Following President Obama's May 19 speech on the Middle East, right-wing media have characterized Obama's call for the creation of a Palestinian state "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps" as Obama "sid[ing] with the Palestinians." However, this characterization obscures the fact that Obama's plan has Israeli and Jewish support; for instance, the leader of the Israeli opposition party and several American Jewish organizations applauded Obama's plan, and prominent Israelis have previously supported similar plans.
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Obama Calls For Two-State Solution "Based On" 1967 Borders "With Mutually Agreed Swaps"
Obama Calls For "A Viable Palestine, A Secure Israel" "Based On The 1967 Lines With Mutually Agreed Swaps." From Obama's May 19 speech on the Middle East and North Africa:
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe 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 full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -- by itself -- against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.
These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I'm aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. [Remarks by Obama on the Middle East and North Africa, 5/19/11]
Right-Wing Media Characterize Obama's Speech As "Sid[ing] With The Palestinians"
Drudge: "OBAMA SIDES WITH THE PALESTINIANS." On May 19, the Drudge Report posted a link to an Associated Press article about Obama's speech under the headline, "OBAMA SIDES WITH THE PALESTINIANS." The Drudge Report's top headlines hyped the viewpoints of conservative Israeli politicians and also suggested Jewish donors are "warn[ing] Obama on Israel":
[Drudge Report Archives, 5/19/11]
The Blaze: "Obama Sides With Palestinians -- Endorses 1967 Border Demands." In a May 19 post on Glenn Beck's website The Blaze, a headline that linked to an AP article read, "Obama Sides with Palestinians -- Endorses 1967 Border Demands." [The Blaze, 5/19/11]
Limbaugh: Obama "Has Sided With The Palestinians Against Israel." During the May 19 broadcast of his radio program, Rush Limbaugh claimed: "The instincts of many, including mine, were correct. The Arab Spring is an uprising of Middle Eastern nations against Israel, and they have been aided and abetted by President Barack Obama of the United States of America." Limbaugh later said, "He has sided with the Palestinians against Israel." [Premiere Radio Network, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/19/11]
Fox's MacCallum: Obama "Chose To Side With The Palestinians." Immediately following Obama's Middle East speech, Fox News host Martha MacCallum stated: "As you have just been watching, the president just wrapped up a sweeping speech with huge implications for the Middle East, saving perhaps the biggest headline of this wide-ranging speech for the end, when President Obama chose to side with the Palestinians in one of their demands on Israel." [Fox News, America Live, 5/19/11]
Carlson: "President Obama Saluting The Palestinian Plan For Peace, It Seemed." On the May 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said, "An astonishing shift in U.S. policy on Israel -- President Obama saluting the Palestinian plan for peace, it seemed." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/20/11]
Doocy: Obama's Plan Is "What The Palestinians Have Been Asking For All Along." Also during the May 20 Fox & Friends broadcast, co-host Steve Doocy said, "What he's saying is for Israel and Palestine to determine their borders based on what things were like back in 1967 -- that's what the Palestinians have been asking for all along." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/20/11]
Doocy: "It Looks As If ... The President Is Tipping Our Hand In Favor Of The Palestinians." From the May 20 edition of Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: Does that take the incentive away from the Arabs, then, to come to the negotiating table? Because it looks as if this president is on their side, and what does it say to Israel about the United States' commitment to them?
DOOCY: Well, the big thing it says to Israel is, not good, because this has been the plan that the Palestinians have wanted for a very long time. So it looks as if on its face that the president is tipping our hand in favor of the Palestinians. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/20/11]
But Prominent Israelis, Including Opposition Leader, Applauded Or Endorsed Similar Proposals
Jerusalem Post: Opposition Leader Livni "Said Obama's Plan Was Clearly In Israel's Interests." A May 19 article in The Jerusalem Post stated:
MKs on the Right expressed outrage on Thursday night at US President Barack Obama's call for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, in an exchange of territory for security.
