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Obama Courageous, Foolish or Both?

The Obama administration is either very courageous or very foolish -- possibly both. I had assumed that in a year in which the administration intended to take a soft approach to Iran, seeking talks, holding out inducements and never discussing penalties, bending over backwards to make accommodations, that it would not simultaneously pursue a confrontational policy with Israel. Such a policy would seem to be more than the political traffic at home could bear. I was wrong.

Instead, by insisting that the Israeli government not only put a freeze on new settlements but also halt “natural growth” in existing settlements, the administration has set up an unavoidable and possibly unpleasant confrontation with Israel, precisely at the moment it is importuning a truculent Iran. This sets up quite an image: Unclench the fist at a government that daily calls us the Great Satan, while balling up a fist at a longtime ally.

There must be a brilliant strategy in here somewhere. But from the outside, it isn’t obvious where the confrontation with Israel is supposed to lead. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can conceivably put a freeze on new settlements, it is unlikely that he can stop “natural growth” of existing settlements and still hold his government together. Indeed, it is questionable whether any Israeli government could. Perhaps the Obama administration is trying to bring the Netanyahu government down. Regime change!

Clearly, this is an effort to shape Arab opinion and show that the Obama administration is more even-handed than its predecessor. But if Israel can’t or won’t deliver, what does the Obama administration do next? If it backs away from its demand, then it proves itself impotent in the face of Israeli intransigence, thus presumably weakening its standing with the Arabs. But if it doesn’t back down, what forms of punishment does it intend to carry out to force Israel’s hand? Will the administration place sanctions on Israel at a time when it is offering to lift sanctions on Iran?

By Robert Kagan  | June 2, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Kagan  | Tags:  Robert Kagan  
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Comments

You're the guy who not only argued for invasion/occupation of Iraq but also provided intellectual underpinning for its strategy. Ain't it so?

Now, how dare you question BHO and his strategy to reset the ground rules for two-state solution?

And, if in the process, Likud Gov falls, so be it. Racism/anti-Arab sentiments are not only getting worse but becoming politically manifest in domestic politics -led by none other than Liberman and his cohorts.

One would think the survival of a Jewish State in the midst of Arab lands and their (ancient) culture - would eventually lead to peaceful co-existence and politcal accomodation by both sides.

However, it doesn't seem to be true anylonger in a non-Azkanazi-led Israel of today.

Posted by: hariknaidu | June 2, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Obama's visit to the Muslim world, Tifatul Sembiring, president of an Islamist party in Indonesia, said this:

"Are they (the Americans) serious about creating a real solution for Palestine? We are waiting for justice on this."

Code words for the destruction of Israel. I think we will see on this visit that Obama understands this code completely.

Posted by: VaPatriot | June 2, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Your piece fell apart after the last sentence in the 1st paragraph. You should've stopped writting there. 2 questions

1. Did the Israeli Government sign an agreement in which they where suppose to stop construction?

2. By engaging Iran Diplomatically is the American Government Saving Israeli lives as oppossed to letting Israel attack Iran and losing even one life for an avoidable war?

Why is it when Obama says to Israel that "They Must Honor their Agreements" Israel (and the Jewish Media) start making Obama out to be Anti-Israeli. If Obama is simply saying stick to your end of the bargain and Israel is already starting the next round of Hitler talks..I can't wait to see when the US let's a Non-pretty UN resolution slide thru the vote...what type of show will Israel put on it's best friend then????

Posted by: Southshore1 | June 2, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Israel is very intransigent. Palestine Fatah and Hamas are at war. Gaza is an aircraft carrier next to Israel. Looks promising for peace.

Posted by: mascmen7 | June 2, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Look Obama says alot of things, alot, the guy talks on TV more than anybody. But the proof will be in the pudding. Will Israel give up the settlements, and constrain their growth? NO of course not. Why? They are their only bargaining chip. Simply put until there is verifiable evidence that Syria and Iran are not pumping weapons and money into the hands of the Palestinians, and a plan on the table to stop this flow of weapons of death, the Israeli's neither should, nor will give up anything.

Once Obama can guarantee Israeli security the Israeli's will compromise, but not before. Since it is very very very unlikely Obama will be able to do anything with Iran and Syria, it is also unlikely that Israel will compromise.

Posted by: DCDave11 | June 2, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse


How is it "anti-Israel" to simply ask their government to follow the rule of law?

Everyone knows those settlements are illegal. They are a cynical land grab by some Israelis.

I just don't understand why some Israelis are okay with a constant state of war with their neighbors. How will that eventually play out? The Palestinian birthrate is the "weapon" Israel needs to keep its eye on!

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 2, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama flipped and flopped all over the map during the campaign on Israel. He was anywhere from Meretz to Likud, depending on which electorate he was trying to impress at any given time. Obama never stated what steps beyond sanctions he would take with Iran, alleging that it would be unwise to reveal to Iran the lengths to which he would be willing to go to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear capability. While this may have appeared wise at the time, it is becoming clear that Obama has never had any idea what he will do with Iran beyond sanctions. It is also becoming clear that Obama's initial Israel position was the accurate one - he appears to largely view Israel as the culprit preventing a broad Israeli/Palestinian peace, and he is using the power of his office to force Israel to make one-way concessions in violation of previous U.S.-Israeli agreements. Thus, Obama's famous AIPAC speech has finally been revealed to what many suspected it was at the time - dishonest political pandering in order to get win popularity among Jewish voters and donors. For shame.

Posted by: Dellis2 | June 2, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"Instead, by insisting that the Israeli government not only put a freeze on new settlements but also halt “natural growth” in existing settlements, the administration has set up an unavoidable and possibly unpleasant confrontation with Israel..."
**********************************

Didn't Israel agree to freeze settlements as part of the roadmap to peace? So when did the expansion of settlements in disputed territory become "natural growth" that Israel can't be expected to stop? Here's a new flash Mr. Kagan. Just because Israel is a long time ally doesn't mean that supporting Israel, right or wrong, is in America's national interest. If asking Israel to live up to its end of various agreements provokes them into a confrontation with their long time ally the United States, then so be it. And if they need to change governments in order to control their population, then perhaps they do need a regime change. Who knows? It's entirely concievable that regime change in Israel might even be in their own best interest.

Posted by: sonny2 | June 2, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The Obama administration deployed a strategy utilizing a very basic approach; Israelis make a few concessions while Palestinian's do the same and eventually all will find common ground to agree on a whole lot more. But, it has to start in small increments.

Israelis continuing to build settlements certainly does not help the process and neither does Palestinian’s firing rockets into Israel…

An intelligent approach! You betcha

Posted by: Citi_Street | June 2, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Anything, but the status quo is foolish? Has it worked in the last few decades. The animosity grows (just like global warming) everyday. It is just a matter of time when there would be a no-state solution. Now here is someone trying to break the status quo. That's foolish? He understands better than most of the stupid journalists as to what's at stake. There was a chance during the Clinton years. Obama is just trying to have a shot at another chance. He is trying to get everyone in the region to come to the table. That's why he is in Egypt (and not Saudi Arabia). He has no ties to Oil companies. His primary interest is peace and stability for US, Israel and Palestine. He won't find partners. Hope he finds people who at least understand what he is trying to do.

If Iran is trying to talk tough, it is sqaurely the utter foolishness of Bush administration. As for Obama, he can turn the screws on Iran any time. But talking tough and talking stupid (axis of evil!) and attacking the wrong country gets you nowhere. No wonder Gates (one of the few sane Republicans) is solidly behind President Obama.

Posted by: pattr1 | June 2, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kagan, your post assumes that we should continue the Bush administration's policy: have one set of rules for countries we like, and another set for countries we don't.

To put it another way, if a country says bad things about us (Iran) we should be tough with them on nuclear proliferation and other issues, but if a country is our ally (Israel) we should just ignore behavior like stockpiling nuclear warheads and denying basic human rights to a large population within their control. Is that what you really believe?

You must know that while the Muslim world may not be the most educated segment of the earth's population, they are not blind. They can see that America acts on its values only when it is convenient for us to do so. Obama would have us stop talking out of both sides of our national mouth and object to behavior that violates our beliefs no matter who the perpetrator may be. Do you disagree?

Posted by: continental46@aol.com | June 2, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Courageous or foolish? How about common sense. Israel has to eventually do something with the Palestinians. They can't remain stateless forever and the settlements they agreed not to build but that they built anyway are a roadblock. If we can get Israel to see reality on this issue then we can get more concession out of the Arab states who have tied there every internal and external policy to the Palestinian issue. s

Posted by: kchses1 | June 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Finally we have a president who is showing a semblance of backbone in dealing with Israel. But first tell me, why is Israel a great ally of US? What are we getting out of blindly supporting Israel, except becoming a target for all crazy Islamic fanatics all over the world? Can you tell even one benefit to US if we allow current situation between Israel-Palestine deteriorate at Israel's terms? And, shame on Washington Post to let fanatics like you contribute on their pages.

Posted by: Jainr | June 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

You say it's unreasonable to expect Israel to freeze growth in the settlements because it's not politically feasible for Israel to do so.

By that same standard, is it unreasonable to expect Hamas to accept Israel's existence when so many people in the Gaza strip oppose the existence of Israel?

Because growth of settlements would preclude the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state, it is not only equivalent to denying the right of Israel to exist; in fact, it's much more consequential. If the Obama administration is serious about a two-state solution, the cessation of settlement growth is a far more significant issue than the Hamas charter.

Posted by: davestickler | June 2, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

To add on a bit more:

If Israel believes that the West Bank is part of Israel, then the people who've lived there their entire lives should be given the right to vote for the leadership of Israel. If Israel believes that the West Bank is not a part of Israel, then they shouldn't be moving their citizens there. It's simple.

If America is going to stand for American values, then we need to condemn the settlements. Just as a little bit of bombing of Israel is still too much, a little bit of settlement construction is also too much, and deserves the condemnation of our government. Especially since the freezing of settlements is entirely in the control of the Israeli government, there is absolutely no excuse for their continued ill faith and refusal to abide by basic values.

Posted by: davestickler | June 2, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

This is going to turn into the "Wedge issue" that destroys Obama's Presidency, makes him a one term president, and destroys the Democratic Party.

Jewish and Christian Americans feel royally screwed by President Obama and the Democratic Party.

They lied to us.

They promised they'd support Israel just as stongly as the Republicans.

They lied.

Jewish-Americans worked like dogs to get President Obama electedl, and now his minions sound like something out of 1930's Germany.

I'm Jewish, and I'm sick and tired of people posting against Jews and Israel and for Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Suicide bombers.

Every Jewish member of the Obama admiistration should resign in protest.

If President Obama and the Democratic Party abandon Israel, Jews and Christains will leave the Democratic Party.

Its good to see the mask ripped off the anti-semites that are out there.

Its good to see that Democrats are no where near as good, nor Republicans as bad, as we had thought.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This song and dance has been going on for years. Let's stop the word games. Organic growth, aka expansion, aka new building, aka as land grabbing aka colonization. All the same.

If an ally is causing you problems, you speak with the ally, sometimes forcefully. Is the Israeli political class so fragile it cannot cope with a confrontation with the USA? If so, we don't need such tender and troublesome friends.

Israel can do nothing for America in relation to Iran. Israel will not bomb Iran at America's behest. Israel will only do so if it is in Israel's interest. So if Israel wants the USA's help with Iran, Israel has to pay for it. The price = stop "organically" colonizing the West Bank.

America treats all of its allies forcefully sometimes, even Great Britain. Israel should not get better treatment than any other US ally, especially because it gives us nothing in return. We don't even have bases there and we're a net contributor to their economy, not the other way around.

