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President Obama's historic speech in Israel

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    CNN, March 21, 2013: Transcript: Obama's speech in Israel

    I watched President Obama's speech in Jerusalem today, and agree with many TV pundits that called it historic. Lawrence O'Donnell said that if he had given the same speech to AIPAC in the United States he would have been booed. Yet many of Obama's controversial remarks about the need for an independent Palestinian state received exuberant cheers from the Israeli audience of mostly young people. The cheering was a surprise to many, but what it revealed is that many Israelis are indeed on the same page as Obama on the Palestinian question despite what you might read in the media.

    The speech was over 50 minutes long. The transcript is at the above CNN link.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Memorable quotes from Obama speech in Israel:

    "You can be the generation that permanently secures the Zionist dream, or you can face a growing challenge to its future. Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine. Given the frustration in the international community, Israel must reverse an undertow of isolation. And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war – because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is strong enough, to stop every enemy from inflicting harm.

    "But the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized. Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.

    "Only you can determine what kind of democracy you will have. But remember that as you make these decisions, you will define not simply the future of your relationship with the Palestinians – you will define the future of Israel as well. As Ariel Sharon said, “It is impossible to have a Jewish, democratic state and at the same time to control all of Eretz Israel. If we insist on fulfilling the dream in its entirety, we are liable to lose it all.” Or, from a different perspective, think of what David Grossman said shortly after losing his son, as he described the necessity of peace – “a peace of no choice” he said, “must be approached with the same determination and creativity as one approaches a war of no choice.”"
    -------------------------------------------------

    Words that resonated in Israel...and were applauded by the audience.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I will add a few more lines from President Obama's speech in Israel and compare them to a speech he made to his supporters in 2008:

    Speech in Israel:

    "That is where peace begins – not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of people; not just in a carefully designed process, but in the daily connections that take place among those who live together in this land, and in this sacred city of Jerusalem. Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.

    "I know this is possible. Look to the bridges being built in business and civil society by some of you here today. Look at young people who have not yet learned a reason to mistrust, and those who have learned to overcome a legacy of mistrust that they inherited from their parents because of the simple recognition that we hold more hopes in common than the fear that drives us apart. Your voices must be louder than the extremists who would drown them out. Your hopes must light the way forward. Look to a future in which Jews, Muslims and Christians can all live in peace and greater prosperity in this Holy Land. Look to the future that you want for your own children – a future in which a Jewish, democratic state is protected and accepted, for this time and for all time."

    "We bear that history on our shoulders, and we carry it in our hearts. Today, as we face the twilight of Israel’s founding generation, you – the young people of Israel – must now claim the future. It falls to you to write the next chapter in the story of this great nation."

    --------------------------------
    Contrast these words with those of Senator Barack Obama in a speech he made to his supporters on February 5, 2008:

    New York Times: Barack Obama’s Feb. 5 Speech

    "But I'm here to say tonight to all of you who still harbor those doubts, we need you. (Cheers, applause.) We need you to stand with us. (Cheers, applause.) We need you to work with us. (Cheers, applause.) We need you to help us prove that together, ordinary people can still do extraordinary things in the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

    "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. (Cheers, applause.) We are the change that we seek. We are the hope of those boys who have so little, who've been told that they cannot have what they dream, that they cannot be what they imagine. Yes, they can."
    -----------------------------------------------------

    What doesn't appear in the transcript of his Israel speech is the many interruptions to applaud his words.

