A Variety of Responses to Obama’s Middle East Speech

Here is the full video. 


Here is the full text of Obama’s speech today. In it the President says: 
The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
Before I get to some of the reactions, I would first like to address the fact that Obama’s call for a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines (1949 armistice lines) was not new for this administration. (h/t Jeffrey Goldberg)
“We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” - Hillary Clinton 2009

Now for the responses.

CHALLAH @ Israel
Israel appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace. Israel believes that for peace to endure between Israelis and Palestinians, the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viability of the one and only Jewish state.

That is why Prime Minister Netanyahu expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress. 

Among other things, those commitments relate to Israel not having to withdraw to the 1967 lines which are both indefensible and which would leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond those lines.

Those commitments also ensure Israel’s well-being as a Jewish state by making clear that Palestinian refugees will settle in a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel.

Without a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem outside the borders of Israel, no territorial concession will bring peace.

Equally, the Palestinians, and not just the United States, must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and any peace agreement with them must end all claims against Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will make clear that the defense of Israel requires an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will also express his disappointment over the Palestinian Authority’s decision to embrace Hamas, a terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction, as well as over Mahmoud Abbas’s recently expressed views which grossly distort history and make clear that Abbas seeks a Palestinian state in order to continue the conflict with Israel rather than end it.

Mahmoud Abbas has called an emergency meeting to discuss Obama’s speech. Hamas has rejected the speech and has said that the Arab nation does not need advice about democracy. 

The ADL has welcomed Obama’s speech.

Jackson Diehl says Obama’s speech is filled with the soaring rhetoric.

Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Allen West are all upset as they believe Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.  Roy Blunt says Obama is dreaming if he thinks unilateral concessions will bring peace.

John Bolton is upset that there was not enough of a focus on Iran. 

Danny Danon thinks Netanyahu should tell Obama to forget about it. 

ElderofZiyon has written a great piece that you should all check out.  In it Elder writes: I expected much worse. But I think that the Palestinian Arabs expected much, much more. Their tweets so far are reflecting sheer anger. Given that they regard everything as a zero-sum game, then at least from their perspective this is a huge win for Israel and Netanyahu.

Obama’s speech may be fundamental shift in U.S. Policy - Josh Rogin

Michael Rubin says we should not rush the aid, wait and see how things play out. 

The AP makes shit up about Obama’s speech – Charles Johnson

Jonathan Tobin writesThe problem with this strategy is that even this unprecedented move won’t convince those who hate Israel to love America. And by damaging Israel’s diplomatic position and making its isolation more likely, he has also undermined U.S. interests. In another post Jonathan says that Obama’s call regarding the 1967 lines is a radical policy shift. 

Yaacov Lozowick says that Obama has clearly learned something as President.

Yisrael Medad says it could have been worse.

Jeffrey Goldberg says the big deal of the entire speech was “Obama’s forthright denunciation of the unilateral Palestinian plan to seek the General Assembly’s endorsement this September.”

Max Boot says that Obama has been mugged by the events in the Middle East.

Senator Kirk says that “Palestinian calls for ‘1967 borders’ should be outweighed by Israel’s need for secure borders to ensure the survival of a critical U.S. ally.”

Walter Russell Mead says Obama has embraced his inner Bush. 

Alana Goodman is confused by all the bashing as she thought Obama’s speech was “excellent.”

Danielle Pletka asks what was major about today’s speech?

Senator Mike Lee to not happy

Omri Ceren says that decades of American policy have just been abandoned


The Republican Jewish Coalition is concerned with some of Obama’s statements. 

Obama’s speech may worry some in American Jewry.

JStreet tries to take credit for Obama’s speech. 

Obama gave the most pro-Israel speech of his life, or at least he thought so. 


Obama’s misstep, oh boy says Robert Satloff.

Eli Lake says speech was good for Palestinians and Israel.

Noah Pollak thinks the 2004 Bush-Sharon Letter referenced by Netanyahu will become bigger issue in coming days.

Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t see where Obama threw Israel under the bus, rather says same view on border as George W. Bush.  Hussein Ibish says not exactly the same, a little better.

“No American president has ever used this formulation before,” said former State Department official Aaron David Miller.

Elliot Abrams says Obama’s words will have no real effect.

Marco Rubio is not happy with the Israel portion of Obama’s speech. Neither is Pat Toomey.

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