Why is America enthralled to that country? Ridiculous.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | June 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Others have already pointed out the strategic soundness of Obama's approach. I'll just point out how pitch perfect his statements were. Before criticizing Israel and giving them the "tough love" so badly needed to get the peace process moving forward, he made clear and in no uncertain terms how important they are as an ally.

Its so nice having adults in the whitehouse again.

Posted by: tgoglia | June 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse


Jewish Americans will never forget how hoq our fellow Democrats fell all over each other to crap on the Jews and kiss the Arabs asses.

Its good to know what your neighbors really think of you.

Please don't go to any Jewish Doctors or Lawyers, anti-semites.

If you hate us and Israel so much, don't come to us to patch you up, make you well, or save your rear-end in court.

Americans are some of the biggest bigots in the world.

Lincoln would be ashamed of every anti-semite in America.

So am I.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The difference between the approaches of all other administration is that Obama actually wants peace in the middle east. Obama wants peace for those involved, not just on group of people. Obama understands that until Isreal offers more to the palenstine people than empty words and messages from F-18s,Isreal will not have peace itself.I doubt that any republican can see beyond their nose when it comes to Isreal and so they offer no real solutions.Obama will not put sanctions on Isreal or turn on Isreal but he can offer them a real long lasting plan for peace.The Arabs will recognize Isreals right to exsist as long as Isreal offers the palenstine people the same right.Once Isreal does this, the moderates will reward the Isrealites with recognition and thus this will make Iran less of a want a be superpower.Peace can not exsist if the parties do not get something in return.For Isreal is peace and the palenstine people, a homeland.Until than, radical will rule on both sides and bloodshed will continue to spill on both sides. Peace will not come easy but when someone has a vision for progress, peace can happen, Obama has atleast a vision which is more that we can say about republicans.

Posted by: Realistic2 | June 2, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

From the article:
"Clearly, this [U.S. insistence on a settlement freeze without loopholes]is an effort to shape Arab opinion and show that the Obama administration is more even-handed than its predecessor."

I think this is a cynical and selfish view, but that's just me. Try this - look at this as an American and from an American point of view. A settlement freeze on land that does not belong to Israel is the right thing to do because stealing land is wrong, illegal, provocative and it leads to perpetual violence. Stay with me. A settlement freeze would facilitate negotiations in good faith. We're almost there. Negotiations in good faith could lead to a lasting peace. A lasting peace is in America's best interest and in the best interests of the rest of the world. Welcome home.

Posted by: maxfli68 | June 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Unclench the fist at a government that daily calls us the Great Satan, while balling up a fist at a longtime ally."

So Israel is an ally ...

In general, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose.

What is the benefit for the USA to be the ally of Israel ? Now, what is the cost in term of image, taxpayer money, etc. ?

I didn't say that USA should now be the ally of Iran. But consider if it's in is own interest to be such a blind ally of Israel anymore ...

Now another topic, what would Californians say if Mexico began to build cities in California because of its "natural growth" ?

1) Welcome ?
2) Take it, it's all yours, you need it more than us ?

Posted by: mamatte | June 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

1. Obama needs some street cred. The West Bank settlements are easy street cred. Israel is far from united in thinking the West Bank settlements are there to stay forever. Outside Israel, and some parts of America, no one thinks the settlements are legal. Inside Israel the issue is unsettled. So Obama asking for movement on the settlements is the logical play.

2. Placing sanctions on Israel would be political suicide for Obama. However, icing military relations with Israel is easy. We are close to fielding an anti-mortar, anti-rocket laser based weapons system. This is exactly what Israel needs to moot rocket attacks from Gaza and southern Lebanon. Israel wants it badly - we don't have to sell it to them when its ready.

Even if they won't bow to US pressure, the Cold War is over. We do not need the IDF to fight Soviet proxies in the Middle East. From sometime in the Fifties until 1989 we needed Israel more than they needed us. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the balance of power in our relationship shifted to the US. You will notice that their approach and policies regarding the Palestinians started shifting at this time. I am not advocating abandoning Israel, but I am not willing to follow them blindly.

Posted by: caribis | June 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse


If anyone thinks that "the settlements" are what's standing in the way of peace, they're idiots.

Israel will give up the settlements.

Israel is glad to trade land for peace, or pretty much anything else for peace, but the problem, and please listen/read carefully here, is that the official and private position of the Arabs is that they want to destroy Israel.

Hamas's official position, as well as the position of all the Arab terrorist organizations, and Iran, is that they want the state of Israel to cease to exist.

Israel is glad to tear down and remove any settlements as long as there's at lesst some of Israel left.

Israel has given the Arabs land for peace before.

Every time Israel has, the Arabs have used to closer borders to launch deadly rockets farther into Israel.

Israel was created by the UN on land that belonged to the British that they donated to create a homeland for my people, the Jews.

Six million Jews. One third of all the Jewish men, women and children on the planet were murdered in cold blood by the Nazi's.

Anyone seeing the posts on these boards, except genocidial Nazis who want to wipe every Jew off the planet, can see that Jews need a homeland of their own.

Israel is that homeland.

Even for Jews that don't live there, it is our spiritual homeland.

The USA and Israel are close allies, as they should be.

Israel is a modern, mostly secular country.

The Arab countries treat women like crap, cut people's hands and heads off, and want the entire world to stop singing and live under brutal sharia law.

I can't see a rational reason in the world for any American to crap on Jews and Christians and praise Islamic terrorists that supported 9/11.

Its weird as can be to see all the anti-semitic posts.

In my daily life with other Americans, relgion doesn't come up.

Its simply astounding to see such rancid anti-semitism just below the surface.

Its really, really sad.

If President Obama and Democrats screw Israel, Jews and Christians will never forgive them.

It is our holy land.

For Jews, it is the only country in the entire world where we're not a tiny minority, constantly at risk of pogroms, Nazi's, Arab Terrorists, and Jew-killers of all varieties.

I live under a death-sentence.

So do my kids.

So does every other Jew on the planet.

It really, really, sucks.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Robert Kagan writes:

"Instead, by insisting that the Israeli government not only put a freeze on new settlements but also halt “natural growth” in existing settlements, the administration has set up an unavoidable and possibly unpleasant confrontation with Israel, precisely at the moment it is importuning a truculent Iran. This sets up quite an image: Unclench the fist at a government that daily calls us the Great Satan, while balling up a fist at a longtime ally."

That Iran calls America "The Great Satan" is no big deal. But that Israel continues to subjugate the Palestinians is of life-and-death consequence.

It is about time that the U.S. government stood up to Israel and demanded an end to these illegal settlements. Israelis have no legal right to put up homes on land seized in the 1967 War, nor do they have any right to commandeer land owned by Palestinians for their new outposts or for "natural growth."

Posted by: reder01 | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

'regime change'....how absurd of Kagan to evok the defunct Bushism. Obama has always believed in the rule of law..Israel is off course re settlements. Israel has to be held accountable for violation of the UN resolutions. Israel has turned its 'occupation' of Palestinian lands into an 'ownership' of the land. This is wrong.

Obama has not clinched his fist in the face of Israel....he reiterated to Israel what is commonly accepted under international law.

Posted by: wrock76taolcom | June 2, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

No more money - For any reason - period.

If AIPAC, Netanyaya or Lieberman have a problem with that - tough.

The Israelis seem hell-bent on starting a middle-eastern war, then they should get NO SUPPORT at all from us. A conflict of this magnitude could go nuclear at anytime and that's the LAST thing the world needs st this point.

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | June 2, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Let me see how this works. We have to negotiate with Hamas because, after all, Hamas is a popularly elected government. But Netanyahu and his government have to go because, after all, they are a popularly elected government.

Syria, a dictatorship controlled by a single family; a dictatorship on the State Department terrorist watch list, must be handled with kid gloves while Israel must be bulldozed into returning the Golan Heights.

The Jewish state stands in the way of eternal peace in the Middle East. Such are the consequences of Obama's Kumbayah talk therapy foreign policy.

Posted by: Leopold1 | June 2, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama courageous? Foolish? Both?

You wouldn't understand, Mr. Kagan.
You're in denial about the last eight years.

Posted by: wardropper | June 2, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 2:23 PM

"Six million Jews. One third of all the Jewish men, women and children on the planet were murdered in cold blood by the Nazi's."

So now, of course, Israel has the right to do whatever it wants, during 300 years or more ... Thanks to respect those 6M people by not doing the same thing to others now. They also have been thrown away from their home once.

"Anyone seeing the posts on these boards, except genocidial Nazis who want to wipe every Jew off the planet, can see that Jews need a homeland of their own."

We don't talk about the Jews having or not having a land. They have one. We're talking about the Jews not building their home in a land that is no theirs ... I don't feel so Nazi to think that.

Posted by: mamatte | June 2, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Why are all you anti-semites so up in arms about a few small settlements, literally a few acres of land?

Why aren't you upset about Arab suicide bombers?

Why aren't you upset about 9/11?

Why aren't you upset about the Islamic terrorists in India that took people hostage, singled out the Jews, and murdered them in cold blood, including a very beautiful young girl that would have grown to become an adult, and have a husband and children of her own, but had the misfortune of being born Jewish and was murdered in cold blood because of it.

The Arabs have thousands of times more land, with trillions of dollars of oil under it.

Oil money has made the Arabs the worst "spoiled brats" in the history of the planet.

The Arabs have thousands of times more land and all the money in the world, yet they covet tiny Israel's tiny land and want to destroy Israel, every Jewish Man, Woman and Child in it, and drive it into the sea.

If there wasn't a single Jew on the planet.

If Israel no longer existed, and the Arabs got back the land, smaller than New Jersey that Israel had.

Arab's would still kill each other, sunni and Shiite, and would still use terrorism to try to force the entire world to convert to and practice Islam and Sharia law.

The Arabs will keep fighting sunni vs shiite until they kill every single one of each other.

And every American as well.

I'm a Jewish-American.

I'm sick of being Crapped on.

Part of me wants to curl up and die.

But, thank God, a bigger part of me wants to stand up and scream out in anger at those who post against Jews.

How dare you crap on Jews and Israel and praise the SOB's who attacked the US on 9/11.

What in the HELL did Jewish people, especially Jewish-Americans, do to you to lead you to support the Bozo's who cut off Daniel Pearl's head and who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 and 4,000 more since then in Iraq and Afghanistan?

And by the way, anti-semites, check the stats.

Jewish Americans voted against Both Bush's, both times, and were strongly against the war in Iraq and strongly for President Obama.

Jewish Americans are loyal Democrats but we're above all loyal Americans.

If the Democratic Party abandons Israel, the "America like" guys in the middle-east, Jews and Christians will abandon the Democratic Party.

Don't forget, Republicans were riding high a few years ago.

To this Democrat, it looks like Democrats are getting "Drunk with power" and a really ugly, Nazi side, that we want no part of, is coming out.

Please don't crap on Jews and Israel.

Learn the facts.

The USA and Israel are the good guys.

Don' fall for terrorist PR.

Don't spread it, or hatred of Jews or Israel.

The Arabs do way too much of that already.

They certainly don't need the help of people who post on these boards.

Jewish-Americans and Israel, do.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Boy, when the Military Corporate Infrastructure pulls a political "hack" around by the nose, they've really got him!

"...take a soft approach to Iran, seeking talks, holding out inducements and never discussing penalties, bending over backwards to make accommodations, that it would not simultaneously pursue a confrontational policy with Israel."

The President has already stated that he is looking at the Israeli solution as it effects the Palestinians. How you equate the Palestinians with Iran, only a saber rattling "hack" such as yourself would understand.

