Yesterday afternoon at the AIPAC policy conference three participants in the peace process to one degree or another (Tal Becker from Israel, Elliott Abrams (former deputy national security adviser) and former Democratic congressman Robert Wexler addressed whether there is now a peace partner for Israel. There was unanimity: no.
What was most fascinating was Wexler’s tour de force of misdirection and fabrication. You see, Abu Mazen was a partner for peace who reduced violence and for a “brief time” (a day?) came to the bargaining table last fall. Now he’s turned to Hamas, but before, well, he was the man to make a deal. Wexler then pronounced himself “bewildered” by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s reaction to Obama’s speech last Thursday. According to Wexler, Bibi should have thanked (!) Obama for saying Hamas is a terrorist group, the parties have to negotiate and Israel must have secure borders (Wexler doesn’t speak by the way; he bellows). Abrams cleverly responded that Obama, following Bibi’s speech last Monday to the Knesset, should have said “Thank you, Bibi.”
For Wexler, everything positive about Obama’s comments is in “essence” or “by implication” (e.g., a “Jewish state” means no right of return), but of course, we know Obama is quite specific when it comes to Israel’s concessions. (Abrams at full volume said, “Don’t imply it! Say it!”)
The lowlight came when Wexler asserted that Obama’s position on settlements was the same as that expressed in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letters. The lie was so astounding that the crowd, fully aware the letter did NOT demand a settlement freeze including Jerusalem, seemed stunned. Abrams brought down the house with a simple, “Nah!”
Wexler unintentionally revealed an uncomfortable truth about many Democratic Jewish supporters of Obama: Only by inference or fabrication can they make the case Obama is within the mainstream of pro-Israel presidents. They pick up only the pieces of the puzzle that appeal to their narrative.
Aside from Wexler’s spinnery, a more serious problem exists: Neither Abu Mazen or Yasser Arafat was willing or able to make peace. What makes anyone think there will be any Palestinian leader any time soon who’s willing to do any better?