The used car that Obama wants to sell Israel is the beat-up 20-year-old "concessions to terrorists" coupe. It's got a new paint job, but it doesn't run because there's nothing under the hood except paper and empty promises.
There is no doubt that a lot of time and effort went into assembling Obama's Jerusalem speech. And it's obvious why Obama chose to ignore Israel's parliament and deliver the speech to a selected audience of students.
After mostly ignoring Israel for 4 years, aside from one ugly incident, Obama arrives on what can only be described as a "love bombing" tour.
The student speech is full of love-bombing. 80 percent of it consists of empty compliments and flattery. It's the car salesman telling you how much younger you look behind the wheel of a 20-year-old convertible with a whole lot of miles and paint jobs on it. The other 20 percent is the same old message wrapped in new compliments.
The used car that Obama wants to sell Israel is the beat-up 20-year-old "concessions to terrorists" coupe. It's got a new paint job, but it doesn't run because there's nothing under the hood except paper and empty promises. But every time you turn the key, it blows up and a lot of people die.
So yes, Israel looks great behind the wheel of the peace process. It looks 20 years younger. And 20 years dumber. But strip away the empty compliments and it's the same dirty old clunker underneath.
1. Obama starts out by promoting the myth that sanctions can stop Iran's nuclear program, when even the Washington Post has admitted that the sanctions have failed.
"Strong and principled diplomacy is the best way to ensure that the Iranian government forsakes nuclear weapons," Obama says. It's an old buzzword that has turned into an old buzzard.
2. Obama covertly suggests that he's taking on the Jewish Lobby by pushing for more peace concessions.
"You know, politically, given the strong bipartisan support for Israel in America, the easiest thing for me to do would be to put this issue aside, just express unconditional support for whatever Israel decides to do. That would be the easiest political path..."
It's cleverly worded, but it makes it clear that Obama intends to go the "harder route" of challenging that bipartisan consensus by pressing Israel to make a deal.
3. If Israel doesn't agree to a Two-State Solution, Obama suggests there will be a One-State Solution
"The only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine."
Again deftly worded, but it's the same old message. The reality though is that the peace process has badly undermined Israel's existence.
4. If Israel doesn't achieve peace, it will be isolated.
"There are other factors involved. Given the frustration in the international community about this conflict, Israel needs to reverse an undertow of isolation."
The reality is that Israel has become isolated by its decision to create a Palestinian state, thereby creating a perpetual conflict.
5. Israel has to make peace with peoples, not governments
"Peace will have to be made among peoples, not just governments... The days when Israel could seek peace simply with a handful of autocratic leaders -- those days are over."
All Arab leaders are autocratic. If peace treaties signed with Arab governments are worthless, then why bother? Obama lifts Hillary Clinton's line about making peace with peoples not governments, but that just means that Israel shouldn't sign peace treaties with peoples who don't accept permanent peace.
Perhaps Israel should demand a national referendum in any country or among the Palestinian Arabs before signing any peace treaty. That is where this argument locally leads.
6. And then finally Obama gets past the "love-bombing" to the plain old "bombing."
"It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own -- living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements, not just of those young people but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished," Obama says. "It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank or displace Palestinian families from their homes. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer."
And whose fault is that unrightness exactly? Are these measures in place because Israelis are evil or because they are put into place in response to terrorism?
So-called "settler" violence does not go unpunished. Jews face far worse penalties for attacking Muslims than the other way around. People on the way to work who fired a gun into the air in response to attacks have been sent to jail while their attackers haven't been touched.
7. Peace can be had if we just completely ignore the facts
"Now, Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with anyone who’s dedicated to its destruction. But while I know you have had differences with the Palestinian Authority, I genuinely believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. I believe that. And they have a track record to prove it. Over the last few years, they have built institutions and maintained security on the West Bank in ways that few could have imagined just a few years ago.
So many Palestinians, including young people, have rejected violence as a means of achieving their aspirations."
Where exactly are these Palestinians who rejected violence? Can we get some numbers on that? Last time I checked, Hamas was polling in the lead.
And Hamas is so popular that President Abbas the Palestinian Authority insists that he has the same policies as Hamas.
8. Mass murder is not an excuse not to act. It's something that sane people try to avoid.
"There are always going to be reasons to avoid risk. There are costs for failure. There will always be extremists who provide an excuse to not act."
9. Unbalanced and unfair
"Meanwhile, Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security.
Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace and that an independent Palestine must be viable, with real borders that have to be drawn."
Notice that Obama does not call on the Palestinians to actually enact any set of policies or take any tangible steps such as ending terrorism. But Israel is called on to stop building houses in territory that the terrorists have decided that they want, but don't want to negotiate for.
10. He's got a peace plan.
"I’ve suggested principles on territory and security that I believe can be the basis for these talks," Obama said.
So yes, look for him to take a more active role in pushing proposals.
11. Time to make a deal with Hamas
"And that’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist."
Obama isn't even denouncing Hamas anymore. Just discussing terms on which a deal with Hamas should be made.
That clunker is looking more beat-up than ever.