[Published 14 January 2016]
President Obama enters his final year as President having given up on trying to resolve the Jewish-Arab conflict - following in the footsteps of so many other American Presidents whose similarly-shared lofty and noble aspirations ended in abject failure.
In Obama’s case his inability to fully comprehend Jewish history and the connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel was the catalyst for his inevitable failure - as tellingly illustrated in his landmark speech in Cairo on 4 June 2009:
“Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.”
Israel’s current Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Dore Gold - has now revealed how Israel’s then leadership viewed Obama’s above remarks in this frank exchange published in Frontline on 6 January:
“When the president goes to Cairo for the speech, and you heard him speak, what did you think?
Well, everybody that was in my entourage focused on the whole notion that the state of Israel rose as a response to the Holocaust. That was something that was unacceptable.
Because Israel has an eternity to it that goes far back before the 20th century, the 19th century, and even earlier. All we have to do is know that there was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem already at the time of the American Civil War. All we have to know is that we had a civilization here that was destroyed by the Romans. You can now find the catapult, the Ballista, used to fight the Jewish resistance at the time of the 1st century, 70 A.D. Our history is all over this city and all over the country. Therefore, an explanation that sees us as a bunch of Europeans who are looking for a refuge from the Nazis is a partial and not terribly accurate understanding of the soul of this country.
Does it surprise you that the president of the United States would make that error?
It surprised me that they have a speechwriter who would be allowed to write that kind of document, because I think Sen. Obama was presented with the four dimensions of Israel, but someone decided to take this partial approach in a presidential speech, and it didn’t earn him confidence with the people of Israel. …”
Blaming Obama’s ignorance on a speechwriter is being very charitable to President Obama and his administration including the State Department and his equally failed Secretary of State - John Kerry - who all must accept collective responsibility for Obama‘s further statement:
“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”
Questioning the legitimacy of the right of the Jewish people to live anywhere in their ancient biblical and historical homeland - sanctioned by both the League of Nations and United Nations - was catastrophic.
Question the political wisdom - but not its legitimacy.
Obama got it wrong from the start and nothing was going to save him from failure in the end.