Following worldwide dismay from Wednesday’s speech to AIPAC, Obama has now changed his tune:
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama amended his support for Israelâ€™s stance on Jerusalem on Thursday, saying Palestinians and Israelis had to negotiate the future of the holy city.
Palestinian leaders reacted with anger and dismay on Wednesday to Obama saying Jerusalem should be Israelâ€™s undivided capital.
“Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations,” Obama told CNN when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.
Asked if he opposed any division of Jerusalem, Obama said: “As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute. And I think that it is smart for us to â€” to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.”
Adam LeBor has written a balanced and sensible article on CIF on why Barack Obama was wrong to make the outrageous promise, while speaking to AIPAC, that Jerusalem will remain the ‘undivided capital’ of Israel. Seems strange since the US and UK embassies are in Tel Aviv! You can read more here.
Meanwhile, back at Harry’s Place, Adam clarifies further:
Personally I find AIPAC a rather creepy organisation. I remember ten years ago when I was making some radio programmes for the BBC on Israel at 50 trying to interview one of their officials. Trying to get any information out of her about how AIPAC worked reminded me of interviewing suspicious ex-(not really)-Communists in eastern Europe.
I agree with this writer:
AIPAC has become more militant than the Israeli government. Its messages reflect more the oppositionist Likud doctrine than the moderate stance of Prime Minister Olmert. Moreover, whereas the American Jewish community is known for its liberal, progressive pro-Democrat party heritage – some 80 percent of the Jewish voters traditionally cast their votes for the Democrats – AIPAC is geared to an extreme-right-wing agenda, often more in line with the Jewish neo-cons than with the majority of American Jews.
Far better, he opines, to support the new, pro-peace Israel lobbying group, J-street.
The author? David Kimche, former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and veteran Mossad agent.
Personally I thought it was a good speech. But it’s always better to have someone, preferably with a progressive outlook, with more detailed knowledge of the background to unravel the intricacies. It’s easy to fall for Obama’s delivery over the content. I stand corrected. Hopefully, so does Obama.
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