Iran could care less whether Israel puts a freeze on new or existing settlements. The only reason the Iranian putz Ahmadinejad has taken this path has been because the previous Presidential Putz wanted to start WWIII against the Muslims, whether they were combatants or not.

Lay down your saber "hack!"

Military action as the first option are over!

Killing innocent civilians as the first option are over!

Spilling the blood or our finest in the interest of Corporate Welfare are over!

Just go write more chest-beating books for the Chickenhawks who are interested in your garbage and leave the rest of us who are sick and tired of your NeoCon saber rattling, the he11 alone.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | June 2, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse


I'm Jewish, and I'm sick and tired of people posting against Jews and Israel and for Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Suicide bombers.

Every Jewish member of the Obama admiistration should resign in protest.

If President Obama and the Democratic Party abandon Israel, Jews and Christains will leave the Democratic Party.

Its good to see the mask ripped off the anti-semites that are out there.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

######################################

Cut out the garbage. Anytime that somebody protests a policy of this Israeli government, you call them an anti-semite.

Posted by: maggots | June 2, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse


Oh please Israel, please bomb bomb bomb Iran now..

I do so want to see a war there that will finally put an end to all Zionist and their treachery here in this country is worse than it ever was in any other.

Bombing Iran will so unify the entire region in ways that will break the strangle hold of the Zionists in this country, and show what they truly represent.

go ahead, make my day.

Posted by: wowisdabomb | June 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

It wouldn't matter what policy approaches the Obama Admin attempts with Iran or Israel, Kagan would oppose it. Like Krauthammer, Gerson, Kristol, he is blind with rage that the neo-con dream has ended in international disaster. Who to blame? Not themselves, of course.

The Bush Admin's last attempt at working with Israel and Palestine may go down as the biggest "diplomatic" joke of all time. You couldn't really call it diplomacy.

Now, by asking Neyanyahu to conform to international agreements, Obama is "trying to bring the Netanyahu government down"? This is "regime change" Kagan writes. The only regime change this Washington Post reader wants is the end of these failed right-wing nuts making a living off a fine newspaper.

Posted by: gposner | June 2, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

n ally? More Americans are in prison in the SU for spying for SIrael than any other foreign power....

Israel made International commitments regarding the West Bank and hasn't lived up to them This garbage about "natural growth" is just incremental occupation. The settlements are illegal. If Israel won't leave don't send over the next aid check.
If Israel won't leave, they should expect more Palestinian terrorism. And no peace. Why should the palestinians meekly accept their fate

Posted by: rpp1 | June 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Israel is the only Liberal progressive country in the middle east.

How could any "liberal" or "progressive" crap on them and praise Arabs that treat women like crap, cut off Daniel Pearl's head, attacked the US on 9/11 killing 3,000 Americans and then killing over 4,000 more in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If there was no Israel, Arab Sunnis and Shiites would still kill each other and Arab Islamic Terrorists would still use terrorist to kill Americans and to try to convert the entire world, by force, to live under Islam and Sharia law.

The problem isn't Israel.

Its the Arabs.

The Arabs attacked the US on 9/11.

Not Israel.

Don't fall for terrorist PR.

Don't spread hatred of Jews and Israel.

The Arabs do way too much of that already.

They don't need your help.

Jewish-Americans and Israel do.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yet another stupid neocon article in the WaPo. If I wanted to read this crap, I'd subscribe to the Weeky Standard.

Posted by: kurthunt | June 2, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

UniversalHealthCareNow, it's time for your Disney Cartoon, run or you'll miss it. Hope you'll understand what Mickey says (He will please you, he is the good guy against the bad guys.)

You don't seem to understand the world : too complicated for you. More complicated than : anti-semite and suicide bomber's friend (everyone who is not blindly pro-Israel) Vs. Jews.

Be carefull, it hurts : one can be against settlements in Palestine and not especially anti-semite.

In this post, people are talking about politics, laws (and other complicated stuff you'll learn later if you go to school one day) and you're talking about simplistic cliché, again and again. Because you don't have much to say ...

Posted by: mamatte | June 2, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Israel may be an ally to the United States, but Israel must also remember that Friendships should not be abused and taken advantage of, but respected. When it boils down to it, for American's the security of America is above all what is paramount above Israeli wishes to continue to defy international law, UN mandates and the like while perpetuated in the name of national defense. If President Obama is unable to pry the necessary concessions from Israel in order to acheive a lasting peace in the Middle East - fear not, because more Americas today have began to educated themselves on the issue in a historical and objective fashion, instead of the periodic Isreali lobby commercials that tout the reason's for Israel's actions.

One day, whether the Jews of Isreael wish to face this fact or not, their relationship with will change for the worse if they do not comfront these truths now.

In the future, the leaders of America may decide to do away with the free pass given to our Middle East ally, not because we are anti-Semite, but because the arrogant leaders of Isreal who have for years boasted of controlling the levers of America's power will have given our future leaders an undeniable body of evidence to justify this much needed adjustment.


If I am correct, the past 3 wars have occured because our government acted against a country who violated UN sanctions. Israel for far to long has flouted the international communities call for true engagement in the peace process starting with the halting of the settlements. Israel's response has so far been a big F U. Americans who love this country will refuse to continue to allow our monetary and military resources to be drained as a result of being drawn into a fight on behalf of a country that could not survive if not for the generous tax dollars of the US along with the threat of U.S. military might. One day, it just might all go away...

Posted by: Just_An_Observer | June 2, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Universal:

Your commentary is unreal. Israelis and Jews are not synonymous, or do you trash Diaspora & Israeli Jews who oppose settlements too? Are you like the super-Jew, more authentically Jewish than every other Jew in the world? I think not.

The US government can multi-task. It can oppose Bibi and Arab terrorism at the same time. It's not either/or.


Posted by: Matthew_DC | June 2, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"the administration has set up an unavoidable and possibly unpleasant confrontation"

Some administration did this, but not the present one. The inevitable confrontation is a direct result of US pressure on the United Nations to create the religious state of Israel. The entire world has been affected by the chaos that this created, not to mention the untenable position of the US in supporting this religious state when calling other religious states "evil."

Posted by: kengelhart | June 2, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Kagan truly has divided loyalties.

Obama already made a serious concession in setting a 1-year deadline to getting movement from Iran on the nuclear issues. He's not going to get what Netanyahu wants from Iran unless Netanyahu is willing and able to match Iran.

Unless, of course, what Netanyahu (and I suspect Kagan) really want is a strike on Iran.

Obama doesn't need to propose sanctions against Israel, all we need to do is block some of the aid which is propping up Israel's military and settlements both.

Finally, a question: What exactly has Israel done for the US, other than let us feel good about supporting an underdog (now turned into a bully)?

-tested new weapons and urban warfare tactics. (Used to lose the occupation of Iraq by turning the populace against us.)

-provided intelligence cooperation against the USSR and some Arab states. (While taking as much through espionage against US as they gave, and creating the situations in which we needed intelligence on Arab states.)

-provided US Jews with opportunities for a commitment to a Great Cause. (Provided US citizens the opportunity for divided loyalties.)

-Provides (unintentionally) US fundamentalist Christians with hope for an imminent Apocalypse and Second Coming. (Nothing else needs to be said.)

Post-WWII, we joined Europe in an act of expiation for the mistreatment of Jews. That was significant and important. Unfortunately, we dumped most of the costs on the largely innocent Arabs of Palestine in a late grand act of colonialism.

But I'm not getting the feeling that it has had such a great cost/benefit ratio over the last 3 decades.

Somebody tell me why I'm wrong?

Posted by: j2hess | June 2, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama said it pretty well: friends are honest with each other. The honest truth is that Israel has been unreasonably dependent on "unconditional love" from the US for way too long. Even a parent, whose love for her or his stubborn and self-centered teenager is unconditional, knows that sometimes there have to be limits and consequences. The same must be true of friends and allies. Obama has just declared an end to the spoiling of Israel. Hooray for him.

Posted by: martimr1 | June 2, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama will back down, if the Israeli government refuses to agree to his initiative. This should be obvious to everyone, including neo-cons. The chances of the Obama administration imposing sanctions on Israel for any conceivable action by Israel, including expanding settlements and/or expelling Palestinians from West Bank, is zero.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | June 2, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse


The US does NOT need Israel.

They cause us here in the USA to have problems with Muslims of every sect.

We should just stop supporting everything they do. When people voted for Bush they were NOT voting for Israel, and those of us that voted for Obama certianly did not vote for Israel.

Leave them to their fate and let's get on with our country!

Posted by: dataport34 | June 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

In 1939, the Nazis were looking for "Lebensraum" (actually they were talking about this since 1925), something like : some space for the natural growth of its population. Don't need to add that they found it taking "little acres" (well, a little more than that in fact) from their neighbour's land.

They were also speaking about something like "Holy Land", claiming that it was their right to live in this land, wathever the international laws said (the name was "Großdeutsches Reich", they toke the name from a book). This "land" was bigger than what Germany were in those days.

They were laws at the time that said otherwise. For example, Austria was not part of Germany according to international laws. But they wanted Austria, since it was part of their "Großdeutsches Reich". For that they used the "Lebensraum" excuse. And they broke the international laws to recover what they saw as their "Holy and unified Land".

...

Sorry for the analogy, from far exagerated of course. Just to say that to steal land is to steal land ... whatever you call it.

And to break international law is to break international law.

Posted by: mamatte | June 2, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

God forbid the United States doesn't let the government of Israel dictate every little piece of its foreign policy in the Middle East. It should make every citizen of the United States sick that a foreign entity has so much control of our internal decision-making. Could you imagine if China told us that they're going to take over Taiwan tomorrow and we'd better shut up about it or else they'd make trouble for us back home? It would make every patriotic American shudder.

Posted by: Fuzzy21 | June 2, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

From a previous post:
"Why are all you anti-semites so up in arms about a few small settlements, literally a few acres of land?"

Isn't this mentality amazing. This is what the President and the rest of us have to endure every time we get a Likud government. There are now 500,000 Israeli settlers on other people's land in two locations, and people claim this has nothing to do with Middle East peace or our miserable image in the Muslim world of one billion people. There is no point in stopping in Tel Aviv again until the current Israeli government is replaced. And this will be the third Likud government collapse for exactly the same reason; and two times with the same Prime Minister. Hello!

Posted by: maxfli68 | June 2, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Kagan hasn't read the polls...or wants to pretend he has not?

Most Americans would not only like a confrontation with ISrael and it's fierce attach at the taxpayer's teat...

it will explode in joy when it's detached...rather might just explode if that greedy attach keeps up.

Why do you think this country voted for the one presidential candidate that would
detach us from Israel? The one with the middle name Hussain?

Some of the neocons just cannot imagine their duplicitious games ending. Still think Americans are dumb. Still calling for bombing Iran...sending Ehud Barak to threaten our leaders regarding the settlements.

But it's over. Even if some horrid event is loosed. The old 'games'. Like 9/11. But It's over. It's over.

Posted by: whistling | June 2, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Kagan is making a joke - after all he called Israel a 'long time ally' - LOL. Fact is all the settlements are 100% illegal. I guess for Kagan, breaking the law is OK if you're a NEOCON. BTW, has Kagan been right about anything?

Posted by: marcedward1 | June 2, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The usual Obama double-talk is occurring. In an interview with the British press, Obama stated that the U.S. must not impose its values on other nations. Yet, he is imposing his values on Israel.

Posted by: judithod | June 2, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Israel takes advantage of the U.S., right and left, through Israel's AIPAC fifth column here. The US needs to act in its own national interest, which is not to support Israel uncritically. We have enough trouble with Islamists and so can use our huge support of Israel--economic aid but more important trade channels and military supplies--to force them to a peace. Israel is not our biggest problem in the world--let them solve it themselves.