"Barack Hussein Obama adopted Yasser Arafat's staged plan for Israel's destruction, and he is trying to force it on our prime minister," Likud MK Danny Danon said. "All that was new in the speech was that he called for Israel to return to 1967 borders without solving the crisis. Netanyahu has only one option: Tell Obama to forget about it."
Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, also from the Likud, who as a minister close to Netanyahu must be more diplomatic, said on Channel 2 that according to Obama's approach, the Palestinians would receive what they were demanding on borders before negotiations begin.
"Once they have everything from the start, they have no reason to make any concessions," Erdan said.
But opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Obama's plan was clearly in Israel's interests, while the diplomatic stalemate that she believes was brought on by Netanyahu is not.
"On his visit, Netanyahu must display the leadership necessary now to create the conditions necessary to restart negotiations with those who are ready to end the conflict," Livni said. "Only a real Israeli initiative with content that can receive American and international support can be an answer to the current dangers and opportunities." [The Jerusalem Post, 5/19/11]
Israeli Generals, Former Ambassadors Run Ad: "Recognizing A Palestinian State Based On The 1967 Borders Is Vital For Israel's Existence." According to the organization J Street, 18 retired Israeli generals, "[o]ver 5 former ambassadors, consul generals, and directors of the foreign ministry," and 27 Israeli prize laureates signed a letter that was reportedly published widely in Israeli papers, titled in English, "Recognizing a Palestinian State Based On the 1967 Borders is Vital for Israel's Existence." J Street paid for the statement to be run in English in The New York Times. From the statement:
We, the citizens of Israel, call on the public to support the recognition of a democratic Palestinian state as a condition for ending the conflict, and reaching agreed borders on the basis of the 1967 borders. Recognition of such a Palestinian state is vital for Israel's existence. It is the only way to guarantee the resolution of the conflict by negotiations, to prevent the eruption of another round of massive violence and end the risky isolation of Israel in the world. [J Street, 5/18/11, accessed 5/20/11]
American Jewish Organizations Also Approved Of Obama's Remarks
American Jewish Committee "Praised President Obama's Call Today." The American Jewish Committee issued a statement praising Obama's comments, specifically citing the president's comments on a "two-state solution":
"President Obama has sternly warned the Palestinians, and the international community, to stop this senseless drive to try to achieve a state without any negotiated agreement with Israel," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"The parameters of a two-state solution are just as clear today as they were when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the peace talks last September," said Harris. "The Palestinians must return now to close the deal." [American Jewish Committee, 5/19/11]
ADL: "We Support The President's Vision Of A Negotiated Israeli-Palestinian Settlement." The Anti-Defamation League also praised Obama's speech, stating:
We welcome President Obama's compelling speech on the priorities for American policy in the Middle East. We applaud his strong outlining of the principles which motivate that policy, including supporting the universal rights of free speech, equality and religious freedom, opposing the use of force and political repression, and promoting political and economic reforms. These are a reflection of American values and promote American interests.
We support the President's vision of a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement with strong security provisions for Israel, and a non-militarized Palestinian state. We appreciate his direct rejection of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and his understanding that the Hamas-Fatah agreement poses major problems for Israel. [Anti-Defamation League, 5/19/11]
Jewish Council For Public Affairs: We "[Join] In The President's Vision Of Two States For Two Peoples." From a May 19 statement released by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an American Jewish advocacy group:
"The JCPA joins in the President's vision of two states for two peoples. We hope that the Palestinian leadership, one committed to peace with Israel and nonviolence, will soon agree to join with Israel in direct negotiations. The President's strong expressions of support for Israeli security; repudiation of efforts to delegitimize Israel; recognition that Hamas currently is not an acceptable peace partner; and his rejection of unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, are welcomed," said JCPA Chair Dr. Conrad Giles. [Jewish Council for Public Affairs, 5/19/11]