Obama hypocritically criticizes Carter for practicing what the former preaches! - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-18-2008, 02:33 AM   #1
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Obama hypocritically criticizes Carter for practicing what the former preaches!

I was watching the news summary on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night. Lehrer reported that, at a Jewish or Israeli fundraiser or some such meeting, Obama denounced former president Jimmy Carter for trying to talk with members of Hamas.

Let's never mind the fact that the US has historically had a hypocritical view of denouncing defensive violence by Palestinians -- which came after years of occupation -- as "terrorism", thereby pairing it in people's minds with the worst kinds of Al Qaeda-type terrorism. People never imagine the French resistance or the American Revolution as terrorism, when they were by any objective standard. Israel's state tools of occupation and repression are given a free pass. During the Cold War, America portrayed insurgent movements working to fight fascism and the brutal oppression of Indios (ethnic native Americans) as Soviet- or Chinese-directed Communism, and used this as an excuse to fight them for threatening US economic and political interests in the region.

Let's never mind the fact that Hamas, like the Black Panthers, gets a bad rap in the Western, especially US media, as "evil", when it provides many social services to the inhabitants and was willing to call a cease-fire on Israel when it came into government; to demand renunciation of the desire to defeat Israel is unfair because Israel still occupies the Palestinian people and still has its arms; Israel has never practiced equal recognition of the Palestinian people; rhetoric is one of Hamas' most important weapons, and it can't give it up, only to go back on its word. A justified resistance movement, no matter how brutal its acts, cannot give up its power without evidence the enemy is doing the same. Yet all this was used as an excuse by the US-led West to unfairly penalize the Hamas-elected government and thwart the Palestinians' democratic will, and punish them for not giving in completely to Israel's will, which has not served the interests of the Palestinian people since 1948.

Let's also never mind the fact that Carter is hardly pro-Palestinian. Acknowledging the apartheid treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli state is hardly a revolutionary observation outside the pro-Israeli US media; it's fact. He has even expressed a kind of Christian fundamentalism in recognizing the Jewish people's right to the land; this is the kind of religiously-motivated thinking that motivated Harry Truman; if anything, he's pro-Israeli. All Jimmy Carter is bravely doing is talking to Israel's opponent to try to begin a constructive dialogue.

What seems at the heart of all this is that Mr. Obama seems unwilling to follow through on his message of hope and trying to correct America's past mistakes by fostering a healthy discourse with supposed "enemies" like Cuba and Iran. How can he, in good conscience and in compliance with his stated principles, oppose Carter simply speaking to Hamas?

I visited Mr. Obama's offical site (www.barackobama.com) and checked his stance on Israel. The site proudly states his defense of Israel's right to attack Hezbollah in 2006. What's missing is any sense of proportion or historic causation. Hezbollah came into existence due to Israel's occupation. Israel has arrested and detained thousands of Palestinians without cause, and could have opted for the simple prisoner exchange Hezbollah requested. Even if one doesn't agree with Hezbollah's actions, how can one justify the bombing of infrastructure and killing of over 1,000 innocent Lebanese civilians, who were not responsible for Hezbollah's actions? The West simply gave Israel carte blanche to destroy more lives, and US media portrayed the bloodshed as equal on both sides, when only 100 Israelis died in reciprocal rocket attacks and the vast majority if not all of them were soldiers -- not civilians. Only GOP Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel deplored the massacre, while cowardly Democrats sought Jewish votes and adhered to America's unjustifiable support for Israeli brutality and supply of arms; on this issue, they and George W. Bush were united.

I put to you that Mr. Obama is not the messianic, brave figure many of us are tempted to believe he is. He is a moral coward willing to support -- just like the Clintons, McCain and so many US politicians -- actions today we commonly oppose in a historical context. All have opposed the treatment of native Americans at the hands of white settlers and unjust laws, but how is Israel's treatment of Palestinians any different? Is Hamas any different from rebellious native tribes who would raid white settlements that had pushed them from their land, and would be labelled "barbaric" for their tactics?