Posted by: audiemurphy | June 2, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Kagan -- the PNAC/JINSA/AIPAC tool.

If you gave him a loyalty test, America would not come first.

He also has a conveniently short memory.

The Israeli government committed to the Road Map for Peace in 1993.

A key element of the Road Map was the end of settlement expansion in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Israeli government never had the slightest intention of honoring that commitment.

As usual, the Israelis lied for the cameras -- and the Press -- and, within weeks, continued with settlement expansion and theft of land.

Posted by: pali2600 | June 2, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse


Kagan says if America/Obama doesn't do exactly what Israel wants...

what will happen? "The traffic at home" won't stand for it.

Anyone think a certain rage among Americans isn't planted in this kind of threat? Keep on Kagan, you hasten the day.

Posted by: whistling | June 2, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Jews always bring up the six million deaths in the Holocaust. A terrible, horrible disgusting thing. But, if you read the dialogs about Israel, you would think that six million people died in World War II. 45 million people died in that war. 2 million Armenians were killed in a similar Holocaust. Millions of Africans died as slaves in the US. The native American population was destroyed. Many peoples have experienced horrific pain.

While there are disgusting anti semites in the Arab world, usually dictators trying to focus their restive people on an external threat to draw attention away from their tyranny, the Arab world wants to have peace made and go on with things. They have said so time and time again.

Jews in America have hijacked our middle east policy to benefit Israel, and it is hurting the United States of America. We are Americans and need to be loyal to OUR COUNTRY. We need to use our resources to help Israel and Palestine make peace so the enmity directed against us subsides. America will come to the defense of a truly threatened Israel but being manipulated into attacking Iran on Israel's behalf by a steady drumbeat of propaganda placed by AIPAC is treason.

Posted by: audiemurphy | June 2, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse


The biggest danger to the Democratic Party is to be split apart because of the anti-semites.

Let me try it very simply for you guys --

Israel will not commit suicide.

Neither will the USA.

The anti-semites are simply that, anti-semites.

If they weren't, they'd be posting about how the US is run by the oil companies and the corrupt Arab countries they control.

Instead, they're crapping on Jews.

The Arabs have thousands of times more land with trillions of dollars of oil under it.

But they covet and want to destroy tiny Israel.

They won't.

But they very well may destroy the Democratic Party, and make President Obama a one term President.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE:

Read the memo--everyone who is critical of some Israeli policies is not an anti semite. You should seek therapy if you think all Jews operate under a death sentence. Are you loyal to America or to Israel?

Posted by: audiemurphy | June 2, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Foolish

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | June 2, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Robert Kagan is allegedly a "historian and foreign policy commentator" (Wikipedia) but you couldn't prove either appellation from this piece.

Let me lay this out for the good doctor.

The illegality of the settlements is beyond any dispute.

No less an eminent Republican than Ronald Reagan's former Chief of Staff James Baker, as G. H. W. Bush's Secretary of State, stated on 22 May 1991:
"I don’t think there is any bigger obstacle to peace than the settlement activity that continues not only unabated but at an enhanced pace."

The Shamir government's obstinacy on continuing settlement activity led to an unprecedented near-freeze in relations for a time.

Now that G. W. Bush's disastrous policies have led to a collapse in the United States standing in the Muslim world, only a show of respect for international law, and Israel's own solemn obligations undertaken as part of the Oslo process, can begin the process of restoration.

Every time the younger Bush broke with his father in foreign policy, the outcome has been disaster.

Obama is simply showing himself to be a better student of wise genuinely conservative foreign policy than G. W. Bush ever was or could be.

Posted by: careysub | June 2, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

audiemurphy --

You shame the name of a great American by using it as your handle.

No. There is no "Moral Equivalence"

There were no Gas Chambers any place else.

They didn't mass produce death any place else.

If the group of people who were suffering is any group buy Jews, liberal rush to defend them.

When its Jews, who are the most loyal liberals and memberof of the Democratic Party, Democrats can't wait to crap all over them and Israel.

Jews and Christians are extremely angry with the President for abandoning Israel and for going back on his campaign promises to support it as strongly as the Republicans.

Remember the Rev Wright affair?

Jewish-Americans took the President's word that he didn't feel the way Rev Wright did about Jews.

Remember the concerns about the President's Islamic background, including a Moslem Father, who Obama adored?

Jewish-Americans took the President's word that we wasn't an Islamist, that he was a Christian and that he would support Israel.

Its becomeing pretty clear that we've "been had"

President Obama is acting just like he would if he was an anti-semite, a Moslem, or a person of Arab background.

Instead of focusing on shutting down Iran's Nuclear Weapons factories, he's crapping on Israel and demanding the remove settlements.

Israel should do it and call his and the Arab's bluff.

The Arabs don't want peace.

The settlements issue are just another in a long line of "red herrings"

Israel should call their and the President's bluff.

If the President continues to show such incredibly strong bias in favor of the Arabs, every Jewish member of the Obama Administration should resign in protest to the President's failure to keep his campaign promises to support Israel.

And Jews and Christians should leave the Democratic Party.

Democrats have been glad to take Jewish-American's money and our votes.

Jewish-Americans are very, very, unhappy with "being taken" by President Obama, and by the Democratic Party.


Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Regime change in Israel is a good idea.

Israel is being held hostage by a coalition of lowlife, hard-right religious and political extremists.

Without ceding power to these lowlife splinter groups and factions it has become impossible to take control of the Knesset or to form a government in Israel. (Witness that the party which received the largest number of votes in the recent elections is not the party that formed the government.)

These hard-right lowlifes have no intention of either a) ceasing settlement expansion or b) pursuing a two-state solution to peace.

The very fact that they will not do anything to curb settlement expansion is proof of their opposition to a two-state solution.

Or are they willing to leave the illegal Jewish settlements as part of a new Palestinian state?

The answer, clearly, is no.

Hence no peace. Ever. Until the Palestinians are driven from both Gaza and the West Bank and the apartheid state of "Greater Israel comes into existence. Just as the Israeli hard-liners intend.

Posted by: pali2600 | June 2, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The British are the only real friends that America has. They are the only country in the world that would help us out in some situation outside of our borders just because we asked and even if it was inconvenient to them. That's what true friends do. Israel may technically be an ally but it is not a friend. If they were friends, they would have stopped building these freaking settlements many moons ago, because it is the single biggest irritant in relations between not only the US and the Arab world but between themelves and the Arab world. No goal of Zionism is worth all the trouble this has caused. Israel was allowed to be founded at the end of World War II as a refuge for survivors of the Holocaust and it remains protected as such. However, many American Jews and Israelis have abused this protection by using it as a pretext to pursue other goals. Jews who are currently immigrating to Israel are doing so in pursuit of a religious agenda, or because they are economic refugees from places within the former Soviet Union. This private agenda is not something that the American taxpayer should support, even though we do owe Israel our support as an ally in the same manner as Japan or Saudi Arabia. And perhaps if Israel starts acting more like a friend, they would merit our friendship in return on some other basis than our Congress being bribed into doing so. That kind of friendship may be temporarily convenient, but it is not lasting, and true supporters of Israel should recognize it as such.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | June 2, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"Jewish-Americans are very, very, unhappy with "being taken" by President Obama, and by the Democratic Party."

_____________________________________

So says the AIPAC/JINSA/PNAC/Israeli shill 'UniversalHealthCareNow' (previously known, laughably, as 'AmericaDemocracy')

Where is his evidence? Where is his proof?

Oh, that's right. He doesn't have any. Just endless Zionist nonsense and empty, meaningless threats as he conflates right-wing Israeli extremists and hardliners (dopes like himself) with American Jews.

And, of course, he's totally unable to answer even the simplest of questions.

For example:

Can you state, clearly and directly, the benefit to America of having Israel as an ally?

Posted by: pali2600 | June 2, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse


Jews have always been there for Democrats.

Now, after we worked our butts off and contributed millions of dollars to get President Obama elected, even after Rev Wright, even after questions about him being a Moslem rather than a Christian repeatedly came up during the Campaign.

Jews trusted President Obama and the Democratic Party.

Jews have gotten screwed.

We've been accused of many things, but being stupid isn't one of them.

We've gotten a great chance to see our fellow Democrat's "true colors"

You can all piss off and go to Hell the next time you want Jewish-Americans votes or money.

Jewish-Americans will not support a President or a political party that fails to support Israel.

The Arabs have infinite money and an infinite base of anti-semites, lathered up by hate speech, to help them.

Israel has had the US as a counter balance.

If the US abandons Israel, Israel will still survive.

But Jews and Christians will never, ever, forgive the President or Politial Party that screws Israel.

So keep on pouring it on, anti-semites.

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

I'm learning your hate.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"If anyone thinks that "the settlements" are what's standing in the way of peace, they're idiots. Israel will give up the settlements.Israel is glad to trade land for peace, or pretty much anything else for peace, but the problem, and please listen/read carefully here, is that the official and private position of the Arabs is that they want to destroy Israel. Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow"

Well yes but not Netanyahu, and no because, as long as there exist in Israel political parties that seek to have "ALL of the Kingdom of Israel" or "All of the Kingdom of David" as their uniquely Jewish land, no goyim allowed, and as long as Netanyahu insists on keeping them happy, peace isn't a possibility, not even if eighty percent of Israelis and ANY percentage of Palestinians is willing to settle for peace with defined borders.

The problem is those eretz Israel pursuirs, who need wars to give them the justification to sieze more land to incorporate into Israel. Every provocation that leads to conflict can be the justification for adding territory to Israel that can then be nonnegotiably part of Israel.

Of course the Kingdom of Israel contained lands east of the Jordan, now part of the Kingdom of Jordan, and the "mythical" Kingdom of David could conceive of claiming all of Syria and some of Lebanon.

Telling Netanyahu that he has to stop sending Jews into the West Bank is an attempt to get him to live in the real world, and Bibi has never been very good at that. Remember, the first intifada ended with the Oslo agreements, which Netanyahu repudiated, because "He wasn't bound by agreements made by previous (non right wing) governments"

And in fact, as long as Netanyahu's government stands, peace is out of the question, because Netanyahu wants everything else first, and then he will think about peace.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 2, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

When the Hamas change their charter and accept and recognize that Israel is a sovereign nation, has the right to exist and when they renounce and repent their butchery on Israelis and Palestinians then and only then should we be putting pressure on Israel to come to the plate. The last time they gave territory for peace, the Gaza Strip was taken by force and Palestinians were killed by Hamas and then their children were used as shields against Israeli's shooting back.
Israel is surrounded by barbarians and idiots that want them all dead. They are the Little Satan. America is the Big Satan. Israel is our only true ally. Too bad the leftist naive politically correct appeasers and apologists don't get it.
Read Because They Hate by Bridget Gabriel and learn something. Our President is an apologist but we didn't do anything wrong. Not one damn thing.
"Obama, who departs for the region on Tuesday, will use his address to try to repair some of the damage to America's image caused by the Iraq war, U.S. treatment of military detainees and the lack of progress in Mideast peace talks.

Posted by: mharwick | June 2, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The only "land for peace" deal the Arabs are willing to accept is 100% of Israel and they're offering to give Israel the peace of the grave in return.

Israel will not commit suicide.

The Arabs won't even accept Israel's right to exist.

The Arabs won't even renounce terrorism, like 9/11, remember it?

If the President and the Democratic Party screw Jews and Christians by screwing Israel, Jews and Christians will tell the President and the Democratic Party "Screw You"

Democrats are treating Jews like crap and going back on all their campaign promises to us regarding Israel.

