Barack Obama

Obama rises above blind Jewish bias

By Richard Wolffe, October 1, 2009

We were together in a synagogue hall in Boca Raton, Florida — a presidential candidate on a bar stool, a semi-polite audience seated in rows in front of him, and the world’s media straining to hear every word.

It took less than 10 minutes before Barack Obama faced the inevitable attack, phrased as a question: could he name any “close personal friends” who were “solemnly pro-Israel and anti-terrorist”?

More..

Analysis: The president blames everyone but himself

By Shmuel Rosner, September 24, 2009

So now we know that both the Israelis and Palestinians are to blame.

“It’s time to show the flexibility, common sense and compromise which is necessary to achieve our goals,” President Obama preached to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week.

His great achievement of the evening: the handshake. More than a decade-and-a-half after Yitzhak Rabin, reluctantly, shook the hands of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the White House, Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas were also shaking hands for the first time.

More..

Analysis: Obama could not make peace alone

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu has accomplished a remarkable feat. He travelled to the US, met the president at a highly publicised summit, upset the leader of the free world, returned home empty-handed — and is still not facing a public outcry.

A similar dispute with the Americans ultimately brought down the Shamir government in 1992. Later premiers never dared openly confront the US.

Barack Obama’s displeasure was barely disguised and no amount of spin can gloss over the failure of the three-way summit. But Mr Netanyahu, at least for now, is getting away with it.

More..

Analysis: Come to think of it, the new system might benefit Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Barack Obama’s decision to scrap the plan to position a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic could ultimately prove a boost to Israel’s defences.

The change in American plans was motivated by President Obama’s desire to placate the Russian leadership but there also remains a need to mount a defence against nuclear missiles that may be launched in future from Iran and other rogue nations in the east.

More..

Analysis: Obama snubs allies over missile shield

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, September 24, 2009

President Obama’s decision to scrap plans to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, as part of a long range ballistic missile defence network, may come down to budget cuts alone — the Administration does not have the funds to support a costly military programme at this difficult economic juncture.

More..

Obama meets Netanyahu and Abbas

By Jessica Elgot, September 23, 2009

President Barack Obama has told Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they must show the will to “break the deadlock that has trapped generations”.

Mr Obama met Israeli Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas separately in New York, before chairing a trilateral meeting.

The meeting was denounced by many politicians and commentators as nothing more than a photo opportunity, given that talks between US Special Envoy George Mitchell with Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas last week in Jerusalem and Ramallah failed to bring agreement.

More..

Obama to meet Abbas and Netanyahu

By Jessica Elgot, September 21, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet US President Barack Obama separately in New York this week, with a trilateral meeting likely.

Mr Obama is expected to meet Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas individually before chairing a joint session.

If the meeting goes ahead, the three leaders are likely to meet at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, where Mr Obama is staying for the meeting of the UN general assembly.

Israeli commentators denounced the meeting as a "photo opportunity" and said it would be wholly symbolic.

More..

Analysis: Obama is in trouble

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, August 6, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East policy looks to be in trouble.

His engagement offer to Iran has fallen flat. His lofty speeches to Muslim audiences have failed to sway public opinion towards America. His demands to Israel that it halt any settlement activity have led to an unprecedented row with its government.

Worse, the perceived US pressure on Israel has left Arab leaders with the false impression that they have nothing to deliver. Since the US started its new bid on settlements, no Arab leader has agreed to any concession to Israel, symbolic or otherwise.

More..

Barak: We should accept US peace plan

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2009

Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, has said he expects a new peace proposal from the US administration to arrive in the next few weeks, which he believes Israel should accept.

Mr Barak announced his intention of accepting the proposal at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

More..

Analysis: Obama turns on the charm

By Nathan Guttman, July 16, 2009

“It was a wonderful exchange of views,” said Andrea Weinstein, chairwoman of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “I felt at ease,” added Marla Gilson, Washington representative of Hadassah. “He was masterful,” concluded Ira Foreman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

The famous Obama charm definitely worked on leaders of the Jewish community in their first face-to-face meeting with the president on Monday afternoon.

More..