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Joe Klein Mischaracterizes Legitimate Criticism of Obama’s New Subsidy to the Palestinians

Posted on June 11 2010 4:00 pm

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President Obama met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House earlier this week and invited press photographers to take their picture shaking hands.  Quite a contrast from a few months ago when Obama would not allow photos  of himself with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at their White House meeting.

Abbas had good reason to be happy.  Obama had just offered him $400 million more of American taxpayers’ money and pushed Israel to end its blockade of Gaza.

When Michael Rubin dared to criticize President Obama’s decision to send millions of dollars of additional money for Gaza in his post on National Review Online, Obama’s trusted media pal from Time Magazine Joe Klein went ballistic.

Here is what Rubin said that set Joe Klein off:

President Obama has upped the U.S. aid commitment for the Palestinian Authority to $400 million. This is dedicated not only for the West Bank, but also for Gaza, where Hamas is in charge…Since Hamas’s third ceasefire, however, there have been 370 missiles fired from Gaza into Israel. So, if we want to discount terrorist attacks and just count missile attacks, then President Obama is rewarding Hamas to the tune of $1,080,000 for every rocket or mortar launched

Joe Klein sharply criticized Rubin’s characterization as “loathsome” in his own posting on the Swampland blog:

What Rubin doesn’t mention, of course, is that the Palestinian Authority is, in effect, at war with Hamas–and that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has been doing unprecedented work in creating a stable, secure environment on the West Bank, where there has been 8.5% GDP growth in the past year according to the World Bank…and where this $400 million will be spent… The creation of a prosperous, well-educated Palestinian middle class is precisely what is needed to counter the terrorist excesses of Hamas–but Rubin, who seems a rather rabid puppy, is one of those people who looks at Palestinians and sees only terrorists. Very ugly stuff, this–especially the Muslim-tainted splashback on the President, who is clearly doing the right thing here.

As usual Klein engages in ad hominem attacks on those with whom he disagrees.

Moreover, he sees in Rubin’s critique an imaginary “Muslim-tainted splashback on the President” rather than well-deserved criticism of Obama’s sharp tilt toward the Palestinians and away from Israel.  Witness, for example, Obama’s pressure on Israel to make unilateral concessions such as freezing all settlements and, most recently, abandoning its blockade of Gaza.

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