We are not going to forget it.

If President Obama screws Israel, he and the Democrats will lose Jews and Christians.

Its our holy land.

Its very, very, important to us both.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Why you people still dont understand that PALESTINE as such has never, ever existed. This whole thing is/was an Arab invention to create political chaos in the world. They have achieved that! sure. We all can see that.
Palestine never existed and never will. There are no Philistine-people leaft. It is all arabs living in Gaza and West Bank.

ISRAEL exists for over 5000 years.It has been 'temporarely' invaded and distroyed by foreigners...Romans, etc etc. But at it's core ISRAEL has never ceased existing.

Jerusalem was built by israelites not arabs. Jerusalem is and forever will be Israel Capital. It is KING DAVID City! not ARAFAT no.one Terrorist-place.

It is obvious that it will take more than an Arab to realize this TRUTH = JERUSALEM is the SOUL and CULTURE of the JEWISH-people and the jewish people nation is called ISRAEL. And, it's capital is JERUSALEM.

Why continue the fight? No use! Because in the end...Israel will still be Israel and JERUSALEM will still be it's Capital. Because that's what God wants not what Arabs or you or me, wants!
Period.

Posted by: Dalva1 | June 2, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama is putting AMERICA FIRST, something the NEOCONS would be advised to do themselves. Settlements are ILLEGAL as per Geneva Convention and asking Israel to follow the law is the least we could do.

All American citizens who have gone to Israel as Settlers in occupied territory should be stripped of their US citizenship and the benefits that come with US Citizenship. We don't need US citizens who are fighting against our policies.


Posted by: dogsbestfriend | June 2, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

If the US asks Israel for 2 things, a freeze on new settlements and halt “natural growth” in existing settlements, with luck it could get the first, for some time.
Considering how far Israel has shifted to the right, the US is protecting its own interests by appearing a bit more balanced.

Posted by: nlloreda1 | June 2, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Because in the end...Israel will still be Israel and JERUSALEM will still be it's Capital. Because that's what God wants not what Arabs or you or me, wants!
Period."

Posted by: Dalva1 | June 2, 2009 6:14 PM

_______________________________________


All well and good.

But it would be much more convincing if you could have God tell us so Himself. Directly.

No offense, but I sincerely doubt that you speak for God. Or have first-hand knowledge of His wishes.

To be honest, you just sound like another religious crazy -- part of the problem and not the solution.

Posted by: pali2600 | June 2, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Kagan writes:

'Unclench the fist at a government that daily calls us the Great Satan..'

A 'Great Satan' caused this -

http://www.drjudywood.com/pdf/150_JudyWood_NIST_RFC6.pdf

..and all we do is postulate, pontificate, obfusticate, deride, isolate and retire.

America has become like Douglas Adams' 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', in which the 'Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal' was described as 'so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes that if you can't see it, then it can't see you.'

Wake up America and face history now, not in 100 years time when the truth will shock our grand-children and the legacy will stifle progress back to where the Celts lead us before the Romans destroyed everything.

Mark Golding
Children of Iraq Association

Posted by: coiaorguk | June 2, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

tony in Durham says 'everyone knows the settlements are illegal'...well, no

only idiots with an agenda

It is not illegal for victorious powers to occupy hostile
territory seized in the course of war until they are able
to negotiate a successful peace treaty with their former
enemies. The Palestinians have failed to recognize this
fact. As former President Bill Clinton stressed at a recent
conference in New York, the Camp David proposal was the
most sweeping peace effort ever made, and the Palestinians
said no.


Still, it's true that Israel's recent military incursions
may be provoking violent countermoves by suicide bombers.
The proper focus of criticism should be these military
actions, not Israel's maintaining a presence while it waits
for the Palestinians to negotiate a compromise for peace.
Injecting the word "illegal" into the conversation will
only shift the focus away from calming the situation and
increase intransigence by the Palestinians. Even the vision
of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to normalize
relations with Israel presupposes that under the spirit of
Resolution 242, Israel's presence in the occupied
territories is consistent with international law. In this
context, the choice of the words "illegal occupation" is a
perilous threat to the diplomatic search for peace.

George P. Fletcher is a professor at Columbia University
School of Law and author of the forthcoming "Romantics at
War: Glory and Guilt in the Age of Terrorism."


http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/21/opinion/21FLET.html?
ex=1017774698&ei=1&en=aad055c4cf12366c

Posted by: austin262 | June 2, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Israel and the Knesset are in the hands of religious and political extremists.

These are not people in the mold of David Ben-Gurion or Golda Meir or Itzhak Rabin.

They are in the mold of fanatics. They want an apartheid state of Greater Israel. And in their minds there will never be a two-state solution.

Anyone in any doubt should look at the political composition of the current Israeli government and at the views and opinions of senior Government members like Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism called Lieberman's campaign for Israeli Prime Minister, "an outrageous, abominable, hate-filled campaign, brimming with incitement".

America should not be aligning itself with the lowlife hard-right racist scum that now holds Israel hostage.

Posted by: pali2600 | June 2, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

To be honest, you just sound like another religious crazy -- part of the problem and not the solution.
------------pali2600

No religious craziness here. I am an atheist. But i know God-speaks!

Therefore...as Man, as God...or rather as Man=God, I speak for the Jewish People, not on behalf of them, but for them, that God truly loves them because they God loves themsevlves.

And thats the purest TRUTH!

Posted by: Dalva1 | June 2, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Right off the bat there is no connection and there should not one between between Iran and Palestine. These are two different issues. Making a link between the two is as usual a disingenuous effort to derail any progress in the Palestinian cause.

Posted by: usadblake | June 2, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"No religious craziness here. I am an atheist. But i know God-speaks!"

Posted by: Dalva1 | June 2, 2009 6:56 PM |

___________________________

Certifiable!

Posted by: pali2600 | June 2, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Universal Health Care:

Your personal attacks reveal that your EQ is about as high as your IQ. Your understanding of this issue floats along at the level of the cable talking heads.

Saying that no one else has suffered as the Jews have is morally repugnant and self centered. 11 million people died in the death camps and Hitler targeted all gypsies and gays among others.

If you are so concerned about other people dying--why arent you talking about the 5 million people who have died in the civil war in the Congo in the last 10 years.

No, you are only talking about Jews, and you are putting Israel and your paranoia above all other people. You deserve to be ignored, and you are no American patriot, but someone who cant conceive of the fact that a group with divided loyalties is dangerous to our country.

Posted by: audiemurphy | June 2, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I vote for foolish. Obama often speaks before he thinks or plans. He is too busy bending down (literally) before Muslims to see consequences ahead. A typical case of talking before thinking is the closing of Guantanamo. Plus all the other security measures that he criticized from the Bush administration that he has adopted now. And we make fun of Biden for his big mouth, but Obama is the "read the teleprompter and do not think".

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | June 2, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

There must be a brilliant strategy in here somewhere...though Kagan wouldn't know it if it bit him on his fat...Kagan and his PNAC co defendants belong in Abu Graib not on WAPO. though WAPO tortures the facts and reality it is still too good for the likes of that clown. Or it used to be...

Posted by: jpenergy | June 2, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Kagan clueless, ignorant or both?

Posted by: Honest_Abe | June 2, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

"While Netanyahu is victim to previous Israeli governments (including his own) misusing "natural growth" as cover for settlements' expansion and for establishing new ones as extensions of old, he seems ripe for an honest definition of the term. Let the two sides establish a clear demarcation of the build-up areas of existing settlements within the blocks; let them agree upon - and closely monitor -- the halt of construction beyond those boundaries; and let outposts' removal be implemented in a swift and irreversible way."

and

"With much at stake, we Israelis have been eager to identify friends, and equally quick in appointing enemies. All too often though, history has proven us wrong.

Few still remember that the emergence of George Shultz as U.S. Secretary of State was greeted with concern in Jerusalem. "An enemy" was born. After all, his previous tenure was with a construction giant whose business depended much on Saudi government contracts. Yet, few before him or since have enshrined their commitment to Israel in more meaningful ways: he initiated the two most important forums for bilateral consultations on Israeli security and economic needs. Both exist to this very day.

President Jimmy Carter is another "enemy." His bizarre anti-Israel twist of recent years is allowed to overshadow his unprecedented contribution to Israeli security when, as president he brokered the peace treaty with Egypt.

Finally, it was "the enemy" Jim Baker whose objection to our settlement policy was deemed more important than his statesmanship which dragged President Hafez Assad of Syria, along with virtually the entire Arab World to a peace conference with Israel's hard line Prime Minister Shamir.

Conversely, President George W. Bush, the most recent holder of the title "Israel's best friend ever in the White House" left a legacy with little evidence for contribution to that which is most relevant to Israeli security: reduced Arab-Israeli tension.

All this may suggest that something is wrong with our instinctive labeling of friends and enemies as well as with our definition of both."

Nimrod Novik
Chairman of the Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF) & former Foreign Policy Advisor to Shimon Peres

Posted by: j2hess | June 2, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

"I was wrong." Bingo -- but not in the way he asserts. The quality of Kagan's judgment is unequivocally established: foolish. Obama is providing a welcome alternative to years of blindly and blandly accepting anything the Israelis want to do. It's time to move beyond their unremitting sense of entitlement and to grapple realistically with competing, incompatible interests of regional players.

Posted by: frodot | June 2, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

What is so strange in Obama policy! Obama is not doing the Arabs and the Muslim world any favour. He is simply trying to save America’s skin and restore its spent credibility. This is how I understand what seems to be a change in American policy.
Obama would be right to think that Israel is responsible for all the antagonism Arab and Muslims have against America. Any rational and reasonable human being could see that America is guilty by association when it comes to things that are bad in the ME.
Can any rational human been absolve the US of crimes committed against the Palestinians?
Wasn’t America an active partner in Israel was against Lebanon in 2006?
Didn’t the American Veto at the UN during the war on Lebanon effectively prolonged the war for weeks and with it the suffering of the Lebanese people?
Would Israel have been able to commit the crimes it committed against the Palestinian in Gaza during 2008-09 without the blessing of the United states?
Would the siege of Gaza against one and a half million Palestinian be allowed to continue without American support?
Surely, any rational human being will know that this is bound to extract a price and undermine American interest. Obama is sensible for wanting to stop the rot and salvage some of what is little left of American credibility in the region.
Crying wolf is one of Israel trade marks and this is its usual ways to summon her cronies in states and elsewhere to start a chorus of intimidation and blackmail, and one is not sure whether Obama will have the guts to stand his ground.
So much is said about the “special relationship” between the US and Israel, but doesn’t Israel owes it’s American ally to take its interest into account, or does Israeli leaders consider that relationship to be a one way street?
America under Obama faces many challenges which dictate that the incumbent in the white house be visionary and resolute in dealing with these challenges. Most important among these challenges is restoring US moral authority to regain the respect required to ensure creating a wide international coalition crucial for facing other challenges.
Allowing Israel to operate with impunity outside international norm is the last thing he or the United States need. How could demand from others to respect international law when you are seen to be providing cover for Israel to break it?

Posted by: iztamimi | June 2, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Hardcore anti-Israelis like iztamimi want to finish what the Nazis failed at: the extermination of the Jews.

Posted by: ThisIsReality | June 2, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Kagan showing his loyalties in full screen technicolor. Israel first and foremost.

Posted by: likovid | June 2, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Israel was threatened with sanctions by Clinton when they were found to be providing military technology and aid to help the Chinese develop a modern force which we may find ourselves confronted with not to far down the road.
So, the friend thing has worn thin with a lot of folks.
Israel looks out for Israel first and foremost. And that's cool. USA should do the same. And that means finding a way to live amicably with a billion muslims. If we have to do that w/o Israel, so be it.
These settlements have been the tool for stalling progress towards an agreement that could be acceptable to all sides. That's totally on Israel.
The notion that Iran is going to attack Israel and kill millions of arabs in the process is a great story to keep the folks who believe that stuff in a frenzy.