I supported Obama for what he said about race a month ago (and actually agreed with much of what Rev. Wright said about the hypocrisy of America's reaction to 9/11, while supporting Israeli killings for decades), and I also sympathized with his statements about the unhealthy nature of how many Americans embrace a petty form of religion, xenophobia, and gun culture; I found Hillary Clinton's claims and typical pandering far more condescending than Obama speaking his mind.

However, I am seriously disgusted with his stand on this issue. Even if it's all an act, it's unlikely that things will improve in America's stand because, as Dan T. Carter wrote in a book, called "Race and the Conservative Counterrevolution" my big brother bought me in my last year of high school, campaigns are when the public pays most attention to issues, and when the culture can be shaped anew. The book argues that Nixon and Reagan exploited negative depictions of the black community as violent and as welfare queens manipulating the food stamp system to buy Cadillacs. These were distortions -- and especially Nixon, an NAACP member in the '50s knew this above all -- but they used them to win elections. Obama is doing the same by pandering to the Jewish and conservative non-Jewish vote.

There shall be no peace if America continues on this course of biased support for Israel, looking the other way every time its leaders violate any peace process by continually building settlements, walls into Palestinian land, diverting water, taxes and other resources, and use other terror tactics to place the costs of occupation on the Palestinians. The Israeli lobby even campaigned heavily for the Iraq invasion and is now urging attack on Iran. If Mr. Obama isn't willing to stand up to the immorality of America's folly with regard to Israel, then he won't understand Iran's support for certain kinds of terrorism. Nothing will change.

And many Israelis want it to change, as evidenced in this National Film Board of Canada documentary about Israeli soldiers opposed to the occupation.
http://www2.nfb.ca/boutique/XXNFBibe...12&support=DVD

These views are also subtly placed in Steven Spielberg's "Munich"; they are also obvious in the writings of Ira Steven Behr, Noam Chomsky, and many others. And Ralph Nader has long felt Obama's stance on Palestine has been indefensible.

As Robert Smith wrote in "One Hundred Years", "over and over, we die one after the other.." (Okay, that may sound a bit melodramatic, but I really feel that way, after finding this out about our man Obama.)
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:41 AM   #2
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:02 AM   #3
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Muldfeld, with all due respect, are you an idiot? Carter isn't operating as a US representative; nor is he operating as a UN representative. Any interactions with a terrorist organization such as Hamas ought to be premeditated by some kind of governmental support. Carter, by apparently operating on his own, is only exacerbating the situation. In so doing he may be playing right into Hamas' hand, who wants to present the illusion of diplomacy without the realities thereof. (Anyone who can't see past the fact that Hamas' subsidies of hospitals or family care is nothing more than buying public support is naive.)

And your attempts to equivocate Hamas' domestic terrorist attacks on women, children, and families with the tactics of American revolutionaries demonstrates a shocking lack of knowledge of history, as well as a disappointing naivete as to Hamas' worldview. (For starters, they don't give a rat's ass about freedom.)

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Old 04-18-2008, 03:11 AM   #4
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Muldfeld, with all due respect, are you an idiot? Carter isn't operating as a US representative; nor is he operating as a UN representative. Any interactions with a terrorist organization such as Hamas ought to be premeditated by some kind of governmental support. Carter, by apparently operating on his own, is only exacerbating the situation. In so doing he may be playing right into Hamas' hand, who wants to present the illusion of diplomacy without the realities thereof. (Anyone who can't see past the fact that Hamas' subsidies of hospitals or family care is nothing more than buying public support is naive.)

And your attempts to equivocate Hamas' domestic terrorist attacks on women, children, and families with the tactics of American revolutionaries demonstrates a shocking lack of knowledge of history, as well as a disappointing naivete as to Hamas' worldview. (For starters, they don't give a rat's ass about freedom.)

