President Obama’s speech at AIPAC straddled the line of a Jackie Mason
standup routine. It turns out that when the president said last Thursday that Israel should return to its ’67 borders, it wasn’t exactly what he meant. Who said I was referring to 1967? I meant 1867. I didn’t mean CE, I meant BCE. And why did you assume I was talking about Israel’s border? I was talking about French Guyana’s borders.
This was the first time I actually felt sorry for Obama – an incongruous statement to make about such a talented individual who also just happens to be the most powerful man in the world.
So why did he elicit my sympathy? Because you could see, both in his body language and the utter absence of passion, that he had been defeated. The president dithered, bobbed and weaved. He came into a room filled with 10,000 pro-Israel activists knowing he’d blown it, not just with the American Jewish community but with history as well.
For months, Arab democracy has been breaking out all over the world but Obama had yet to give one major policy speech on this unprecedented uprising. Yet when he finally chose to do so and thus recapture the American president’s traditional mantle as leader of the free world, he could not help but insert a highly inflammatory line about Israel that was immediately seized on by the media, thereby extinguishing the speech’s other content. And even on the Israel front he was forced to so dilute the ’67 border statement that it became utterly meaningless