Posted by: Stephen19 | June 2, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

That fat bastard Kagan must be stewing in his juices because Bush no longer runs the country, and nobody cares about his loony rants anymore.

Posted by: playa_brotha | June 2, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Kagan: I read your comment with great interest. You are smart but you are wrong. My friend, when smart like you makes a mistake, than idiots takes an upperhand. We need to hire heavilly soldiers from the state of Israel to fight the next war. Am I smart? or am I wrong? Why???

Posted by: Golam | June 3, 2009 2:41 AM | Report abuse

What crap. Kagan forgets to mention that halting these illegal incursions ("settlements" to the apologistas) was a conditon of peace talks with the Palestenians. Obama's not asking the Israelis to do anything but live up to their prior commitments. It's about time a President of the US talked straight and stopped taking orders from Tel Aviv. I have gone from being a vocal and ardent pro-Israeli supporter to becoming appalled by their barbarous oppression of the Palestenians and failure to live up to the various agreements reached in the "peace" process. Israel certainly has threats but until it starts treating others the way it wants to be treated it will no longer be able to claim some "moral" high ground.

Posted by: Omyobama | June 3, 2009 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Kagan: "But if Israel can’t or won’t deliver, what does the Obama administration do next? If it backs away from its demand, then it proves itself impotent in the face of Israeli intransigence, thus presumably weakening its standing with the Arabs. But if it doesn’t back down, what forms of punishment does it intend to carry out to force Israel’s hand?"
------------------------------------------
How about freezing the many billions of dollar the US give to Israel every year?
It's that money that make the occupation and expansion of settlements possible in the first place.

Posted by: Supertzar | June 3, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Israel First Kagan, who was one of the essential cheer leaders of the cabal leading our country into the disaster of Iraq, now has the gall to lecture our President on Middle East policy. The arrogance is astonishing. I often read that Israel is our ally. Really? Can anyone advise me what we get in return for the billions the Israel leeches off the U.S. taxpayers every year? What we get for surrendering having an independent foreign policy? And can someone explain to me how a so-called ally spies on this country, manipulates its political system and encourages it into endless war and conflict. Frankly, if Israel represents the best in an ally, then we are indeed in real trouble. I like how Obama is attempting to establish, for the first time in decades, a truly independent American policy- one that puts U.S. interests ahead of Israel's and its American stooges. Let's hope, for our sake, that he succeeds. Real independence- now that would really be change!

Posted by: andrewburroughs | June 3, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Not only has Israel absorbed Scuds at the request of the US, it has also refrained from finishing wars that it has won. Those here who fail to see Israel as a US ally are welcome to the company of the Arab world in which women and gays are treated like dirt and Americans are subject to kidnapping and murder. There are outposts and there are "settlements" that are suburbs of Jerusalem. This is not a trivial distinction. And if the Palestinians had ever been required to shape up they would no longer be languishing in refugee camps while their "leaders" pocket billions of dollars in UN aid, much of it paid by the US. Israel can manage without the tiny fraction of its GDP that comes from the US.

Posted by: melk2 | June 3, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Someone has to tell the Israelis to stop their landgrab. We have been their biggest enablers. We send them $5 billion a year and Kagan expects us to just shut our mouths.

Posted by: Marcaurelius | June 3, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Once again confirming progressives only care abut human rights in Israel, America and places governed by white conservatives. People of color or Muslims can kill en masse, hang gays in public, stone women to death and they could care less.

Bush, Sharon/Netanyahu and Milosevic are the only leaders the left has crusaded against. Duh. It's about politics and race, not justice.

Posted by: libertariana | June 3, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

"..People of color or Muslims can kill en masse, hang gays in public, stone women to death and they could care less."

Blatant racism reduced to the trail of a snail returning from a nights feed when the the 'white man' murders thousands of children in Iraq and slaughters the protected babies in Gaza. Justice and truth rule in the 21st century 'boy'.

Posted by: coiaorguk | June 3, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Sooooo MOSLEM TERRORISTS committed attacks on civlians in the past 8 years in
New York
Washington
London
Madrid
Moscow
India
Israel
Saudi Arabia
Egypt
Morroco
Turkey
Pakistan
Jordan
Kenya
Indhonesia
Tunisia
Algeria
Nigeria

all because of Israel?
Or is there more to it?!
This is what Israel hadto face for years.
Israel withdrew from Lebanon and in the end Hezbollah moved to its nortern borders and made sporadic attacks acroos the border and fired missiles at its cities
Israel withdrew from Gaza and Palestinians votre in Hamas and fired thousands of rockets at southern Israel.
The US must not pressure a Democratci ally (arabs and moslems VOTE and are in Israel Pariliament and have freedom of worship - unoike in all Arab/Moslem lands) to retreat and kick out thousands of its people from their homes when it does not feel secure to. Israel has more Rights to land it won when attacked by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967 then the US has to Indian (all US) and Mexican (New Mexico, Texas) land!. If you call me a "traitor" for voicing my opinion - well hey many Jewish veterans in Europe were murdered by their countrymen during the Holocaust.

Posted by: ProIsrael | June 3, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/The_Third_Jihad.asp

Posted by: ProIsrael | June 3, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I suggest for review the j2hess post at 8:37P
last night. He quotes a former Israeli Labor official. If true, the quote sheds more light than heat. Look for it, unless you are one of the posters bent on shedding more heat than light.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 3, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

We all succumb to selectively quoted moments in history and yes we try and nullify the accusations.

Lets look at some examples:

We are well aware that anything that could be said on the brutal Israeli occupation can be silenced with a mention of the Holocaust ; a crime the Palestinians did not even commit in the first place!

Suicide bombings? 1967? There’s no room to get into a crash course on Palestinian-Israeli history, but on 1967, the conflict was the logic response of people which had been displaced and robbed of their homeland; and on suicide bombings, they came in as a desperate response to massive brutality Palestinians faced since the start of the first Intifada in 1988, an upheaval which was largely non-violent but faced a heavy handed military response from Israel.

We learn the Hamas leadership are ruthless murderers willing to kill anything in sight (despite the fact that they have not resorted to suicide bombing, the most effective way to maim and murder, since 2005). On the other hand, the Israeli State, in spite of having massacred over 1,000 civilians, are somehow "humanitarian" mass murderers who do not target queues of people at bus stops... but target UN humanitarian convoys, UN buildings and Red Cross hospitals full of children, women, elderly and wounded men instead! All of this with a disturbing support of 95% of their citizens. We should believe that these are all unavoidable casualties by an army with hi-tech war equipment that could prevent this sort of indiscriminate massacres to take place –if there was a minimum will to prevent them. Nothing, absolutely nothing, excuses the scenes of suffering we have seen in Gaza.

Then we have the Qassam rockets, the ultimate "proof" of Palestinian wickedness, but again we ignore completely the context in which they came into existence, and it is the criminal Israeli blockade of Gaza, which is as indiscriminate as a rocket but far more deadly.
The Israeli scholar, Tanya Reinhart, gives the best argument to understand the logic behind Qassam rockets, the most ineffective weapon ever.

The bottom line however is that only the most fanatical mind can downplay the deliberate attack on civilians by the Israeli army.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies the careless (at best) murder of 412 Gazan children.

Posted by: coiaorguk | June 3, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

the bias of coiaorguk tsk tsk Before 1967 Jordan occupied West Bank and Egypt Gaza. But there was Palestinian terrorism only against the little Israel had. For the Jews should have NO State and Arabs over 25. And of course theres nothing wrong with firing thousands of rockets randomly at cities (after all they are non-Moslem infidels) And certainly Israel has no right to protect it's people from those incessant rockets and Hamas next door. "ISlam is Peace" (of the grave for infidels)

Posted by: ProIsrael | June 3, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Why aren't you in prison?
How will you ever pay for the damage you've PERSONALLY done to America?
Kagan, you and your neocon buddies are nearing your Day of Judgement.
We're sick and tired of supporting the murderers of ALL types.

Posted by: TOMHERE | June 3, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

As long as the American taxpayers are footing the bill, we have every right to demand that Israel follow the Law and keep their promises.
NO EXCEPTIONS.
No compliance - NO MONEY.
That's so simple ANYONE can understand that, can't they?

Posted by: TOMHERE | June 3, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I would say he is none of that but, a man with vision and wisdom that no one can describe. It is the kind of wisdom that people of God have-their path is different and directed and it does not "lean to his own understanding".

It takes that kind of strength to lead this Nation and its people. Since he has been in office many have called him many names and tried to put his style of leadership into words but, it takes real guts to take all this own and try to succeed when so many want one to fail. So, regardless he holds his own and the hope of our people.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 3, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Let me put it another way: "To be great is to be misunderstood". I do not know the course of it all but, I can say I would not want the job he has or be aggravated with the views of so many. He has to want to do this because "I really would be knocking some heads together!!" It is time for the people as a whole to stop complaining and start trying to get this whole Nation in order from top to bottom foolish or not. And if Obama is fool enough to try-I am fool enough to help him get it done.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 3, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Kagan should know that no economic sanctions are needed to punish Israel. The US aid to Israel, primarily military aid, has been $2.5B per year. This represents a lot of leverage in my estimation. Israel's GDP is about 201B. Israel currently spends 7.3% of its GDP on its military.
The expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel is unjust. It inflames the conflict between Israel and the Arab world. The mentality of Israel, is to use the holocaust, and the bible, as a justification for these actions. The United States cannot allow itself to be a partner in the creation of the settlements. Our military aid money is being used to enforce this policy and it is time to put this to a stop.

Posted by: eadler2 | June 3, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

It is sad when men cannot reason together. One cannot as a leader take one side of any issue. One must weigh the whole not part. Although as a Christian I must side with God it does not mean I should not listen and reason and remember that even we are not always right or on the side of right. God is the judge of that. Certainly revenge, murder and the like are not the side of God. So, it is well to listen, observe and hear the voice of Him not "lean to our own understanding". This is something that has been waged thousands of years and it will not be resolved in a day unless God himself decides to stop the foolishness. So, the wisdom is to listen and learn and really try to come to some rational conclusion in the Middle East because so far none of it has made much sense.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 3, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I encourage open diagloque with no commitment to anyone in the Middle East until they rationally sit and try to work a peaceful agreement without killing each other in the process and the world with them. Everyone wants what they want. No one has tried to really not to want but, do for the good of all. They are just full of greed and deceit. It is truly sad and evil.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 3, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It is me, me, me!. What about us? What about children and the future of the world and the earth. What about just being good?
It is really sickening that it is about money, power and "me". And if I do not get what "I" want then I take my toys home and make bigger and better weapons and destroy the whole damn thing. Very childish and evil. Just plain evil but, they are all going to their "Heave". No they are all going straight to hell in a pig basket.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 3, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Let's see - Bush embraces Ariel Sharon, collaborates in Israel's efforts to demonize Arafat and cripple the Palestinian Authority, invades Afghanistan, goes to war against Iraq while threatening Iran, supports a massive Israeli assault on Lebanon, and violates the rights of prisoners of war, and seeks an unprecedented expansion of Presidential authority - all in the name of the "War on Terror." However, Kagan is upset because Obama has told Israel that it has to live up to its commitment to a two-state solution and has indicated his willingness to engage Iran.
It is no wonder that the Bush administration was a disaster if Kagan was an adviser.