Isn't there a new season of "Battlestar Galactica" on?
Firstly, I was saying that terrorism, like war, is morally ambiguous, and that each case should be evaluated on its own, much like war. Let me define "terrorism":

There are two definitions of “terrorism” as far as I can tell. The scale definition relates to extreme strategies adopted by a weaker actor against state actors; the latter are able to enforce unjust laws and use overwhelming, selectively-targeted force to achieve their ends. American Revolutionaries shocked Britons by violating “civilized” warfare protocol with their guerrilla warfare. This definition provides no moral distinction from state violence, but is the real reason states object to terrorism: it challenges their authority.

The other definition is a behavioral one of using fear to provoke compliance. State actors like Blair or Bush – Putin or Pinochet -- claim this as their justification for opposing terrorism. Yet the history shows that terrorists can and do use restraint, as in the case of Hamas, which is not nearly as brutal as Al Qaeda-type groups in its goals and methods, no matter what Sen. McCain says in implying that all terrorism is equal. History is full of examples of states using coercion – terror – to carry out their objectives, including brutal violence, even if that damage is collateral. For Sen. McCain to claim Israel’s mostly civilian killings in Lebanon in 2006 were morally superior to the 100 or so military officer killings carried out by Hezbollah because they fall under the convenient rubric of “collateral damage” does not excuse them any more. We all know that when we wage war, innocents die. In this light, America criticizing Iran for sponsoring Hezbollah is hypocritical against America’s decades-long support for Israel’s terrorism against Palestinians, let alone its role in the brutality of Latin American regimes against leftist discontent in the name of the Cold War.


Secondly, American revolutionaries hardly cared about freedom for everyone. They didn't care about blacks or natives, and spread propaganda to undecided towns about British-allied natives raping white women.

Hamas is complicated. Like any politician or leader, there's a conflict of ego and ambition; by the way, The 4400's 3rd and 4th seasons showed this very well with Jordan Collier. I'm not saying Hamas' members are morally perfect, but neither are Israel's leaders, and any treatment of Hamas has to take that into consideration. Hamas doesn't hate Israel because of Nazi-like anti-semitism, but because of practical reasons; over time, this may have morphed into hateful rhetoric, but that happens in any long struggle. McCain and others group Hamas with the colonial ambitions of Al Qaeda, when they just want their land back. The US media never talks with Palestinains and its reporters are often stationed in Israel, so they have a clear bias. Israel is always given the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of numerous UN resolutions; in many cases, the US has blocked the UN from taking sterner actions. The Cold War-rooted support for a supposedly strategic ally has solidified into unquestioning support for a brutal regime that favors one people over another.

Jimmy Carter is doing something the US has been unwilling to do -- show some level of respect for the defacto leaders and representatives of a people. Jimmy Carter also had the decency to engage Fidel Castro. You may have a point about the dangers of not being an official representative, official representatives have bungled the world, but that's how states do things. There's a lot of unofficial stuff that goes on that has led to disaster and favoring of Israel. Officially, Israel was to be held to several US roadmaps for peace, but it never has and has always faced far more minor repercussions, compared to Palestinians. That's officaldom for you. Jimmy Carter is a true hero and he deserves the chance to try this out, instead of some cowardly candidate that doesn't have the guts to stand up for justice attacking him from the sidelines for election purposes.
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:36 AM   #5
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Hamas are freedom fighters, truly, they do seem to support the liberation of all of Palestine and obviously have ambitions for a civil society that is free.
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Muldfeld, with all due respect, are you an idiot?

Isn't there a new season of "Battlestar Galactica" on?
"With all due respect" doesn't make up for the demeaning tone--please leave the unnecessary insults out of it.
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:03 PM   #7
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Well, I definitely won't be voting for Obama then... what a hypocrite!
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:51 AM   #8
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Will Carter's Hamas foray bear fruit?

By Joshua Mitnick
Christian Science Monitor, April 22


JERUSALEM -- After defying the US-led boycott on Hamas by meeting its leaders in Damascus, Syria, former President Jimmy Carter told Israelis in Jerusalem Monday that the Islamist militants assured him they would respect a peace treaty ratified by the Palestinian public.

