What in the world is President Obama doing and thinking?
Is President Obama single-handedly writing the book on how to ensure that the Palestinians and Israelis do not make peace, or has he put together the worse group of advisors in U.S. history? Frankly, I'm baffled.
Despite a right-wing coalition and heartburn from his own Likud Party, Prime Minister Netanyahu has halted settlement construction for nine months, endorsed a two-state solution, released murderers of civilians, and most recently, indicated that he is willing to continue negotiations on the basis of Secretary of State Kerry's proposed framework, albeit with reservations.
On the other hand, President Abbas has reiterated that he will not accept Israel as a Jewish state, that he will not give up the "right-of-return" for millions of people who never lived in what is now Israel, and that he intends to stop negotiating once he gets the last of the murderers he wants released.
Yet, in a scenario strikingly similar to when President Obama ambushed Netanyahu on settlements several years ago and thereby destroyed any chances for progress on peace for quite some time, the President in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg once again laid all the burden and blame on Israel and Netanyahu just as the Prime Minister was on his way to meet with the President and address the annual AIPAC conference.
As David Horovitz, the Editor-in-Chief of The Times of Israel, made clear in an appropriately sardonic and pointed manner, it is one hell of a way to welcome an ally, to bolster confidence, and to provide the undergirding for making tough, life-or-death decisions.
If the President and his Administration are truly interested in a peace deal and not in just assigning blame if a deal does not happen, then it is simply unfathomable that this is the strategy they have come up with.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
by Alan Edelstein
I celebrated my birthday last week. With friends and family visiting from the U.S., it seemed more like an all-week affair rather than a one-day celebration. Out for jazz one evening, several evenings out for dinner and dessert, a walk through the Old City and some time at the Wall, an afternoon of wine tasting in the Jerusalem hills. All and all, a fun time and a nice reminder of the delights of contemporary Jerusalem and the surrounding area.
My birthday wish? Easy: I wish that Ministers Bennett and Yaalon and a few others would stop throwing personal barbs and insulting Secretary of State John Kerry, and I wish that Secretary Kerry would stop giving them every excuse possible to do so.
Bennett and Yaalon? They are just beyond any sense of respect and dignity when it comes to how one addresses the chief of foreign affairs, even one you might vigorously disagree with, of the greatest power on earth and the one country that Israel so critically depends on. Express your disagreements? Sure. Personally insult and make insinuations about motivations? Beyond stupid.
Kerry? Needs to take some courses in diplomacy and in psychology. Telling Israelis that they take the good life for granted, that they've grown complacent, that they don't know what is in store for them, that they are living in an illusion, is no way to influence or motivate them to take risks. One doesn't have to be a genius, or even Secretary of State, to know that.
Lately the Secretary has begun to resemble a low-level New Jersey gangster a la a James Cagney movie. He never says he is going to burn down the building, or blow-up the car, or, God-forbid, harm the kids, but he seems darn close to saying that we'll have what's coming to us if we don't cough up the dough by Friday:
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
by Alan Edelstein
Israel doesn't have SNL. It doesn't have Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. Sadly, it doesn't have Colbert. But, we've got something even better: We've got the Middle East, and it doesn't get any more entertaining than in our very own neighborhood. Think I'm kidding? Try these:
According to Hamas and its allies, Israel and Jews are evil incarnate, to blame for virtually every wound, even those self-inflicted, suffered by the Arab world. Hamas keeps calling for the Zionist entity's destruction.
Yet the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, who is often the first in line to declare how murderous and mean the Israelis are, apparently had no problem having his granddaughter transferred to the "Zionist entity" to be treated in an Israeli hospital for a life-threatening condition.
In a clear case of "babywashing," Israeli doctors attempted to treat the one-year old for an infection of her digestive system.
About two years ago Haniyeh's brother-in-law came to Israel for life-saving heart surgery. One wonders if the Haniyeh's health insurance has a provision that includes Zionist Entity/Occupier providers.
