Joel B. Pollak
03 February '10
The day after President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, he was ambushed by a question from an anti-Israel student at a rally in Tampa, Florida:
Why have you not condemned Israel and Egypt's human rights violations against the occupied Palestinian people, and yet we continue to support [Israel and Egypt] financially with billions of dollars coming from our tax dollars?
The president declined to answer directly and was clearly flummoxed, answering with what used to be called a "Bushism": "The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries."
He continued by offering support for Israel's security and the two-state solution, broadly reiterating the stance taken by past presidents and a bipartisan majority in Congress.
Yet there was something new in President Obama's answer.
"Israel has to acknowledge legitimate grievances and interests of the Palestinians," he said, in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence.
The term "legitimate grievances" seems innocuous enough. Yet anti-Israel activists have long used it as code for absolutist Palestinian demands, such as the "right of return," which would destroy Israel if implemented.
(Read full article)