Thursday, March 21, 2013

Obama Heckled in Jerusalem During Historic Speech About Mideast Peace, but is Encouraged by Cheers and Applause

An Extraordinary Endorsement of the Zionist Idea 

President Barack Obama: "
For the Jewish people, the journey to the promise of the State of Israel wound through countless generations. It involved centuries of suffering and exile, prejudice, pogroms and even genocide. Through it all, the Jewish people sustained their unique identity and traditions, as well as a longing to return home. And while Jews achieved extraordinary success in many parts of the world, the dream of true freedom finally found its full expression in the Zionist idea – to be a free people in your homeland….

"When I consider Israel’s security, I also think about a people who have a living memory of the Holocaust, faced with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iranian government that has called for Israel’s destruction. It’s no wonder Israelis view this as an existential threat. But this is not simply a challenge for Israel – it is a danger for the entire world, including the United States. It would raise the risk of nuclear terrorism, undermine the non-proliferation regime, spark an arms race in a volatile region, and embolden a government that has shown no respect for the rights of its own people or the responsibilities of nations….

"But Iran must know this time is not unlimited. And I have made the position of the United States of America clear: Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. This is not a danger that can be contained. As President, I have said to the world that all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. America will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran….

"But the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized. Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.  It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land."

Barack Obama's speech--an extraordinary address to young Israelis by the President of the United States. The audience thankfully roared its approval. Their enthusiastic applause and cheers drowned out the noise coming from a heckler--a jerk or provocateur--whose deeply disrespectful and antidemocratic outburst effectively insulted all Americans, as President Obama is their elected representative. 

Click here to read the transcript. It is essentially a Zionist speech, an address that could have been authored and delivered by any center-left Zionist leader, combining a clear and unequivocal endorsement of the Zionist idea--Israel's founding principles--with an appeal for a two-state solution to the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Must reading.

Obama: "America's commitment to the security of Israel is a solemn obligation."