Bret Stephens, formerly the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, and now a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, in a column appearing in The Wall Street Journal online today, examines recent efforts by Senator Barack Obama to get right with American Jewish voters, by getting right with Israel, and makes the following salient observations:
- "Take Hamas and Hezbollah, which pose the nearest threats to Israel's security. Mr. Obama has insisted he opposes negotiating with Hamas 'until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and abide by previous agreements.' He also calls Hezbollah a 'destabilizing organization.' But if Mr. Obama's litmus test for his choice of negotiating partners is their recognition of Israel and their renunciation of terrorism, then what is the sense in negotiating without preconditions with Iran and Syria?"
- "Or take Iran, which Israelis universally see as their deadliest enemy. Yes, there are arguments to be made in favor of presidential-level negotiations between Washington and Tehran – perhaps as a last-ditch effort to avert military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. But does anyone seriously think Mr. Obama would authorize such strikes? Instead, Mr. Obama says he favors 'tough diplomacy,' including tighter sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Last fall, however, he was one of only 22 senators to oppose a Senate resolution calling for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, a vote that made him a dove even within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama argued at the time the amendment would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. It was an odd claim for a nonbinding resolution."
- "In the Atlantic [Monthly] interview, Mr. Obama declared that 'my job in being a friend to Israel is partly to hold up a mirror and tell the truth,' particularly in respect to the settlements. Yes, there are mirrors that need to be held up to those settlements, as there are to those Palestinians whose terrorism makes their dismantlement so problematic. Perhaps there is also a mirror to be held up to an American foreign-policy neophyte whose amazing conceit is that he understands Israel's dilemmas better than Israelis themselves."