Sunday, March 4, 2012

President Obama, President Peres at AIPAC: U.S. and Israel share common visions in Mid-East

Speaking at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) annual conference speakers U.S. President Barak Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres reiterated their message that the U.S. and Israel share views and goals not only on Iran but on peace in the Middle-East between Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking on the U.S. and Iran, President Peres , who received a lifetime achievement award from AIPAC, had this to say:

"President Obama made it clear that the U.S. will not permit Iran to become nuclear," Peres said, adding that Obama has also made it clear that "all options are on the table".

Then going on to talk about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel Peres had this comment:

"Mr. President, I know your commitment to Israel is deep and profound," Peres said. "Under your leadership, security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel has reached its highest level (vb1 emphasis).. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a friend in the White House. He reflects the values that make American great and make Israel secure. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people."

According to a recent Jerusalem Post poll, the Israeli people seem to agree with him as they (like their diaspora Jewish brothers and sisters here in the U.S.) favor President Obama over ALL of his Republican challengers.

President Obama

Obama - AP - May 22, 2011

speaking right after President Peres added the following:

"We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically," Obama said in an address at the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC's policy conference in Washington. "Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say."         

"That includes all elements of American power. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency."

Unlike his Rightwing opponents though both here in the U.S.and in Israel the President urged caution and responsible action:

"Already, there is too much loose talk of war," Obama said. "Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick."

Again, even the Israeli public agrees with President Obama as ONLY 19% of them favor a strike on the Iran happening without U.S. backing.     

As for the Presidents messages of Peace and the Two State Solution, President Peres had this to say:
         
"The Palestinians are our neighbors for life," Peres said. "Peace can and must be achieved. A peace based on a two-state solution, a Jewish state - Israel, and an Arab state - Palestine."

"We want to preserve an Israel that is Jewish, democratic and attractive. I meet from time to time with President Abbas and PM [Salam] Fayyad. They need and want peace. I believe that peace is possible. They are our partners for peace. Not Hamas."

Apparently President Peres did not get the memo from Republicans, ODS'ers. Israeli Rightists and U.S. ChickenHawk bloggers that the P.A. will not make Peace with Israel. Now, in fairness to that group (although g-d knows, they don't deserve it) the Palestinian Authority IS making peace negotiations difficult with their insistence on the full return of East Jerusalem and their refusal to curb the rampant anti-Semitism in their ranks, NOT to mention their continued efforts to bring Hamas into their government. Yet, so far the attempts to bring in Hamas have resulted in failure and the P.A. has still admitted it's willingness to go to the table and hammer out a Peace deal.

In this passage though I think President Obama "nails it" (so to speak):

"I make no apologies for pursuing peace. Israel’s own leaders understand the necessity of peace," Obama said. "Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, Defense Minister [Ehud] Barak, and President Peres – each of them have called for two states, a secure Israel that lives side by side with an independent Palestinian state."

"I believe that peace is profoundly in Israel’s security interest. The reality that Israel faces - from shifting demographics, to emerging technologies, to an extremely difficult international environment - demands a resolution of this issue. And I believe that peace with the Palestinians is consistent with Israel’s founding values - because of our shared belief in self-determination; and because Israel’s place as a Jewish and democratic state must be protected."

YES! Exactly,  because it vital to protect Israel as a Jewish, and Democratic State. And as the great statesman Abba Eban and others have stated that Israel can only be Two of the Three following things:

1. Israel can be a Jewish State
2. Israel can be a Democratic State
3. Israel can be a State from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea

The President gets that in the long term interests of Israel - it must maintain it's Jewish character while recognizing that it's Palestinian neighbors also have the legitimate right to self determination.

Meanwhile, back in Israel, never one to be left out of the spotlight, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had told reporters that "Israel will decide independently whether to strike Iran". If that is the case (and it certainly is Israel's right to do that), then I guess that they will also decide if they want U.S. aid in that strike as well. Perhaps the Foreign Minister should listen to 81% of his people when they tell him... DON'T STRIKE W/OUT THE U.S.

Now the question hinges on what will PM Benyamin Netanyahu say. Further what will the meeting on March 5th (tomorrow) bring? We are in for a few very interesting days as the AIPAC conference continues along and Israeli and U.S. leaders meet.

One other important thing of note: In Iran today, President Ahmadinejhad has met with defeat at the polls. While the choice was between hard line candidates Ahmadinejhad's candidates were soundly defeated by those supporting the Grand Ayatollah Khameni. What does this mean for everyone else? Not a lot in the sense that the new group coming in are just as dedicated to Iranian Nuclear Power and regional hegemony as Ahmadinejhad HOWEVER, they are far more rational than the President who many in Iran consider a "loose cannon" (my words).

Also with relation to Iran - not only do their proxies in Hizbollah control the Lebanese/Israel Border but according to the Washington Post (as reported in Haaretz) there are Iranian advisors on the ground in Syria aiding in the slaughter of it's own citizens by Dictator Bashar Assad.