Given that the Hamas government regularly pressures the tens of thousands of Gazans who cross the border to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals (often at no cost) to not go, one wonders what the public would think if word got out that his family seems to make a habit of the Israeli health care system.
No worries there. No press reports in Gaza. The baby's father, Haniyeh's oldest son, did post on Facebook that the baby had "crossed the green line" to receive the treatment. That post came down fast. Not sure how many "friends" he still has.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
by Alan Edelstein
The garbage that is Jew-hatred is truly amazing. It seems to be everywhere these days, and if the consequences of not taking it seriously had not proven so tragic over the centuries, it might actually be amusing.
First up is CNN International. CNN International pretty much admits to being a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Arab world. Many of its broadcasts announce up front that they are "in cooperation with" a company based in an Arab country, an Arab country's tourism or trade development office, or with the country directly.
The content of the network's broadcasts confirms the bonds. The most glaring example is the weekly Marketplace Middle East program. Through this and other programs, CNN International focuses, or fixates, on the purportedly robust, free, creative, impressive, unbelievable businesses and business opportunities in the welcoming marketplace of the Middle East, particularly the Gulf States.
Somehow in all of the gushing regarding the Middle East's tremendous business environment, CNN International manages to completely ignore Israel. This, despite the fact that Israel has become a hotbed of technology, start-ups, IPO's, and the like. Think Waze and SodaStream. Multiply by a lot.
Just about every hi-tech firm imaginable has bought an Israeli start-up or two or three and/or opened R&D centers here. Think Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, and, just recently, Facebook. Multiply.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
by Alan Edelstein
(originally published in The Times of Israel)
There are about 14 million Jews in the world. My guess is that about nine or 10 million are not connected, not involved, or just otherwise busy, unless they are Israelis, in which case being Jewish means for most just living, paying taxes, working, raising kids, arguing about the country, and all the other mundane but important activities of daily life.
So, by my figuring, that leaves about four or five million who are connected in some way or another. For only four or five million people, we Jews seem to have more organizations, institutes, think tanks, museums, you-name-it, than anyone else in the world. It wouldn't surprise me if every connected Jew could have his or her own organization.
And we seem to study, think, discuss, and debate every angle of being Jewish that one can possibly imagine. Just when I thought we had done all that are possible, a new one has popped up. The latest craze in organizations and subjects is dedicated to discussing what you can discuss about Israel and still be "pro-Israel" or in "support" of Israel. That's right. We Jews have to have a debate about what it is we are debating.
My own hometown of Sacramento has gotten into the act. First, there was a program on "Civil Discourse." Reports that I received indicate that it was basically a session stacked with anti-Israel folks saying that we should include them in our community conversations and that we should be nice when talking with them.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
(Originally published in The Times of Israel)
Hi. I hope the family is doing well, given the circumstances. We're doing fine. The girls are growing into fine young ladies and Michelle, well, I'm sure you've seen those pictures of her in sleeveless dresses (is there any other kind?). She keeps pumping iron and sure has the results to show for it. I'm not bragging. Just sayin'.
I won't even ask how you are doing. I know this isn't easy. You have sure created a mess. I mean, really. This is not what we expected at all.
You went to medical school in England and became an opthamologist. My God, we all thought you wanted to keep people healthy. You married an upper-crust, refined woman raised in England, the product of the finest schools. She seemed so interested in keeping people healthy and happy. She bled on-screen for those poor kids of Gaza suffering at the boot of the Zionist entity. Ha, ha, I'm guessing Gaza is looking like Club Med to most Syrians these days.
So, we all thought you would never do what you're doing. I mean, take John Kerry. When old John was a senator, he spent more time meeting and eating and drinking with you than just about anybody else. I couldn't turn on the TV without him popping up coming out of a meeting with you and declaring what a reformer you are. Boy, those days sure seem like a long time ago now, don't they, Bashar?