Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 15, 2005 / 8 Sivan, 5765

Spin-Cycle Blues

By Jonathan Tobin


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article




Bush's romance with Abbas leaves GOP with some explaining to do





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Jews are an especially paranoid lot. Often, it doesn't take much to set us off. In the latest case, it was the mere mention of a date that set alarm bells ringing: 1949.


At a joint press conference held at the White House May 26, President Bush uttered the following statement in the presence of Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas: "Any final-status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to. This is the position of the United States today; it will be the position of the United States at the time of final-status negotiations."


For many who heard these words, the interpretation was clear: The United States opposes Israel's presence in the territories, and even in Jerusalem. This seemed to contradict the statement Bush made last year in an exchange of letters with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004.

CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING
At that time, Bush wrote: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949 . It is realistic to expect that any final-status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."


At the time, the interpretation given these words by most observers, inclu ding this writer, was that Bush was signaling that if the Palestinians really wanted a state, then they must accept that some Jewish communities over the green line would never be relinquished.


Placed alongside each other, has Bush flip-flopped? Are those who think he's changed wrong?


The answer to both is a big, fat maybe.


In the world of diplomacy, nuance is everything because it is entirely possible to view both statements as entirely consistent.


After all, the president's 2004 statement also made it clear that the Palestinians had to sign off on any accord in which settlements would be brought within Israel's borders.


And even though the 2004 letter also specifically rejected the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to swamp, and ultimately destroy, Israel, it also promised them the same viable Palestinian state that was mentioned last month. The key to interpretation is, of course, context.

Donate to JWR


In April 2004, the Palestinians were still led by arch terrorist Yasser Arafat, a man who was persona non grata at the Bush White House. And given the fact that the Palestinian terror war of attrition known as the intifada was still raging, Washington was eager to send the Palestinians the message that the U.S.-Israel alliance was rock-solid.


The feeling is a little different today.


Arafat's now dead. And his replacement — longtime deputy Mahmoud Abbas — has been on a nonstop charm offensive in the Western world.


Even if he was elected in a race that was noticeable for its lack of competition, Abbas has been anointed by Bush as proof of the rise of democracy in the Arab world advocated by the administration in the context of the war in Iraq.


And even though Abbas has done nothing to disarm Palestinian terror groups, he's still getting credit here as a good guy who must be supported.


The dynamics of the recent visit of Sharon to Bush's Texas ranch and Abbas' White House jaunt were also remarkably different.


Sharon, who counts so heavily on American support to justify his own policy of withdrawal from Gaza, came away from the ranch with virtually nothing.


By contrast, Bush hailed Abbas. In a piece of unintentional humor, the normally tongue-tied president even seemed to play the rhetoric coach when he intoned, "Good job, good job," after Abbas ended his White House statement. Those who see this as a forerunner of doom for Israel believe that the re-elected Bush is now free to do what he likes, without fear of offending Jewish voters.

THROWN UNDER THE BUS?
Worse, they worry that the administration's democracy mantra has caused the president to loose sight of reality on the ground because burnishing Abbas' reputation as a peacemaking democrat bolsters Bush's general foreign-policy aims. As a result, the worry is that he will throw Israel and Ariel Sharon under the bus in order to prop up his newest Middle Eastern buddy.


As to the truth of the charges, we can dismiss the second-term motive. Bush was elected in 2000 with very few Jewish votes and not that many more four years later. As a result, he owed the pro-Israel community nothing when he arrived in the White House.


Nevertheless, he produced — to the amazement of many who thought him a clone of his father — a very strong pro-Israel record. Even Democrats would have to concede that the green light he gave Ariel Sharon to go on the offensive against Arafat's terrorists enabled Israel to defeat the intifada. And his shunning of Arafat and embrace of Israel's position on the future of the territories and refugees were landmark moments for the U.S.-Israel alliance.


That he did this as a result of his own convictions, rather than as a payback to the Jews, deserves to be acknowledged by even the most rabid Bush-basher. But at the same time, Bush's biggest backers need to acknowledge that his current embrace of Abbas is more reminiscent of Bill Clinton's delusional pursuit of a Nobel Peace Prize than the cowboy who road roughshod over Arafat and his cheering section at the United Nations.


Abbas may be the best of all possible Palestinian alternatives, but there needs to be more emphasis on accountability from Washington if peace is to have a chance. By embracing Abbas, Bush seems to be accepting the European model that the Palestinians are the exception to the prime directive of the war on terror: You are with us or you are against us. Abbas, who wants to appear the democrat in Washington but play nice with the terrorists in Gaza, doesn't fit into that formulation as a U.S. ally.


Bush's record has earned him some slack with friends of Israel, but not this much.


Yet the real test for Abbas — and Bush — is yet to come.


Some time after Israel finishes its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, many intelligence analysts insist that the intifada will break out anew as Abbas pushes for more Israeli concessions on the West Bank and in Jerusalem.


If Bush holds Abbas accountable for a spike in terror, then fears about American appeasement were misplaced. But if Bush reacts by making more excuses for the Palestinians and tries to restrain Israeli measures of self-defense, we will understand that the president has truly reversed course.


Until then, all we can do is watch, wait and warn of the dangers that lie ahead.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

Jonathan Tobin Archives




© 2005, Jonathan Tobin