12 comments:

  1. Bibi, Barak and Peres on one side. Bill Kristol on the other side. I wonder who I should listen to? Hmmm... I think I'll have to go with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and President over some pundit with a political agenda who is not even a citizen of Israel (despite the claims of many antisemites). Yeah. That one is pretty obvious.

    Oh, and it certainly helps that he quoted one of my favorite presidents, Theodore Roosevelt. It's a not-too-subtle way of reminding the Iranian regime that if they do not shape up they do not have much time left in power, as I imagine beyond seeking a halt to the Iranian nuclear program, we would also seek to effect regime change if we decided to use the military option.

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    1. We have yet to hear from PM Netanyahu but I think it will be Obama, Barak, and Peres on one side. Bibi walking the line between them and the Republican establishment, F.M. Lieberman and then Kristol, the Chicken Hawk ODS'ers and Republicans, and the forces on the Israeli Hard Right.

      I would agree with you on your second paragraph but Regime change in Iran would be very difficult to affect. Thaat one has to come from the Iranians themselves and the Greens are really not that much better than the conservatives. What really needs to happen is that the Iranian attempts at regional power MUST be broken. With Hizbollah in Lebanon, and Assad winning in Syria (with the help of the Iranians), Israel now faces Iran on it's entire Northern border.

      The strategic implications of this once again all turn to Jordan (and by extension the Palestinians in the Center) and the Egyptians in the South. Right now the U.S. still has a strong hand in maintaining Egyptian compliance to the Peace (thanks to our handling of the transition from the Mubarak dictatorship) and Jordan is still on board. BUT, if the treaty in South goes bad and Jordan pulls out of it's agreement over increasing Israeli encroachment into the West Bank the situation changes radically.

      Now more than ever there needs to be U.S. and Israeli agreement and cooperation. Thank G-d we have a President who is dedicated to such a principle.

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  2. you have a typo: strike on the US --> strike on Iran.

    As much as some IDSers want to believe that Israel would strike the US, I think even they would recognize that as a typo.

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    1. Whoops - better fix that. Thanks for the heads up.

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    2. And as much as they dream of the opposite occurring...

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  3. Paul in San FranciscoMarch 4, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Well, the hypocrites with Israel Derangement Syndrome continually overlook that there are some other countries in the mix that desperately want to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Most prominently, Saudi Arabia. And while the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel is existential and genocidal, between Iran and the Saudis, it's all about who gets to swing the biggest dick around the Persian Gulf. At least Israel has the guts to be vocal about its concerns, and is willing to take action if necessary. The Saudis are too busy hiding behind their mommys' skirts, hoping Israel will do their dirty work for them, and all too ready to publicly criticize Israel when it does solve their problem. Fuck them.

    And while I'm at it, fuck the hypocrites who claim to be for adalah, which apparently means "justice," in the Middle East, but haven't said a word in several months about the wholesale massacre that the Syrian government has been unleashing on its citizens. I guess it's OK for Arabs to kill Arabs, in adalah-land. But then we all know that I'm mistranslating the term. "Adalah" doesn't mean "justice." It means "just us."

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  4. I question whether Grand Ayatollah Khameni is "far more rational."

    He has recently called Israel a "cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut," and that:

    "From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this."

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/khamenei-vows-to-fight-cancerous-tumour-israel-20120204-1qymh.html#ixzz1oBQUsVcz

    Further, the Iranian theocrats believe in a doctrine that establishes a duty for faithful Muslims to bring on the End Times and expedite the appearance of the Twelfth Imam. One recommended way to hasten this apocalypse is to cause widespread destruction in the world by whatever means available.

    Yes, that may be rational for them, but it is irrational to me, and more worrisome by far than the Christian apocalyptics.

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  5. I didn't say the Grand Ayatollah was rational... I just said he was more rational than Ahmadinejhad. That is a fairly low bar. But I will grant you that he is still pretty out there.

    I am glad that you are not concerned with the Hard Christian Right in this country, but I am. Given that I don't live in Iran and that I do live in the U.S. where the Hard Christian Right is trying to bring more "Jesus into government", right now... they are my bigger concern. I don't want them in power in 2012 or in any other year.

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  6. Then who were you referring to when you said "they are far more rational than the President" if it was not "those supporting the Grand Ayatollah Khameni?"

    As for what I said, I was talking about who constitutes a threat to Jews with their apocalyptic notions.

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  7. I was saying they were far more rational than the President... President Ahmadinejhad - how is that not clear from both the diary and the article? You did read my response to you - right?

    Okie dokie. Again this is not an article about who is worse for Jews, Christians or Muslims. Nor will I allow you to turn it into one.

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    1. Fine, but I was just reacting to what you said in the diary itself. Perhaps it would have been clearer if you had simply said that Ahmadinejhad was irrational, and the others less so, rather than that they are "far more rational." As you know, others have recently claimed they ARE rational, so it is not something pulled from out of the blue.

      What is the big deal anyway about a single comment that addresses a matter that WAS included in the diary's content? That does not constitute trying to turn this into anything, but was only an observation about content that was ambiguous regarding the matter I mentioned.

      FWIW

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    2. (livosh1)
      Oy . . . right-wing troll at it again . . .

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