    This is classic Barack Obama. His words have remained true and consistent from the day he first campaigned for the Senate to his many speeches as president, many to young people at universities where he received the greatest applause...and now also to the young people of Israel who find hope in his words...if the establishment doesn't squash their hopes.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    This entire area (Middle East) has been a source of strife since before the current biblical era,with different regimes coming and going, people being displaced seems almost the normal thing to do as it happens so often, the various tribes and sects have existed since time immortal, but unfortunitly they carried long held grudges and feuds with them thru the ages and these conflicts never seem to end,whether its family, tribal, sect, or religious, even territory,the battle still rages, how to end such a long conflict is not going to be an easy thing to do, certainly not a speech or a sound byte will even come close to a resolution. This area is the birthplace of the three major religions of the World,you would think that a commonality like that would be a good starting point, but its not, at times that alone seems to be the reason for the conflict, I hope that it doesn't take a complete surrender or annililation of one side or the other to bring about peace,perhaps if the outside World takes a giant step out of the ring and let these people settle their differences between themselves and only interfere when World Politics are endangered, although the Middle East is rift with petty minded quasi rulers and others being driven by outside interests, they should all step back and let the people decide their own destiny, most of the inhabitants of the region want peace and to continue to live side by side as they did for centuries, and this is prior to the British Mandate and the old Jews vs Arab sectarian fighting.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    The Obama presence in Israel was refreshing. It was required, because President Obama was receiving alot of GOP and Tea Party trash about America's support to Israel. Obama is correct to stand cautiously, but strong, for Israel. This area of the world is a powder keg with a match approaching the fuse. Armaggedon can occur from the conflicts around Israel. Does anybody realize President Obama is the first American official to receive Israel's Medal of Distinctive service? I could not find any American military or official to have received this medal which many Israel citizens have received from 1970.

    As there is a major land dispute between Palestine and Israel, I am not surprised with the boos and protesting by Palestine. The history and biblical past of Israel is the reasons why there are disputed land and rights. Israel and the surrounding countries must negotiate there own destiny and America must stand back and be a supportive role for humanity. We must support Israel and the surrounding countries as we can with mutual understanding of human rights and try not too get too close to this evolving Armageddon. We may go to war in this part of world and if we do, I hope Bush and Cheney types stay away form the politics. America doesn't need another Iraq war.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Its difficult to have Peace talks when different border country's are calling for one country's complete annilation and or its subujcation,if its the decision of the people of that region to continue their conflict so be it, its their decision, however if the conflict spills over to include innocent countries then the so-called big powers should and must act.The Worlds Super Powers should only serve as an reactive force not a proactive, other wise we will likely get more stories of WMD's, or a Tonkin Gulf Resolution just to name two, and we all know how that worked out.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    I saw the speech too and thoroughly enjoyed it. He showed his ability to fully empathize with the Israelites, AND the Palestinians as well. And these Israelite youth actually applauded and gave him a standing ovation. This is because the youth are the exemplars of the future and Obama recognizes that. And now BOTH Israel and Palestine (at least their youth) recognize that the U.S. is a progressive nation and has the correct policies and leader to help them move forward with their lives in a way that will benefit them all.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    This evenings news is capturing a moment of great news. As I understand what was reported is that Obama's visit into Israel has prompted Turkey and Jordan to open talks or negotiate their differences. If this becomes reality and peace accords are again planted in the middle east, just maybe, there is hope.

    I realize that within Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Egypt there are great chasms separating them from peace with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood holds dearly a death wish for Israel and of course there's Iran. However, we can hope for Turkey and Jordan to become allies with Israel.

    Additionally, if this continues to foster peace and more hope for the middle-east, does this give Obama another Nobel prize? I can hear Rush and the Fox news flying monkey club flapping their lips.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Amc there has never been real peace in the middle east in our lifetimes (if ever) and probably never will be as long as Jews and Arabs live there. Too many..."leaders"...on all sides who foster hatred of the other side because that is their power base. Build rockets, recruit suicide bombers, teach hatred to children from the religous schools, all this keeps the hatred going and that's exactly how they like it. Terrorism and hate are big industry in that part of the world.