Despite this stated shift in Hamas's rejection of a peace treaty with Israel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate cautioned that he is not about to coax Israel and Hamas together in the same way he shepherded Israelis and Egyptians to their watershed peace treaty in 1979. "I don't ever intend to be a mediator between any of the disputing groups…that's not my goal," he said in a speech. "I don't have any expectation that I would be an acceptable spokesperson for either the US or Israel."

At the end of his Middle East tour, the remark highlights a key question about President Carter's freelance diplomacy: What value is there to talks with groups like Hamas--called a "terrorist organization" by the US and Israel--when the messenger himself does not speak on anyone's behalf?

Israel and Hamas already have a channel of talks via Egypt, which is being used to negotiate a prisoner swap to free Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit from nearly two years of captivity in Gaza. The Egyptians are also thought to be mediating talks on a cease-fire and the reopening of the border between Gaza and Egypt.

Carter, who was snubbed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the trip, reported that Hamas rejected his suggestion that it declare a unilateral truce with Israel and free Corporal Shalit in return for the release of jailed Hamas political leaders and Palestinian women and children prisoners. But, he said, Hamas did agree to forward a letter from Shalit to his parents and to a two-stage prisoner exchange in which the captured soldier would be transferred to Egypt in between waves of prisoner releases by Israel.

Carter also insisted that Hamas would accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an accord negotiated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas if it were put to a referendum or a Palestinian legislature is elected with a majority in support. While Hamas leaders have said they support a long-term truce with Israel along the 1967 borders of the West Bank and Gaza, they have consistently rejected a peace treaty.

Hamas accepts the establishment of a Palestinian state on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict but would not recognize the Jewish state, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Monday, Reuters reported. Commenting on efforts by Carter to persuade Hamas to back peace talks between Mr. Abbas and Israel, Mr. Meshaal said his Islamist group would "respect Palestinian national will even if it was against our convictions."

Carter's mission coincided with an upsurge in border fighting between Israel and Hamas, with the militants launching attacks that killed three soldiers. Israel's retaliation left more than 20 Palestinians dead, including a Reuters cameraman.

Nicholas Pelham, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, says Carter's mission erodes the taboo of engaging Hamas and could help Israel "climb down the tree" from the three requirements--recognize Israel, accept previous agreements, and forswear violence--for speaking to the militants.

To be sure, Abbas's PA has been skeptical. "If Carter intended to convince Hamas to accept the commitment of the PA, like to the two-state solution, that's fine," says Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. "But at the end of the day, Carter is the head of the Carter institute in Atlanta."

Even those who recognize a need to engage Hamas have questioned Carter's preference of public diplomacy. Yair Hirschfeld, an Israeli political scientist who helped run the secret talks between Israel and Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that became known as the Oslo Accord, said talking to the media should come last. Still, Carter's announcement about Hamas's flexibility on the Shalit swap is meaningful. "It's not the way I would have prepared it. But...the proof of the pudding is in the eating," says Mr. Hirschfeld.
Quote:
Obama wary of report of breakthrough with Hamas

By Caren Bohan
Reuters, Apr 22


PITTSBURGH -- Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama on Tuesday expressed wariness about former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's report of progress in his meetings with leaders of the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas. The Illinois senator said Carter's meetings with Hamas leaders were a "bad idea."

..."What we're seeing now is that even as President Carter suggests there was breakthrough, you had some of the same old rhetoric coming out of Hamas representatives with regard to Israel," Obama told reporters while campaigning in Pennsylvania, which was holding an important vote on Tuesday in the Democratic nomination fight.

