Outrage and reality when it comes to Obama and Jerusalem. First, the outrage:
At [the Sept. 6] State Department press conference — the day after President Obama directed the Democratic Party to re-instate in its platform the words “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital ofIsrael” — a reporter asked acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell which city the U.S.recognizes as the capital ofIsrael. Mr. Ventrell responded as follows: “Well, as you know, longstanding Administration policy, both in this Administration and in previous administrations across both parties, is that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. So that’s longstanding Administration policy and continues to be so.”
That response produced several more tries by reporters (“I mean, no city is recognized as a capital by the U.S. Government?” “That means Jerusalem is not a part ofIsrael?” “Are there any other countries in the world where the U.S.doesn’t know what the capital is or won’t say what the capital of a country is?”) — each of which produced the same non-response from Ventrell….
If President Obama ever holds another formal press conference, perhaps a reporter will ask how he was able to get the line into the platform but cannot get the State Department (or his own press secretary) to endorse even the first part of the sentence.
Rick Richman, Commentary
And now the reality:
First, let’s get something straight. The Jerusalem issue defies logic and rationality when it comes to our presidential elections. Presidential candidates say all kinds of things in order to win elections, including repeated commitments to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And then, once in office, they turn around and seek ways to avoid doing it.
Despite all of the campaign rhetoric, no administration has changed the bottom line U.S. position on the embassy, or for that matter the status of Jerusalem, since 1967. Its fate is to be determined in negotiations.
And here’s a news flash for you. Should Mitt Romney become president and serious negotiations start between the Israelis and Palestinians, his position would conform to that of his predecessors, and might even go further to allow for Palestinian sovereignty in east Jerusalem.
Second, what’s so curious about the flap is that the Jerusalem issue is less relevant today than ever. There are no prospects for reviving serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Taking positions on Jerusalem is a thought experiment now. And most smart politicians understand this.
—Aaron David Miller, CNN