    If President Obama ever achieved real middle east peace he should recieve every Nobel Peace Prize for the rest of his life and after that the award should be retired. But it's NOT going to happen. It's wonderful that he can make some very small gains but that's the best we can hope for. Lots of small gains have been made in the past and the gains usually disappear quickly.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    johnnycee Wrote: This entire area (Middle East) has been a source of strife since before the current biblical era,with different regimes coming and going, people being displaced seems almost the normal thing to do as it happens so often, the various tribes and sects have existed since time immortal, but unfortunitly they carried long held grudges and feuds with them thru the ages and these conflicts never seem to end,whether its family, tribal, sect, or religious, even territory,the battle still rages, how to end such a long conflict is not going to be an easy thing to do, certainly not a speech or a sound byte will even come close to a resolution. This area is the birthplace of the three major religions of the World,you would think that a commonality like that would be a good starting point, but its not, at times that alone seems to be the reason for the conflict, I hope that it doesn't take a complete surrender or annililation of one side or the other to bring about peace,perhaps if the outside World takes a giant step out of the ring and let these people settle their differences between themselves and only interfere when World Politics are endangered, although the Middle East is rift with petty minded quasi rulers and others being driven by outside interests, they should all step back and let the people decide their own destiny, most of the inhabitants of the region want peace and to continue to live side by side as they did for centuries, and this is prior to the British Mandate and the old Jews vs Arab sectarian fighting.
    I'm glad that you see the picture as it is and not through the "colored glasses" of most of the people here. Just as you say since the Templars that region had to deal with us westeners as well besides the regional fights etc. Because of our meddling the "mess" gets only bigger; especially of our US religeous lobby, who makes things worse. A nation like the US should deal with all these countries the same way; no preferences. We've now created a situation by weaponing Israel with our our latest stuff; which of course irritates the surrounding countries; so there will never be a balance in that region; I'm convinced like you wrote that this region will remain in turmoil forever if we continue with our preference politics and close our eyes for settlements and other Israely expansion drift etc.
  • Democrat
    Julian, CA
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    Obama is asking the Israeli Government to play nice with their neighbors and considering their numbers it would make alot of sense. Actually Obama is just one of many, many American Presidents during the last two generations who have made such a request and the Israeli Government has made damn fools of every last one of them and the results have been disastrous for the Israeli people and the American people and if just one of these Presidents had the guts to just say to the Israeli Government these words; "if you don't play nice with your neighbors then the U.S. Governmnent will no longer play nice with you!"
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Progressiveconnie:
    Forgetting the I was here first arguement, would you also not ask the neighbors of Israel to play nice and stop sending rockets into their civilian areas, would that not also speed up the Peace process?
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    johnnycee Wrote: Progressiveconnie:
    Forgetting the I was here first arguement, would you also not ask the neighbors of Israel to play nice and stop sending rockets into their civilian areas, would that not also speed up the Peace process?
    It is quite simple; this was for centuries Palestinian land; they just want it back. The US sought a solution for the thousands of Jews who came from the German camps and created that solution in 1948; ever since that time the clashes were there and will continue. Since the US is responsible for setting up this state, then they should solve this own created situation by giving the Palestinians their own state and the same support as they give Israel.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Dutch:
    The British were the main thrust behind the making of a Jewish homeland,The British Mandate preserved land for the Jews before and after the Second World War,you must remember that the Brits were war weary,they were in various police actions( uprisings) in most of their colonies, including both Africa and India, the Irish problem just would'nt go away, and so by arriving at the solution for what was soon to become The British Mandate, was a chance for the Brits to get out of that section of the Middle East, and don't forget the Irgund , a very viable and effective gurrilla force for Israel, they were very adept at killing both Brits and Arabs, it didn't matter to them, they wanted the Brits out almost as much as the Brits wanted out, the various Arab factions also fought among themselves ,the Irgund and of course the Brits,so who could control or at least have a semblance of order in this region,the answer no one from the outside oblivously, so I say let those people in the region be their own masters,and only when the conflict cause greater instabilty elsewhere in the outside World, then the so-called super powers should act and only then, when there is reasonable stabilty,they leave.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    johnnycee Wrote: Dutch:
    The British were the main thrust behind the making of a Jewish homeland,The British Mandate preserved land for the Jews before and after the Second World War,you must remember that the Brits were war weary,they were in various police actions( uprisings) in most of their colonies, including both Africa and India, the Irish problem just would'nt go away, and so by arriving at the solution for what was soon to become The British Mandate, was a chance for the Brits to get out of that section of the Middle East, and don't forget the Irgund , a very viable and effective gurrilla force for Israel, they were very adept at killing both Brits and Arabs, it didn't matter to them, they wanted the Brits out almost as much as the Brits wanted out, the various Arab factions also fought among themselves ,the Irgund and of course the Brits,so who could control or at least have a semblance of order in this region,the answer no one from the outside oblivously, so I say let those people in the region be their own masters,and only when the conflict cause greater instabilty elsewhere in the outside World, then the so-called super powers should act and only then, when there is reasonable stabilty,they leave.
    Thanks, good story; however regardless of British Mandate, via the UN the US was involved very strongly via the Jewish lobby here.
    Indeed you are right that in your last line; that western policies are actually the ones who often bet on the wrong horse, so the turmoil continues as usual.