Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"Truth Is Relative" Doesn't Make It Incest

What, we can cut the cord now? If Pres. Obama keeps on like this, some one will discover that the country called U.S. of A. is not joined at the waist with Israel. In watching our Department of Justice work on the assumption that our security is gained by fighting against Palestinians in that conflict, against Palestinians' freedoms, I would say that's all to the good.

We will, as Dan Froomkin observes, do Israel a favor too, if we stop backing them in their indefensible positions. It is time for the Israelis to work with their neighbors. We cannot turn their neighbors pliable unless we all are working toward a reasonable settlement. That does not mean one of those places where Israelis occupy territory they can only claim by force.

President Obama's call for a "new dialogue" in the Middle East -- one in which the U.S. would be "honest" about what Israel has to do to achieve security -- is the clearest indication yet that the new administration is taking a dramatically different and much more assertive approach with its long-time ally.

Obama's comments indicate that he believes Israel has been indulged -- even deluded -- by previous administrations, to its own detriment. By contrast, this president's view seems to be that what Israel really needs is to be pushed into making the difficult concessions that are in its own long-term interests.

And Obama has been clear that the first concession Israel needs to make is to freeze the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank that both literally and figuratively set the occupation of Palestinian territories in concrete.

Stopping the growth of settlements -- not to mention dismantling them -- is a hugely sensitive political issue for Israelis, and and Israel's current right-wing leadership is already talking about defying Obama's request.

But on the eve of an overseas trip that will include a major address to the Muslim world from Cairo on Thursday, Obama is showing no signs of, as he would put it, "equivocation."

This has been a long time coming, and that has led to any number of conspiracy theories. While I would not clear the past maladministration of any war criminal charges, after the irresponsibility it has shown toward this country, I think that is one element we really can 'put behind' us.

The nation of Israel has a long way to go, and this country can be more help to them than it has been in the past, by applying and insisting on realistic treatment of other countries.

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