Obama: Open, Public Debate With Israel

More

As I noted in a post last night, there has been a quiet debate in Washington over the past month over how to talk to Israel: whether negotiations should be kept private or disagreements should be aired in public.

When President Obama made it clear today, in his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, that he wants things out in the open.

On one side is AIPAC, and the 328 representatives and 76 senators who signed onto a letter earlier this month, who say we should keep things private: "The proven best way forward is to work closely and privately together both on areas of agreement and especially on areas of disagreement," its letter reads. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, most notably, sit in that camp.

On the other side is J Street, the up-and-coming, liberally aligned, peace-promoting lobby group that aims to rival AIPAC. With them is Rep. Barney Frank, who penned a letter to Obama on his own, arguing that disagreements with Israel, as they are with other democratic countries, should be public.

"Given the fact that we are both democracies where public policy should ultimately set with the support of the people in each country, it would be a mistake to refuse to discuss important differences on how to achieve our mutual goals in a way that the electorates in both countries could understand," Frank wrote.

Speaking in Cairo today, Obama addressed the issue head on: "America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs," he said, rebuffing AIPAC's call for privacy and restraint.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In