Obama’s big “More Israeli Sacrifices for Peace” speech is stoking controversy already. The speech, which is not taking place in the Israeli parliament, but in an auditorium, allowing for greater control over the audience, has involved some fairly selective choices.
And the most obvious choice is that Obama Inc is excluding most Israeli colleges, including two noted conservative institutions. This has led to a protest from the National Union of Israeli Students which represents 300,000 Israeli students across the country. These are the people whom Obama is trying to influence… and he has already failed.
Israel Student Union chairman Uri Reshtik sent a letter of protest to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on Sunday over Barack Obama’s planned speech to Israeli university students.
Obama has decided not to speak to the Knesset, as many visiting heads of state have done, but to deliver a speech to about 1,000 students at the Jerusalem Convention Center this Thursday.
In Reshtik’s letter, he praised Obama’s decision to speak to Israeli students and young people, but said that the decision to invite students from only 10 of Israel’s 60 universities and colleges is “discrimination based on ulterior motives. Such discrimination is not respectable and not acceptable.”
Bar Ilan University and Ariel University, both notedly conservative, have been excluded. There’s no doubt that the leftist Hebrew U is on the list.
Even a Labor MK blasted the decision urging students to boycott the speech.
MK Nachman Shai (Labor) called the Israeli Student Association on Sunday to announce that its members will boycott President Barack Obama’s speech this Thursday, because of the President’s decision not to invite students from the Ariel University in the Shomron.
“It’s shocking to think you can disqualify students just because they are studying in Judea and Samaria. I do not understand how President Obama wants to conduct a dialogue with the Israeli public when he consciously excludes part of it,” wrote MK Shai on his Facebook page.
Obama isn’t interested in a dialogue. He wants to give a high profile speech to an enthusiastic leftist audience. That’s the game plan here.
He hasn’t gone as far as giving the speech in Tel Aviv, though naturally all communications are still going through the US embassy in Tel Aviv, as a reminder that Obama does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, but he is making it clear that this is meant to be a repeat of the Cairo speech.