American president likes to highlight ‘truth’ but conveniently ignores some facts.
by Ophir Falk
President Obama often turns to the “truth” when talking about the Middle East. In fact, he used that word five times in his 2009 Cairo speech and four times in his Middle East doctrine speech at the White house last week.
In 2009, the president proclaimed before his Cairo audience that “the truth is that America and Islam are not exclusive”, that “Islam is a part of America, and America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations.” He also said “there is one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples.”
In his doctrine speech last week, Obama said that America would assist civil societies “who speak uncomfortable truths”, that “the truth cannot be hidden”, and that “precisely because of our friendship (America and Israel it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, Israel must act boldly to advance a lasting peace” and that America "holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
Before an AIPAC audience that same week he reiterated the “fundamental truth that has guided presidents and prime ministers for more than 60 years: that even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable.”
All of these truths may have merit, but for truth to become the theme for Middle East peace and prosperity, President Obama and his various audiences should also consider the following noteworthy truths:
1) Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years and that of the State of Israel since its re-establishment, with a large Jewish majority since 1860. Jerusalem is referred to thousands of times in Jewish scriptures; Jews pray towards Jerusalem and yearned to return to it during 2,000 years of forced exile. Jerusalem was never the capital of an Arab state, doesn’t appear once in the Koran and Muslims pray towards Mecca;
2) The 1967 borders, referred to by Obama and others, are in essence the 1949 armistice borders drawn after Israel’s victorious 1948 War of Independence;
3) Although there was never a sovereign Palestinian state at any point in the history of mankind, Israel accepted the UN’s 1947 partition plan. The Arabs did not, and instead reciprocated with war, and another war, and then a couple of more wars, simultaneously combined with more than 70 years of terror against innocent civilians. Therefore, aside from its biblical and historical rights, Israel has more than 25,000 reasons, one for each slain soldier and terror victim, to refuse the return to 1967 borders;
4) Peace could have prevailed at any point during the century-long conflict between Israel and its Arab enemies had the Arabs only agreed to put down their arms. In contrast, if Israel would put down its arms it would cease to exist;
5) With the rapidly changing world, one of the few theories of International Relations that still holds water is that “true Democracies do not go to war against true Democracies.” Israel is the only true democracy in the Mideast and therefore, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his 2011 AIPAC speech, “it's time to recognize this basic truth: Israel is not what's wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what's right about the Middle East.”
Acknowledging these telling truths is the preface to peace and prosperity.