It’s being reported that the President of the United States is pretty unhappy with certain campaign statements that were made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In light of this reaction, it seems fitting to highlight some statements that Obama himself made when he was campaigning.
Just to review, let’s start with this one: “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” That is what then-Senator Obama said to an audience at AIPAC in 2008, during his first presidential campaign. Based on many of his actions since then, it seems fair to infer that he didn’t mean it at the time, and he certainly didn’t stand by it.
That was not the only thing that Obama said when he was campaigning that he didn’t mean. Obama’s top advisor David Axelrod recently revealed that Obama intentionally misled voters about his position on same sex marriage in 2008, in what Time Magazine called “a striking admission of political dishonesty.”
Of course, who can forget, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.” Everyone knows by now what a whopper that was. This promise may not have been made during an election campaign, but it was made in a campaign to mislead American voters in order to pass Obama’s “signature” health care law. As we now know, that was only the most egregious of several falsehoods that were necessary to get the Affordable Care Act passed.
The US President ought to consider complying with the US State Department guidelines on anti-Semitism, which would require him to hold the Prime Minister of Israel to the same standards to which Obama holds himself. Obama should wait to see what Netanyahu actually does during the next administration before condemning him for campaign statements.
Update: Netanyahu has clarified that his position in favor of a negotiated two-state solution has not changed since his speech in Bar-Ilan University, but that the current circumstances, under which a West Bank state would almost certainly become a staging ground for more terrorism, must change. I’m still waiting, however, for Obama to explain what he meant when he said that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”