Posted by: cff2 | June 3, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Take a situation on the ground that looks like this.

1. A modern westernized democracy is occupying, outside of its boundaries, a hostile unincorporated territory, and sealing the borders of a second, much more hostile, unincorproated territory.

2. In order to have security from the first hostile unincorporated territory it builds a fence or a wall.

3. It then places more than one hundred thousand of its citizens beyond the security wall in the hostile unincorporated territory.

4. The natives of the hostile unincorporated territory had grievances with the modern westernized state both real and imagined before the wall and the settlement of more than 100,00 persons on land they previously thought was theirs.

5. The military of the modern westernized state would have had security issues just defending the border and holding high ground around its big airport and maintaining access to a river that both the modern westernized country and the hostile unincorporated area residents depend upon.

6. But there are religious fanatics in the modern westernized state. There are persons raised under totalitarian regimes who have recently flooded into the modern westernized state. These two groups are neither rational nor pretend to be friendly to modern western ideas.

7. So the modern westernized state insists on keeping more than 100,000 citizens in settlements in the hostile unincorporated state, either because a majority believes it is a religious "right" or because they believe that the hostile residents of the unincorporated state can be "ethnically cleansed".

8. Thus the modern westernized state has stretched its military commitment beyond defense of a defensible border and water supply to include suppression of violence all across the hostile unincorporated state. This military commitment is daunting for the modern westernized state but is a price it now must pay for its irrationality.

9. Meanwhile, the hostiles become ever more hostile.

Who can make the first move to break this cycle?
None of the current leaders of the modern westernized state seem to have the guts or the vision to do it. American SecStates Schulz and Baker provided direction in earlier times. One of the finest leaders of the little modern westernized state tried to provide this leadership only 10 years ago, and was assassinated by one of his landsmen for the effort.

Our current President will probably fail because of the intransigence of each; of the small modern westernized state and of the hostile occupied unincorporated territory and of the yet more hostile second unincorporated territory with the sealed borders. There is no harm in trying.

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | June 3, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Why don't we just describe it as "naive" and be done with it.

Posted by: prairiedog | June 3, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It may come as a shock to Kagan that Obama appears to be choosing strategic long-term interest of United States over that of its (nominal) ally Israel.

It may be even more surprising that he seems to show little fear of the formidable pro-Israel clicque which, through neocons and their equivalents during the CLinton years (Ross, Indyk et al.), have virtually usurped American Mid-East policy.

Well, the winds have changed, my friend. Why should we support the systematic land grab and ethnic cleansing that have been conducted with our money - while imperiling our own goals and objectives in the Middle East? Doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: muezzin | June 3, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Does Obama have the nerve to shut off U.S. aid to Isreal? Nevermind that Americans need this money more than Isreal does.

Posted by: SportingGoods | June 3, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The root of Arab terrorism is the school books put out by the Saudi government that teach hatred of Jews, Christians, Israel, and America.

The Saudi royal family depends on the Imans to keep the population under control and to stay in power.

The Saudi's export an anti-American, anti-Jewish, anti-anything-but-exactly-like-them, twisted version of Islam, which has serious anger, hate, xenophobia, and just general violence problems to begin with.

The Koran is very explicit in its command to them that they should convert the whole world to Islam, kill anybody who gets in their way, and to live in a permanent state of war -- see Jihad.

The Saudi's financed 9/11 and most of the hijackers/mass-murderers came from Saudi Arabia.

They all had been taught hatred of Jews, Christians, Israel and America, directly or indirectly by twisted textbooks written Saudi Arabia, Ok'd by the Royal Family, and exported to all over the world by them as part of their geopolotical strategy.

On September 9/11, Saudi Arabia attacked the United States of America, killing over 3,000 Americans.

But Bush couldn't attack the Saudi's, because they were old Bush family buddies.

The Saudi's were such good buddies of the Bush's that they bailed little Georgie out when he was about to go bust at Arbusto Energy.

The Saudi's were the secret investor.

So Bush sold the USA down the river.

Attacked Iraq to settle an old "family" score with Saddam Hussian

And 3,5000 brave American Service Personel died because of it.

The Saudi Princes are "really bad dudes"

I hope President Obama is using really long spoons when he supps with them.

The Saudi's must stop using, promoting, or exporting, schoolbooks, course materials, and other forms of media that promote baseless or "over the top" hatered of Jews, Christians, Israel, America, or any other group of people.

Bin Laden was Saudi.

The Saudi's financed and "staffed" the 9/11 attacks on America.

Saudi Arabia is not America's friend.

Only Bush and Cheney's.

Saudi Arabia must stop exporting hate.

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 3, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, really. The strategy isn't clear to Mr. Kagan, therefore there must be something wrong with it. Let me pose the following question: If a strategy is obvious, doesn't it make it easier to counter it? I would think someone at a `strategic think tank', and someone partly responsible for our great success in Iraq, would be aware of this. Does Mr. Kagan really think that there is a military or `homeland security' solution to terrorism, here or in Israel? There is the superficial view that a plant looks best if you work on pruning and the gardener's view that a plant will grow best if you work on the soil and light/moisture environment.

Posted by: instanton | June 4, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The methods of an appeaser are to praise an aggressor while admonishing a defender. And this is exactly what the president is doing.

All Israel wants to do is survive. All Israel's opponents want to do is wipe her off the map. One of those opponents (Iran) is building nukes to have the ability to do just that.

Funny, how the Democrats and this administration are planning ways to sneak in gun control to disarm law-abiding Americans, they openly favor a saber-rattling Iran having nukes.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | June 4, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Israel has been drunk on its own power for a long time. Bush was a great drinking buddy, buying rounds and assuring them their critics were all wrong. Obama's acting as a true friend should, and could actually save Israel from itself.

If there's no two state solution, exactly what is Israel's proposed solution for those inconvenient Palestinians?

Posted by: Seytom1 | June 4, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Its so nice having adults in the whitehouse again.

Posted by: tgoglia | June 2, 2009 1:52 PM

Tgoglia: Again? You must be REALLY old.

Posted by: Seytom1 | June 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Mr Kagan... "Courageous" or "Foolish" you ask? Lets look at the 2 words and try and find the root of them both...Ahhh, "core" and "fool"...Hmmm...Now I got it , cause only a fool who's core values are so outta wack could ever hope to to get the Jewish State to make grand concessions prior to its enemies stating, without preconditions,"Israel has a right to exist" ....

Posted by: Spartann | June 4, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I am sick of us giving all this money to Israel and them thinking they can behave however they want. The Holocaust was the most horrific thing I can think of in history, OK? But it doesn't justify the kind of treatment the Palestinians have received, the daily attempts to keep them smooshed into the ground, with no economic prospects, no hope, no freedom, no security. Yes, terrorism by factions in Palestine are to be condemned, but in return, Israel has taken several eyes for one, each time, killing many fold more Palestinians than Israelis lost in this conflict -- and so many children among them. The horrific difference is that it is the Israeli govenment that does this, with our money -- the government does it, not extremist factions, and so it is sanctioned. That is unnacceptable. So was the death of Rachel Corrie unnaceptable, and every death like hers.

It is about time someone drew some boundaries on this one-way relationship. Peace is in everyone's interests and it will never come like this.

I hope that if Israel starts a war with Iran -- which I fear they will -- we will sit it out. I hope that if Israel continues illegal settlements, we will begin to talk about their actions impacting the foreign aid package they get from us each year. It is just time that we put some conditions on our alliance.

People talk about "white guilt." What would you call the guilt we all feel about the holocaust? Gentile guilt? Even those of us who weren't alive then feel afraid to open our mouths about what Israel does because of it! I had a roommate call me a Nazi because I was upset about the Israeli destruction of a Red Cross station. I mean, NO criticism of Israel is tolerated AT ALL! It's way past time that changed!

And because of our feelings of guilt, we have been doing what Israel wants, instead of the other way around. If they choose to ensure their "security" by means that clearly do nothing more than promote and sustain conflict and frankly, behave in a manner unbefitting the supposed closest ally of the US, then we ought to really take a step back.

We need to behave with integrity, rather than displaying the very OBVIOUS double standard we have all these years in the conflict. Good for Obama.

Posted by: lilifreak | June 4, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

P.S. My father fought in WWII to defeat the Nazi's. So, I don't know WHAT I have to feel guilty about!

Posted by: lilifreak | June 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Dalva1 wrote:

“ISRAEL exists for over 5000 years.It has been 'temporarely' invaded and distroyed by foreigners...Romans, etc etc. But at it's core ISRAEL has never ceased existing.”
Reply:
How do you know that Israel exists for over 5000 years? Have you read the book that was written 5000 years ago? Have you seen the original book? Did man actually use written words in the book?
Why do you prefer to live in the past? It is now the year 2009 not 3000BC. People (or nations ) that live in the past have very little future – look at the Romans, the Greeks, etc. I have often asked what is the psychological illness that causes people to give up the present to live in the past.
You also say:
No religious craziness here. I am an atheist. But i know God-speaks!
Therefore...as Man, as God...or rather as Man=God, I speak for the Jewish People, not on behalf of them, but for them, that God truly loves them because they God loves themsevlves.
And thats the purest TRUTH!
Reply:
What do you smoke? Do you know what an “atheist” is?

Have you ever studied the English language, or grammar of spelling? Have you ever gone to school?

Have you ever sought medical help? Have you ever sought psychiatric help?

Maybe an “atheist” that believes in God and that Man=God is past help.

With your sort of mentality there is no hope for peace in the Middle-East.


Posted by: perez1 | June 4, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

So, is this the logic:?

You don't agree with what Israel is doing, therefore you are an anti-Semite.

This is really a lot like the Bush administration's argument:

If you don't support the Iraq war, you are anti-American.

Or . . .

If you think OJ Simpson is guilty, you are a racist.


C'mon. You know better than that!

Posted by: lilifreak | June 4, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

There were no Gas Chambers any place else.

They didn't mass produce death any place else.

.....

Posted by: UniversalHealthCareNow | June 2, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse
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Are you denying that the Nazi also attempted to exterminate other races and cultural groups? That's as bad as saying that no Holocaust happened at all. Or does only the suffering of Jews matter to you?

Bravo President Obama for pointing out that ALL parties to this are equally responsible.

Posted by: alysheba_3 | June 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

UniversalHealthCareNow wrote:

“Israel was created by the UN on land that belonged to the British that they donated to create a homeland for my people, the Jews.”

Reply:
But I thought you said that Israel had been there for 5000 years?

For the rest of my reply let me just list a few of your incoherent ranting:

“Six million Jews. One third of all the Jewish men, women and children on the planet were murdered in cold blood by the Nazi's.
Anyone seeing the posts on these boards, except genocidial Nazis who want to wipe every Jew off the planet, can see that Jews need a homeland of their own.
Israel is that homeland.
Even for Jews that don't live there, it is our spiritual homeland.
Let me try it very simply for you guys --
Israel will not commit suicide.
Neither will the USA.
The anti-semites are simply that, anti-semites.
Remember the concerns about the President's Islamic background, including a Moslem Father, who Obama adored?
We've been accused of many things, but being stupid isn't one of them.
If President Obama screws Israel, he and the Democrats will lose Jews and Christians.
Its our holy land.
Its very, very, important to us both.”

In all of your postings you have the same theme: you live in the past quoting form “books” written before recorded history, and you rant and rave like a drunkard, totally incoherently.

It’s fairly obvious that you need some sort of help. Its fairly obvious that debating with you is like debating with a 7 year old – you make as much sense or less.

