Latest posts by Varda Epstein (see all)
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I am in the U.S. on business, touring children’s summer camps sponsored by the nonprofit I work for, Kars4Kids. At least my physical presence is here. My heart, on the other hand, is in Israel, where my beloved country is at war and where my son has been called up to the reserves. My heart doesn’t seem big enough to contain both my love for my country and my umbrage at the audacity of the current White House incumbent.
What is it now, you might wonder. This time it’s a phone call. President Obama called Bibi yesterday and read him the riot act. I hate the way the President tries to boss my Prime Minister around. I hate the way he’s always kicking Israel in the you-know-whatsies. Usually, the Prez tells Bibi to jump, and Bibi asks, “How high?”
But things have been different lately. Let’s hope they stay this way. I prefer this Bibi to the other one.
What’s really interesting however, is the juxtaposition of the contents of this recent phone call to that of a transcript dating back to 2008, when then Senator Barack Obama visited Israel. Let’s take a look:
On Sunday, July 27, 2014, President Barack Obama called the Prime Minister of Israel, Benyamin Netanyahu. According to the readout of the phone call released by the White House:
“The President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement. . .The President underscored the enduring importance of . . . enacting a sustainable ceasefire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority.”
Now for the 2008 transcript. Funny, what a difference 6 years and two presidential election victories can make. Read it and weep.
July 23, 2008
Obama’s Speech in Sderot, Israel
The following is a transcript of Senator Barack Obama’s speech in Sderot, Israel, as provided by CQ Transcriptions, Inc.
“I don’t think any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens.
The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if — I don’t even care if I was a politician. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.
In terms of negotiations with Hamas, it is very hard to negotiate with a group that is not representative of a nation state, does not recognize your right to exist, has consistently used terror as a weapon, and is deeply influenced by other countries. I think that Hamas leadership will have to make a decision at some point as to whether it is a serious political party seeking to represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people. And, as a consequence, willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence as a tool to achieve its aims. Or whether it wants to continue to operate as a terrorist organization. Until that point, it’s hard for Israel, I think, to negotiate with a country that — or with a group that doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist at a country — OK.”
Guess things look very different from a senator’s seat, or rather, when you’re riding the campaign trail, it’s a horse of an entirely different, um, color. So which Obama is the real Obama? The one sitting pretty in the White House, or the one who is a senator desperate to get a taste of the presidential high life?
(H/T Paul Shindman for the 2008 transcript and link).