...New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination, declined to comment about Carter's statements following his meetings with Hamas officials. "I don't know anything about it," she told reporters in Conshohocken, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Obama echoed the Bush administration's view that the United States should focus its efforts on encouraging talks between moderate Palestinian leaders and Israel rather than trying to engage Hamas. "It's very important for the United States to actively engage in helping bring about negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," said Obama, an Illinois senator who is vying against Democratic New York Sen. Clinton for the right to face Republican John McCain in the November election. Obama said the United States should put its diplomatic energies into encouraging negotiations between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah organization opposes Hamas, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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Just shows once again that the guy is in over his head. I am more sympathetic to the Palestinian arguments than the Israeli arguments, however, nothing can justify the means that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have resorted to. No one can justify Israel's actions either, like so many things, it just goes to show both sides are wrong. The argument that Jimmy Carter was wrong in meeting with Hamas rests on the flawed assumption that negotiation/dialogue is a reward and that it represents some kind of official endorsement of the policies of Hamas. Jimmy Carter has made clear he abhores terrorism. Obama should be very familiar with this argument as it is one he has made himself. There is some degree of legitimacy to it, though I would favor working on a case by case basis once in office as opposed to making a grandiose sweeping statement that he will sit down with anyone and everyone. Biden was right on that, he scolded Obama for tipping his hand and said as President, you just act. Again, goes to show Obama's inexperience and lack of knowledge and yes, judgement. But overall, to those who argue Carter is a terrorist appeasing traitor, would you prefer Reagan trade arms w/Iran for hostages or fund Al Qaeda, all while saying he does not negotiate with terrorists?

The fact of the matter is, Jimmy Carter is one of the few US politicians, along w/ Jim Moran of Virginia, who have had the courage to take on the Israeli lobby and call them on their actions. Moran was quickly vanquished by Nancy Pelosi for suggesting the obvious- that the Israel lobby was pushing the Iraq war. No one can dispute that our defense of Israel at all costs has led to many people being pissed off at us. It is a recruiting tool for our enemies. Also, the USS Liberty incident in which Israeli airforce took out our ship was no accident- they did not want our spys to see that they were illegally taking the Golan Heights. Most of our Congress works not for America but for Israel. It is too bad the monied pro-Israel interests have more pull than citizens who think the rules apply to everyone and who rightly expect that the US government look out for the interests of the US.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Will Carter's Hamas foray bear fruit?

Quote:
Last update -27/02/2008
Poll: Most Israelis back direct talks with Hamas on Shalit

By Yossi Verter, Haaretz Correspondent

Sixty-four percent of Israelis say the government must hold direct talks with the Hamas government in Gaza toward a cease-fire and the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Less than one-third (28 percent) still opposes such talks.

The figures were obtained in a Haaretz-Dialog poll conducted Tuesday under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University.

According to the findings, Israelis are fed up with seven years of Qassam rockets falling on Sderot and the communities near Gaza, as well as the fact that Shalit has been held captive for more than a year and a half.

An increasing number of public figures, including senior officers in the Israel Defense Forces' reserves, have expressed similar positions on talks with Hamas.

It now appears that this opinion is gaining traction in the wider public, which until recently vehemently rejected such negotiations.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/958473.html
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:12 PM   #11
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What Does It Mean To Be "Pro-Israel"?

By Shmuel Rosner
Slate.com, May 7, 2008


...Jewish representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties are invited to most of the panels [UJC-DC director William] Daroff moderates. After a long string of forums, Daroff has noticed that the two parties' line of argument is markedly different. The Democratic representative will often say: Both parties are good for Israel; it's a bipartisan issue; let's move on to discuss health care or the mortgage crisis. The Republican will respond: Not so fast. Democrats are trying to avoid the issue because they recognize their weakness and know that Republican support for the Jewish state is much stronger than theirs.