Posted by: perez1 | June 4, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Okay no more smoke and mirrors from any of the nation-states involved in middle-east or those who would or should be!
First, did the US recognize Israel as a nation in 1948 out of deliberate policy choice as I believe or because Truman needed $25,000 for his 1948 campaign (this is true but not the reason for recognition in my opinion). So the US should and can announce the recognition of Israel a deliberate policy choice in 1948 for a variety of reasons, including US guilt for turning away Jewish refugees and sweeping the CAMPS under the rug during WWII until the very end. Thanks IKE or we would all be holocoust deniers.
Second, any ARAB state that wants to be recognized and assisted or be an oil supplier to US must immediately announce their support for the Existence of Israel as a STATE and UN recognition documents as valid. Third, US guarantees the 1948 borders of Israel and with respect to recognition of other portions outside 1948 borders openly state that these conquest lands are not repeat not recognized as borders of Israel by the US but that up to Israel and Arab nations to negotiate their long term ownership. But that must be recognized by UN! Finally as to Iran threat to Israel no nuclear guantees for Israel should Iran attack in any format! Again this pledge in recognition of Iranian full recognition of Israel and peace treaty beteen Israel and Iran.
what should be left on the table is a different approach! All US forces in Iran be posted to Iranian/Iraqi border! Borders of Iraq guaranteed by US but Iraq in return recognizes Israel, and recognizes US First Amendment of Constitution as part of its basic law. Again with respect to Arab states and Israel failure to recognize rights under first amendment (and I would add the eqivalent of ERA) then no US help and no involvement. Just to move long-range a formal peace treaty between Pakistand and India in which each renounces NO FIRST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS against the other or else US ends recognition and trade. China solution comes later. Let's stop posturing and pretending that the solution can come through smoke and mirrors and instead must be fundamental reform or US bows out! Hey we got room offer US citizenship long term for those displaced in Middle-EAST whether Israeli or Arab or Persian. We need to titrate our growing HISPANIC population with diversity.

Posted by: Vacation4243 | June 4, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The internet has now become the must powerful tool in media's arsenal, no one has complete control as to what goes out through cyber space. This liberation started with the Reagan administration and streaming campaign announcements via the net, then came porn. As with any legitemate power, responsibiltiy is the factor, the Obama administration has proven itself capable when tested to make the tough decisions, and Isreal knows this so does the rest of the world. Remember Sampson and Delilah, Sampson's father asked him a riddle to test if he was ready to rule, of course he answered the riddle correctly but the premise of the lesson is to fold; President Obama is under extreme pressures, this world is travelling through uncharted waters both the Arabs and the Jews know this, and both understand that these issues will have to take a back seat to the worlds issues at hand. First, the riddle relieved the pressure, Sampson's father was not so concerned about his son getting the answer right as he was in not putting his son under extreme pressure. Secondly, Isreal was not ready to come under another king so soon, the riddle also let the the Jewish counsel see if Iseral was ready to accept a governor, more pressure that they didn't want to put Isreal under.
I would like to see the Obama admistration take a courages stance and not worry about getting the answers right all the time, thats not what this is about, but allow ourselves to step back and let our Middleeastern community to just observe, and give counsel time to become wise.

Posted by: edtroyhampton | June 4, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Pathetic. Obama tries to introduce some balance with criticism of an obviously destructive Israeli settlement policy, and he is called a traitor and naive. This article exemplifies why Israel is stuck in stalemate.

The truth is, Israel is incapable of seeking peace because of its over confidence. A solution will need to be imposed in the region by an outside power.

Posted by: rjcrawford33 | June 5, 2009 2:52 AM | Report abuse

President Obama delivered an outstanding and memorable oration in Cairo, expressing American values and shared interests with the Muslim world. Admirably and effectively, Mr. Obama laid out a rhetorical "new beginning" for America in the Middle East.

But Arabs and Muslims have heard fine words before from American leaders, followed by more disappointment and deep sense of betrayal in the face of continued injustice in U.S. policies toward the Palestinians. This time Obama has led them to expect more than just rhetoric.

But Israel will never willingly allow the Palestinians the "homeland" Obama spoke of. If you have been following what has been going on in Israel and what they call the "territories", you know that there have been radical changes in Israeli society over the last twenty years or so. It is terrifying now to listen to young Israeli Jews (and young Israeli-Americans) talk in Jerusalem. Large numbers of these people have acquired a purely fascist mentality, inspired by both religious and nationalistic extremism. They consider Greater Israel, which includes "Judea", "Samaria", the Golan, and southern Lebanon, to be their God-given birthright. Many envisage a Greater Israel extending from the Nile to the Euphrates.

These militant, unnaturally aggressive extremists exemplify one extraordinary fact: Israel - with its 600+ nuclear weapons, the world's second-most powerful air force, and fourth-mightiest army, is exceedingly dangerous to all Arabs, all Iranians, and the entire world.

A radicalized Israeli population is one enormous hurdle Obama faces if he hopes to deliver on his pledge to stop expansion of Israeli settlements in the prospective Palestine. If he fails to deliver on this pledge, after all the fanfare, the Arabs (and Iranians) will never take him for anything more than a wuss.

The other huge obstacle for Obama is the right-wing Israel lobby in America, led by AIPAC and ZOA. The more left-leaning Jewish groups, such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now, seem to be hanging with Obama, at least initially. But no one should be confused: The real power over the Congress is still wielded by AIPAC and its affiliates.

If Obama is ultimately to succeed in his epic struggle to free U.S. foreign policy from Israeli control, he will need more help with Congress than can be provided by the sensible American Jews in the peace movement. It is going to require non-Jews to begin to take the issue of Middle Eastern peace more seriously. It is going to require them to take up the just fight for a viable Palestinian state.

The Netanyahu-Lieberman government will not agree to a halt in settlement activity, much less to a State of Palestine, without serious pressure from the U.S. America must be willing to apply that pressure until our objectives have been met.

Posted by: PJohnson1 | June 5, 2009 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow!

I must have missed the news about Rupert Murdoch buying the POST.

Today's DC POST Editorial Page looks like a cross between your sister tabloid, the NY POST, the WSJ, the Weekly Standard, and an AEI (or CSIS) quarterly, containing as it does a trifecta of Nazis; Kagan, Krauthammer, and Gerson.

Now I can see why FOX News Sunday is such a great cross marketing vehicle for the DC Post.

Congrats to Rupert for a great addition to his stable of ponies.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Posted by: macturna1 | June 5, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

We have witnessed so much blood spilled between Isreal and Palestinian conflict. Two state solution is fair game to all people, even grade four students are getting the buz word. Obama has 22 Arab states on his side, among them radical Syria bent on Isreali destructions. Will Isreali take advantage from this historical proposition. There may be a time when America would no longer be a super power. Or, a time when these Arabs would become spurerior interms of military might. Then, we would recall the Cairo speech as the missed opportunity.

In any case, any peace loving humans would be happy to see Isreali and Palestinian children grow up a neighboring states that share a common economic zones and free trade pacts, privilage that many regions in the world are currently enjoying.

Xumaandiid

Xumaandiid

Posted by: xumaandiid | June 5, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Again, this is a subject that just nags the mind. What is next? Israel and the Arab Nations stop all their foolishness over something that is not theirs in the first place. They cannot sit together one hour in peace. That is ridiculous. Children cannot play. Women cannot do what they do and men are acting the fool all the time. They have no idea of what peace is anymore. As a matter of fact it is about a fight that happened long ago and they continue the hatred and it is to the point they really do not know what it is they fight about. They are all stupid with hatred.

President Obama is saying look can you guys give it a break? And they still do not get the point. But, somehow they all will and not by man's hand. The shake up is coming and it could be the flu or the great earthquake but, they will all beg for mercy. God is truly tired and I mean the true and living God of all. So, it will not matter-they will be running to each other.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 6, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Obama now has proven he is neither. He is wise but, even his wisdom is not enough for these long time enemies. They know nothing but, hatred. They are now born of it. They bathe in it. Talk about sad-it is.

They need a real "butt" whipping and it is really coming. They could do a lot by making Gaza neutral ground period-a safe haven for all not terrorist but, a place where children can just get away from the stupidity of it all. And women can rest and men can be blessed. But, no they continue to wrestle in hatred. So, hate begats hate and war begats war and in the end there will only be complete destruction of it all.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 6, 2009 3:58 AM | Report abuse

They are so full of hatred they cannot see even though someone is born of they also can not be a part of.

Obama is not so full of hatred. He put down his faith and has not elected to be of any at the moment. And I cannot blame him. He quietly serves his God.

It seems people are ready to pounce on that which is personal to his or her household. So, when is it that President Obama can breathe? In every issue he has been trashed. But, Bush and Chaney who chose to strike and torture-you said nothing. What ignorance!!!

Posted by: Scar1 | June 6, 2009 4:08 AM | Report abuse

So you're saying don't criticize Israel because they might not like it and since there's nothing we can do about that, this will make us look weak?

Imagine saying the same about any other country. Imagine someone like Kagan ever saying "Gosh, we shouldn't be confrontational with (Iran, Russia, China, fill in the blank) because they might not be happy about this, and if they push back then we have no recourse, of course, and this will make us look weak."

Imagine taking such a simpering, weak-kneed, utterly powerless approach to anyone but Israel. Especially imagine saber rattlers like Kagan doing so.

This stance reminds me of the equally baffling right wing view of the financial companies, who after failing utterly, begged to be bailed out by the government to the tune of billions. Yet the government after giving away the money dares to ask for some assurances about how it's used (not as multi-million dollar bonuses for its top executives, for instance, to reward them for running it into the ground) and this, to people like Kagan, is "fascism". Or was it Socialism? Hard to tell with these people, it depends on which day you listen to them.

We support Israel in massive, overwhelming amounts. This does give us some sway you know, if anyone had the guts to use it.

Of course, this is the last thing that Kagan wants to see. Just keep funding their operations, and then complain that we have no say in the matter, poor us.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | June 6, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

If you don't know the answer, don't ask the question. This is neo-con politics at its cheapest level. How many more years do we need to have this albatross around our necks without the will to deal with it? It's been around since the very late 40s. Answer that question, svp. 'scuse me, but who/who offered to lift sanctions on Iran or was this just a misreading of a phrase in a speech at a time when the Iranians are going to the polls?

"Perhaps the Obama administration is trying to bring the Netanyahu government down. Regime change!" Interfere in Israel's internecine politics with Avigdor Lieberman as the FM? What stupidity, where's the evidence?

"Will the administration place sanctions on Israel at a time when it is offering to lift sanctions on Iran?" Again, this hypothetical devined behind your keyboard, deserves no response. Got no answers, no primary sources, then don't ask the question. Otherwise it become your opinion, your ill-informed ideology.

Posted by: harper-d | June 6, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

These so called "settlements" are not in Israel. Freezing them is but the first step in dismantling them. They are illegal by any standard of law.

It won't be the first time Israel shut down their illegal occupational enclaves. They shut them down in Egypt and Gaza.

Your comparison to Iran is apples and oranges. Iran has no settlements in foreign territories and it is Israel that actually has the nukes. When you speak of being evenhanded and applying santions try being just slightly rational.

Posted by: timothy2me | June 6, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Obama's a fool, who want succeed on the world stage, the Muslim will make sure of that. His friends the Saudis will stab him in the back, Iran and Syria don't need him, so who's listen? Not Israel, thy have a God.

Posted by: xthat | June 6, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Netanyahu should tell Barry that he will think about cooperating when Barry shows a legitimate birth certificate and proves hes eligible to give orders. Until then the Arabs have to agree to recognise the right of Israelto exist and also to fight terrorism along WITH Israel instead of supporting it with Hamas and Hezboollah etc... then maybe they can start the peace porocess

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | June 9, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

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