Obamanauts ignore facts, defame dedicated former Mideast envoy

I’ve said that there are elements in the Obama Administration that are seriously hostile to Israel. Here’s one example, provided by Laura Rozen of politico.com (March 28):

“He [Dennis Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu’s coalition politics than to U.S. interests,” one U.S. official told POLITICO Saturday. “And he doesn’t seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this administration…”

Last week, during U.S.-Israeli negotiations while Netanyahu was in town and subsequent internal U.S. government meetings, the first official said, Ross “was always saying [sic] about how far Bibi could go and not go. So by his logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi’s coalition’s red lines.”

When the U.S. and Israel are seen to publicly diverge on an issue such as East Jerusalem construction, the official characterized Ross’s argument as: “the Arabs increase their demands … therefore we must rush to close gaps … no matter what the cost to our broader credibility…”

As to which argument best reflects the wishes of the president, the first official said, “As for POTUS, what happens in practice is that POTUS, rightly, gives broad direction. He doesn’t, and shouldn’t, get bogged down in minutiae. But Dennis uses the minutiae to blur the big picture … And no one asks the question: Why, since his approach in the Oslo years was such an abysmal failure, is he back, peddling the same snake oil?” [my emphasis]

I’ve boldfaced two statements that I want to discuss. I’ll take the second first. Dennis Ross, chief Israel-Arab peace negotiator under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, wrote a massive book about the “peace process” from 1988 through early 2001 when the enterprise crashed and burned with the launching of the second intifada (Ross: The Missing Peace, 2004). Nobody was more intimately associated with the negotiations than Ross. His “approach,” explained in great detail in the book, was to struggle to find formulas, “ideas” which would move the process forward toward a two-state solution without causing the Arabs to lose face or Israel’s security to be damaged.

At Camp David, Israeli PM Ehud Barak was pressed — by Ross — to make very significant concessions: on Jerusalem, on security arrangements, borders, etc. To a great extent Barak went along, although often against his own better judgment. Of course all the while, Yasser Arafat was paying operatives to perpetrate terrorism, making speeches in Arabic in which he called for all of Israel to become ‘Palestine’, and educating Palestinian youth to yearn for martyrdom in the struggle.

When President Clinton finally pushed Arafat to decide, to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, there was no way Arafat would go into reverse — and probably no way that he could, given the expectations that he had created. The rest, as they say, was history, as Arafat began the intifada that was to result in the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians — as well as the death of the idea that a compromise peace was achievable along the lines of a two-state solution.

To blame Dennis Ross or his “approach” for the failure of Oslo shows a disregard for the facts of recent history which is truly frightening, coming from a “U.S. official.”

Even more pernicious, though, is the first statement. The accusation that Ross puts Israel’s interests — or worse, Netanyahu’s own partisan coalition interests — ahead of those of the US is nothing less than slander of a very dedicated and professional diplomat. Some commentators even call it an accusation of ‘dual loyalty’ against Ross, who happens to be Jewish.

Ross’ argument, even when stated by a decidedly unfriendly witness, makes sense. Insofar as the Palestinians exploit US-Israel differences — such as the issue of building in Jerusalem — to give then an excuse to refuse to enter negotiations and to make ever more extreme demands, then we should try to reduce those differences. Especially, I might add, when those differences are based on new demands on Israel introduced by the Obama Administration!

Indeed, if the Administration is concerned with “credibility” with its allies, it shouldn’t screw them by reneging on previous commitments. But then the hallmark of this administration’s policy seems to be to help its enemies and hurt its friends, and apparently it only cares about its credibility with one side.

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2 Responses to “Obamanauts ignore facts, defame dedicated former Mideast envoy”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    Dennis Ross is probably the only Obama advisor on the Middle East who genuinely cares about the security of Israel. Stigmatizing him thus makes sense for those in the ‘Walt- Mearsheimer’ Obama school.
    The policy- differences are of course most important. But the ‘rudeness’ issue also truly means something. The contempt with which Prime Minister Netanyahu shows a side of the President well- hid until now from the American public. Coldness and contempt, lack of respect for the leader of a long-time ally is not exactly exemplary behavior on the part of the President.

