In an op-ed in today’s Los Angeles Times, Aaron David Miller admits the obvious: “Unlike his two predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama isn’t in love with the idea of Israel.”
But Miller doesn’t address Barack Obama’s immersion in the anti-Israel, antisemitic views of his pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright, in whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama worshipped for two decades.
Nor does Miller note Obama’s friendship with former Palestine Liberation Organization advisor Rashid Khalidi, whose anti-Israel views are a matter of public record, or Obama’s eager association with Arab causes early in his political career.
Instead, Miller cites Obama’s “logical,” “intellectual” and “moral” approach to Israel–as opposed to the “emotional” approach of previous occupants of the White House, whose views were allegedly informed by simplistic faith and fables:
Obama’s views came from another place: his own logic, the university environment in which he developed intellectually and his own moral sensibilities. And according to this view, the Arab-Israeli dispute isn’t some kind of morality play that pits the forces of good against the forces of darkness. Instead, it’s a more complex tale, not of heroes and villains but of a conflict between two rights and two just causes. It’s also a conflict that is vital to American interests. And those interests are being threatened by the divide between those who want a solution and are serious about moving toward one, and those who aren’t serious about finding a solution and throw up obstacles. After three years, the president has clearly placed the Israelis in the latter category and the Palestinians in the former.
Miller adds that the sour relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a result of Obama’s allegedly “intellectual” approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He seems to forget that it was Netanyahu who famously gave Obama an “intellectual” lesson in the history of the conflict and Israel’s borders in May 2011:
The truth is that Obama’s antipathy towards Israel is rooted in a passionate, radical left-wing ideology that thrives in both the academic cloisters and the radical pulpits that gave Obama his political inspiration and foundation. And the Los Angeles Times knows it, for it is in possession of a key piece of historical evidence: the “Rashid Khalidi tape.”
The tape is a video of a farewell dinner for Khalidi in Chicago in 2003, at which Obama delivered an address praising Khalidi, while other speakers attacked Israel. The existence of the tape was reported by the LA Times during the 2008 election, in a story about why advocates for the Palestinian cause were optimistic about an Obama presidency.
The LA Times, however, refused to release the tape, and is still refusing to do so, despite its relevance to politics and foreign policy. In contrast, the newspaper has shown intense interest in Ron Paul’s bigoted newsletters from the 1990s.
If the LA Times wants to entertain speculation about the “intellectual” origins of Obama’s rocky relationship with Israel, its leaders, and its supporters, perhaps the newspaper should release the Khalidi tape and let readers judge for themselves.