I'm on jury duty right now (and so is another Atlantic staffer, Rachael Brown, which means that about twelve percent of the entire Atlantic staff is in room 3130 of the Carl Moultrie D.C. Superior Court Building) and for whatever reason, the televisions in the juror holding pen, a/k/a the Huis Clos room, are showing an antique video about the career of Pete Rose, rather than the news, plus my connection to the Intertubes is slow, so I'm at a little bit of a deficit in reference to Obama's speech. From what I've seen, he established his strong belief that Israel should be a Jewish-majority democracy; he argued that the Palestinian use of violence has been counterproductive and immoral, and he didn't shift away from the traditional American understanding of Hamas; and he argued that the American idea and the Islamic idea can coexist, which is good, because it pisses off Osama Bin-Laden.
One worry grows from what he didn't say in this passage:
"It is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation... America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own."
What he didn't say was that many Palestinian problems are self-created; that so much unhappiness could have been avoided if Arabs had accepted the right of Jews to return to their ancestral home. But it is also undeniably true that the Palestinians deserve the dignity of their own state, and that state, by the way, is a key to Israel's salvation. More later, once I watch a recap of the 1975 World Series, which was one of the greatest ever and a lot more uplifting than the Middle East.
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