Two Boiling Points of View: Good Strategy

Ashley Mashian, BP Staff

Justin Brandt-Sarif, Staff Writer

As “Hail to the Chief” played on loudspeakers, President Barak Obama was met with cold applause as he took the stage to address the 10,000 people attending AIPAC policy conference in Washington D.C. last week.

In the days leading up to the conference, some Jewish leaders had been criticizing the President for suggesting that Israel should negotiate with the Palestinians based on pre-1967 “green line” borders.When he arrived at the podium, the applause was sustained and people were on their feet.But there was much skepticism in the audience, and he knew it.

President Barack Obama has made it a clear priority to solve the Middle Eastern crisis – and on top of what faced his predecessors, President Obama must also deal with the current revolutions in the region.

The United States has been allies with Israel for the last 63 years and a single Presidential term won’t fray that bond.So what was the speech supposed to achieve?A look at the chain of events tells the story.

First of all, the President gave his speech calling for the return to the pre-1967 borders on Thursday, May 19, and then addressed AIPAC at its policy conference three days later.This is clearly not a coincidence.

He calls for a controversial solution the day before the Prime Minister of Israel is due to arrive, and not 48 hours after that, the biggest Israeli lobbying group in the world meets at not a mile and a half away.This, too, is clearly not a coincidence.

Since we know the American alliance with Israel is strong and unbreakable, and since we can see that President Obama purposefully orchestrated the chain of events as he did, the comments made by President Obama must have been made to appease the Palestinians to get them back to the table.To do that, he needed to make a large display of negotiation – that is, to take a stand that conceded something to the other side, or at least appeared to.

If you listened carefully, he said the negotiations should facilitate “mutually agreed-upon swaps.” That means that the parties will negotiate a border that accounts for 44 years of changes, including demographic changes and the needs of each party.

He actually did not say Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders.Waiting to hear how his remarks were interpreted by his reliably hysterical opponents, he planned to speak to AIPAC to clarify as needed, and that he did.The Israelis aren’t just going to be losing land. There will be agreements made, and concessions on both sides, to create a final border plan leading us to a peaceful situation of Israeli and Palestinian states.Even Prime Minister Netanyahu supports that goal.

We as Jews of the United States and advocates for the Jewish State must listen carefully and think clearly. To get certain parties to sit at a table together, olive branches must be extended. The President, understanding the full range of Israel’s needs, took a stand to make that happen. He deserves our trust, our ideological independence, and our warm applause.