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To Obama and Clinton, Israel Is Merely “An Aspiration”

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Posted on October 15 2010 5:00 pm
Seth Mandel is the former managing editor of four New Jersey-based newspapers, where he won awards for his coverage of the Middle East and Russia. He has appeared on Shalom TV's current affairs roundtable. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @SethAMandel
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The State Department's map of Israel?

In an ironic twist, the Israel-does-not-exist propagandizing that Hillary Clinton once attacked as child abuse is being regurgitated by her own State Department.

It’s taxpayer funded Arab agitprop, and it was on display at Tuesday’s press briefing with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, which was significantly more illuminating than he intended. Here is the first of the two crucial exchanges:

QUESTION: And do you recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. CROWLEY: We recognize the aspiration of the people of Israel. It has–it’s a democracy. In that democracy, there’s a guarantee of freedom and liberties to all of its citizens. But as the Secretary has said, we understand that–the special character of the state of Israel.

This press conference has been cited and discussed elsewhere because of its special attention to the question of Israel’s character as a Jewish state. But no attention has been paid to the most important–and frankly, rather shocking–implication of the answer repeatedly given by Crowley.

We recognize the aspiration of the people of Israel.

The aspiration? It’s true that eventually Crowley admitted recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, but that was after he was hounded by the press corps for an answer and was finally forced to give a yes or no. But his original formulation–the aspiration–was repeated more than once.

Here is the second time, and I’ll give Crowley’s full answer both for the sake of context and because it is simply astounding. Italics are mine.

QUESTION: Because Abbas said they recognize the state of Israel. Does the U.S. want the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. CROWLEY: Look, I will be happy to go back over and offer some–I’m trying–I’m not making any news here. We have recognized the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well. But this is the aspiration of the–what Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence, the–a core demand of the Israeli government, which we support, is a recognition that Israel is a part of the region, acceptance by the region of the existence of the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and that is what they want to see through this negotiation. We understand this aspiration and the prime minister was talking yesterday about the fact that just as they aspire to a state for the Jewish people in the Middle East, they understand the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.

Does the U.S. State Department believe Israel exists–at all? That’s a serious question. It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well. It’s not a Jewish state, it’s an everybody state, declares Mr. Crowley.

Then he uses the phrase again–this is the aspiration of the Israelis. In other words, being a Jewish state is what the Israelis are hoping to establish. Then the grand finale: just as they aspire to a state for the Jewish people in the Middle East, they understand the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.

No word in that part about recognition of even the status quo. In P.J. Crowley’s estimation–and remember, Crowley speaks for the State Department–the Palestinian aspiration for a state is equal to that of the Israelis.

Crowley is speaking as if the establishment of a Jewish state will be determined by the outcome of negotiations. In fact, he comes right out and says so. To Crowley, the Jewish state doesn’t yet exist.

This is merely an extension of the false narrative peddled by President Obama in his famed address to the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009. Obama drew criticism from all corners when he linked Israel’s founding to the Holocaust. This is the theory–particularly popular on college campuses–that Israel’s founding was in response to atrocities in Europe that made the Palestinian people pay for Germany’s sins.

The pro-Israel community is constantly warning the obsessive peace processors that what bothers the Arabs is not 1967, when Israel took control in a defensive war of Judea and Samaria. What the Palestinians want to revisit and re-litigate is 1948–the founding of the state of Israel.

Crowley’s comments only encourage this line of thinking. The Palestinians could be forgiven for thinking that Israel’s very existence is on the table when all the State Department can muster is talk of the Jews’ “aspiration” for a Jewish state in Israel, just as the Palestinians hope the Jews can one day help them recognize their own dream of statehood.

So it’s not Arab recognition of the Jewish state that Israel needs first and foremost; it’s the Obama administration’s recognition that Israel exists in its current form.

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