A Critique of Obama’s Understanding of Israel by an Israeli General – Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic via Daily Alert)

Jun. 2, 2015

A Critique of Obama’s Understanding of Israel by an Israeli General – Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic)

After I posted an interview with President Obama late last month, I received a comprehensive response from Yossi Kuperwasser, a former Israeli general and intelligence expert who served until recently as director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. His viewpoint, which is more-or-less a mainstream Israeli viewpoint, deserves airing:


  • I would like to set the record straight on President Obama’s recent comments in The Atlantic and at the Adas Israel synagogue. First, let me stress the shared values that anchor the U.S.-Israel relationship, as well as the gratitude I and every Israeli feel for the president’s unwavering support for our country.
  • President Obama’s anger toward Netanyahu is misplaced, especially given his extraordinary lack of criticism of Palestinians for far more egregious behavior. The Palestinians, after all, are the ones who refused to accept the president’s formula for extending the peace negotiations.
  • In response to these threats, all the president had to say at Adas Israel was that “the Palestinians are not the easiest of partners.”
  • Our core values are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this world, but Hamas proclaims “We love death more than you love life.” Happiness will be reached in the next world, according to the Hamas ideology.
  • So why does Obama pick on Netanyahu and not on Abbas? The most likely reason is directly related to a conflict in the West between two schools of thought, both dedicated to defending democratic and Judeo-Christian values: Optimism and realism.
  • Obama is a remarkable proponent for the optimist approach-he fundamentally believes in human decency, and therefore in dialogue and engagement as the best way to overcome conflict. He believes that Islamists can be convinced to accept a global civil society.
  • Netanyahu, on the other hand, is a realist. Due in part to Israel’s tumultuous neighborhood, he has a much more skeptical attitude of Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian President Rouhani’s government. Netanyahu does not see these groups as potential moderates.
  • Even though Israel, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, remains committed to the formula of “two states for two peoples, with mutual recognition,” the implementation of this idea at this point is irrelevant. The PA’s poor governance and the general turmoil in the Middle East render any establishment of a Palestinian state right now unviable.

(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)


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