Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 314-Diplomacy or Professional wrestling?

Dear Mr. President,

Weird things are happening. A few days ago I saw a headline that read "Obama leads world chorus against Israel plan for Jerusalem." I was surprised by the implications of this headline, but I sort of brushed it off as typical media sensationalism. Then I saw the Huffington Post article describing the way you "slammed" the settlement activity. I read over your remarks. Nothing about them evoked the image of a pro-wrestling move, or, for that matter, a chorus of condemnation. Calling the settlements not helpful isn't exactly strong condemnation, or at least not the kind that would warrant this sort of media language.

It is incredibly surreal to see the right wing and the Israeli Prime Minister criticizing you for being too tough on Israeli settlement activity when, from my perspective, you haven't said or done nearly enough. It's one of those stories told so consistently that it begins to make me doubt my own perception. I think it's also indicative of how unacceptable criticism of Israeli policies, (even international law-breaking, immoral, hypocritical policies,) has become in our national discourse.

I think what you said about the settlements in East Jerusalem was right on the mark. Especially while Palestinian homes are being bulldozed in the same part of the city, there should be no new settlement activity. Palestinian leaders have already demonstrated a patient commitment to this peace process, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they do not have equal partners in the Israeli leaders. While Palestinians crack down and temper the extremists in their midst, Israelis are electing and empowering their own.

I know that you place a high importance on the state of US-Israeli relations. I just don't believe that true allies get this up in arms over such small criticism. The Israeli government is never going to make the tough calls necessary to a successful peace without strong urging from the US. I sincerely hope that your remarks indicate a toughening of our line against settlement activity, and a move away from the unconditional support that perpetuates and excuses the kind of oppression preventing peace in a region that needs it so badly.

Respectfully yours,


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