It's a cyclical debate with no end and little meaning until you define what it means to be pro-Israel. Historically, Israel has relied on support from both sides of the aisle, and it would clearly be better off if that situation continues. But at the root of the Republican claim is a niggling kernel of truth: Democratic voters do not side with Israel at the same rate and with the same enthusiasm as Republican voters do. At least if you accept the definitions most pollsters use to define a pro-Israel position. Take, for example, a recent Gallup poll about Americans' most- and least-favored nations. Israel, fairly popular with Americans, is "viewed more favorably by Republicans than by Democrats," the survey reports. 84% of Republicans rank it favorably, compared with only 64% of Democrats. This is hardly a new phenomenon: Back in 2006, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll found that Republicans favored alignment with Israel over neutrality in the Israeli-Arab conflict 64% to 29%. By contrast, only 39% of Democrats supported alignment with Israel, while 54% favored neutrality.

But is favoring "neutrality" less pro-Israel than favoring alignment with Israel? Does sympathizing with the terrible fate of the Palestinians make someone less supportive of Israel? This question isn't of concern to only the political parties. A new organization, J Street, presents a similar challenge to those trying to define the meaning of being a pro-Israel American. J Street is a dovish new Jewish-American lobby group—self-tagged "pro-Israel"—that will push the United States to become more involved in its declared "No. 1 priority," achieving piece between Israel and the Palestinians. Many of the people active in this group don't just believe that the U.S. government should be more active, but also that "active" means pressuring the Israeli government toward compromises. "Like a scout forcefully helping an old lady across the street?" I asked one of its leaders. "Perhaps," he replied. "Before she's hit by a truck."

In the eyes of J Street members, this desire to save Israel from itself is what makes the project "pro-Israel." If pressuring the Israeli government was not traditionally considered a "pro-Israel" position, they argue, it is mainly because those traditional definitions were skewed. "For too long, the only voices politicians and policy makers have heard on American policy toward Israel and the Middle East have been from the far right," complains the group's Web site. In recent years, said Alan Solomont—a leading supporter of the group and a Jewish supporter of Barack Obama's—"neocons, right-of-center Jewish leaders, and Christian evangelicals" were the people tasked with delineating the "pro-Israel" position. Obama himself expressed a similar sentiment a couple of weeks ago: "I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel, and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel." The situation was tilted in one direction—so the new group is trying to tip it the other way.

Obama does not like the "pro-Likud" approach, but he wants the benefit of being seen as a pro-Israel candidate. All American politicians do (except, perhaps, Patrick Buchanan). "In political life in America today, everyone says they're a friend of Israel," wrote Aaron David Miller, a former adviser to the Clinton administration, in his new book The Much Too Promised Land. And it's true: If you lower the bar enough, everybody is a friend; everybody is "pro-Israel" as long as they don't actively agitate for Israel's demise. Jimmy Carter, one of the most vocal critics of Israeli policies and of the "Israel lobby" in America, said two weeks ago that all he wants is "to bring peace to Israel...The security of Israel is...paramount." Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer—authors of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a book highly critical of Israel—also say that Israel has a moral and legal right to exist. Are they "pro-Israel" because they do not say that they want it to be destroyed?

J Street—whose leaders are also very critical of Israel's policies—is more specific. It states that "U.S. support for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is an historic and legitimate commitment" and that "maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge" is necessary. Is that the right policy for Israel? That's another debate. But the policy J Street advocates is clearly so different in nature from the traditional positions of "pro-Israel" advocacy groups that having it under the same roof becomes strange. It leaves the wondering citizen with a somewhat redundant definition of the "pro-Israel" camp. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Defining someone as "pro-Israel"—or, for that matter, pro-anything or anti-anything—is a way for people to simplify complicated questions when searching for a political party, a candidate, or an organization they would like to support. The problem is that along the way the term has been used so often—to describe so many conflicting positions—that it has become practically meaningless, more confusing than clarifying. So maybe now, for Israel's 60th birthday, there's one last position that the "pro-Israel" camp can agree on: It is time to dump the term. Those Democrats might be right when they tell William Daroff: "We are all pro-Israel." But Republicans are also right when they insist: "We should still talk about the specifics." Without specifics, being "pro-Israel" is almost like being pro-great-weather or pro-tasty-food.
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