  2. Robman says:

    Dennis Ross is the token “person who cares about Israel”. He is only there as window dressing, so that Obama can claim that he is including “all points of view” in making his decisions.

    Look, as I’ve said before, Rashid Khalidi did not raise $70,000 for Obama’s first senate campaign because he thought Obama was a swell guy, or because he wanted to see the U.S. adopt Canadian-style health care. I’ve met Rashid Khalidi, and I can tell you that this is a guy who has dedicated the whole of his adult professional life to the demonization and destruction of Israel.

    That Obama was so close to this guy speaks volumes. It is amazing to me how, during the campaign, anyone who brought stuff like this up was accused of proclaiming “guilt by association”, as if this was somehow unfair. What a transparent excercise in sophistry! OF COURSE Obama is guilty! Associations DO matter! This is especially true when the associations of this type are numerous and not exactly “balanced” by associations with people of the opposing point of view.

    I still can’t get over the degree to which Jewish American voters were in such a state of willful denial during the election. It was there for all to see: Obama hates Israel. He hated them yesterday, he hates them today, and he’ll go on hating them tomorrow. True to his Europhiliac form, by extension, he hates all Jews who support Israel. The only Jews he likes are “good Jews” – spoken in the same context as “good niggers” – who mind their manners and completely disassociate themselves from Israel.

    There is no question about this. His immediate pre-election photo-ops and speeches before AIPAC only demonstrated what an incredibly audacious liar he was, and is. That is the only excuse anyone can have, that they wanted to believe his lies.

    Never mind all the Jews who work for him. The Nazis had Jews working for them, too, in the “Judenraten”, in the “Jewish Police”. This is all camouflage, and not even very good camouflage. In a group of people who have spent 2000 years as a perpetual minority, having beaten into them that they are vulnerable and always outnumbered, it is easy to find those who are willing to “cut a deal”. The lesson of Israel, of standing up for ourselves as human beings, true Jewish emancipation, is lost on these types.

    The most grotesque spectacle – besides treatment of Israel – are these first-ever Passover seders being held in the White House these past two years running. Who is he kidding? What a cheap publicity stunt that is so obviously intended to give Obama a “pass” among Jewish Americans, so that he can go on screwing Israel unimpeded by their complaints. Israel’s Diaspora support base here in the U.S. is thus pacified into silence by this charade.

    I see an even deeper and sicker subtext in these White House seders. Obama’s message to Jewish Americans: ‘Forget about Israel. You don’t need Israel. You have everything you need here in America.’ Kind of like Dracula hypnotizing his victim before pouncing with his fangs.

    Well, the election is over, and we are stuck with this guy for another two years, nine and a half months. He has only been in office just over fourteen months, and look at all the damage he has done already. He is only just getting started. It is going to get worse.

    The only hope we have is grassroots pressure on Congress to put at least some brakes on Obama’s campaign to turn Israel into an out-and-out pariah state a la Rhodesia of the 1970s.

    The “larger strategic objectives”, per the anti-Ross unnamed official, is basically appeasing the lynch mob that passes for a “civilization” in Moslem SW Asia. Humiliate Israel, set her up for ultimate destruction, so that the “moderate Moslems” can go to their people and talk them into not supporting the “extremists”. Oh, beating up on Israel is so effective that way. The Europeans have been doing this for years, and they can’t even publish a blasted cartoon without riots and death threats.

    No, what is pawned off as “larger strategic objectives” is only short-sighted craven cowardice, and petrodollar-bought policy. These people – Mearsheimer, Walt, Hillary Clinton, Zbig, Carter, James Baker, etc., they are up to their eyeballs in petrodollar bribes, they are Arab whores all.

    What disgusting times we live in.