NJ Sen. Bob Menendez is giving a speech on Israel in the Senate this morning, and in my reading he’s trying to create some distance between himself and the president.
While the Shoah has a central role in Israel’s identity, it is not the reason behind its founding and it is not the main justification for its existence.
That sounds like a direct reference to Obama’s speech, which was criticized by some Jewish groups, including the ADL, for focusing on the Holocaust at the expense of other justifications for Israel’s legitimacy. See Abe Foxman’s oped.
After a lengthy comparison of Hamas perfidy and Israel’s achievements, Menendez says:
So it’s not just in the interests of Israel to have its full history recognized, it is in the national interests and national security interests of the United States. It is in our interests to fully remember the unbreakable bond that has made us both stronger over the last 61 years, and to make it unmistakable that our commitment is as strong as ever.
Which suggests that perhaps some people (Obama maybe) are forgetting that bond, or that their commitment is not “unmistakable.”
The next line is similar to a Senate letter drafted by AIPAC and signed by many pro-Israel members of Congress on May 1. (The letter read, “The proven best way forward is to work closely and privately together both on areas of agreement and especially on areas of disagreement.). Menendez implicitly criticizes the Obama administration for going public with the dispute over the settlements:
While as a country we will always promote our national interests, and while we might have disagreements with our allies, in this case especially, it is critical to have those disagreements in private.
The following is pretty strong criticism of Obama, it seems to me, especially the last sentence:
We can and must move forward in the peace process, and look for ways to reach agreement between all sides. But we cannot erase the moral distinctions between tyranny and freedom and we must not edit history.
The full text of the speech after the jump: (more…)