important year for the US. Obama must be defeated.

  • Leah In Alabama

    Two speeches were given this week. They were the words of a true Statesman, a man with humbled respect for America and a dignity in his own right; sadly the man making those speeches was not the President of the United States, the man was not even an American. Barack Obama may have changed his tune in London to ear bang the people there, but his words were already loud and clear for many of us here. Sorry but on that subject there are no do overs.

  • SCGirl

    Wait a few more days for the polls to catch up with the latest speech regarding Israel/Palestine…we will have yet another correction in position. Astounding to see the maneuvers he is attempting now that he understands that the Jewish community isn’t going to come across and pony-up financing for his re-election and there is a really good possibility that they won’t vote for him either.

    How embarrasing to watch. It is like an old “I Love Lucy” show where you know Lucy is doing something absolutely stupid and you are just squirming watching her do it.

    • jjsmithers

      Even Lucy would have stopped blathering on with a toast when the British national anthem started to be played. Obama only stopped because he finished the toast. He had no idea what that music was– Must have asked himself, “Why are they playing “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” while I am talking ?”

  • curmudgeon

    It is embarrassing for the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world to be schooled by the Prime Minister of a nation as isolated as Israel.

    Obama’s foreign policy is not the Amateur Hour, it is the Amateur Four Years!

  • Head Goon

    What absolutely amazes me is why the Jewish people in the US vote for this guy who has really done nothing in life but go to school and be a community organizer in Chicago. I do not think Obama has any interest in the welfare of Israel or the Jews either. But….the Jews keep voting for him. I have asked some of my Jewish friends why this is so. They think it has to do with the Jews always being the underdog and that they view Obama, blacks and Democrats as underdogs. If anyone has some good ideas on this I would like to hear about them.

  • JoeJ

    Grovel grovel grovel — this has to be the lowest point in American history.

    The great American experiment on its knees to a shitty little nation of greedy squatters.