Several of the likely Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election criticized President Obama for not being supportive enough of Israel in his big Middle East speech Thursday. Obama's wide-ranging address was largely about the Arab Spring and providing aid to Egypt and Tunisia, but the line that the candidates are objecting to is his call for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine based on the 1967 borders. Mitt Romney said Obama "has thrown Israel under the bus," Michele Bachmann said he "betrayed our friend and ally." Tim Pawlenty said the line was "a mistaken and very dangerous demand."
Rick Santorum said the whole speech demonstrated the "sad state of American diplomacy," and Ron Paul, the most isolationist of the 2012 lineup, said it is not America's place "to dictate how Israel runs her affairs."
The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg says Obama's position isn't that striking, actually. Though other parts of the speech offered for something new--an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, a denunciation of Palestinians seeking statehood status from the United Nations--saying the 1967 borders should be used in creating a Palestinian state is old news, he writes.
I'm feeling a certain Groundhog Day effect here. This has been the basic idea for at least 12 years. This is what Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were talking about at Camp David, and later, at Taba. This is what George W. Bush was talking about with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.
And, Goldberg follows up, if this is throwing Israel "under a bus"--at a time when American and Israeli military cooperation "has never been better"--then there are "a lot of countries out there that would like to be thrown under similar buses."