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November 17, 2010 10:20 pm

It’s a Matter of Trust

avatar by Dovid Efune

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Helen Thomas at a recent speaking engagement. Photo: rachaelvoorhees.

I am absolutely certain that the topic of Helen Thomas and for that matter Jimmy Carter have now fallen beyond the realm of matters that are worth dignifying with any attention whatsoever. Perhaps however, within the wider framework of a discussion on the subject of public apologies and the matter of well known figures working to build a trustworthy relationship with their constituents, it may be excusable to mention them.

In case you were wondering what Helen Thomas has been up to since her retirement and subsequent written apology when she said, “I deeply regret my comments I made regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians,” the answer is that she has been reaffirming her belief in her original anti Israeli statements on a number of public platforms. On October 17th, she told WMRN-AM radio’s Scott Spears that she made her bigoted comments, “Because it’s the truth,” and in a recent Real News Network interview, aired online, she elaborated further without remorse on her now infamous original remarks.

Jimmy Carter has been an especially harsh critic of Israel, writing a book that compares Israel’s policies to those of apartheid South Africa, meeting with leaders of terrorist groups and making a slew of slanderous pronouncements against the Jewish State.

Last December Carter apologized to the American Jewish community for ‘stigmatizing Israel’ and asked for forgiveness for his actions. In his letter to the JTA he wrote, “As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

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Carter continued, “We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help it continue to improve relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel.”

However, as has been highlighted by Abraham Foxman of the ADL in a highly publicized article published by the Huffington Post entitled ‘Jimmy Carter: Have You No Shame,’ Carter has been spewing the same one sided vile rhetoric  as before. Visiting Damascus, he told the media that the residents of Gaza “are held in a cage or prison while their human rights are taken away.”

As Foxman points out, “The majority and intensity of his criticisms during his visit to the region were directed at Israel. The Israeli blockade of Gaza was deemed illegal and an obstacle to peace and the fact that Hamas remains a terrorist entity committed to Israel’s destruction was not mentioned while he called for its involvement in peace negotiations.”

The practical implications of Carter and Thomas’ insincerity are minimal, and I don’t think that many were surprised by it. However, the clear lesson for the Jewish community is that when it comes to developing an atmosphere of trust between Israel and various decision makers in the arena of global decision making, we need to give less credence to what leaders say and more to what is actually done.

Today Israel once again finds itself in a tight spot as the Israeli cabinet and Prime Minister are under overwhelming pressure to renew a complete freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria, leading, in America’s estimation to a renewal of dialogue and a full settlement and final agreement in just over a year.

But what the Israeli leadership needs to acknowledge here, is the reality that President Obama can’t be trusted to address Israel’s real security needs and this is certainly the case with the Palestinian Authority. This is a topic of almost unanimous agreement for the Israeli public, as the President’s approval rating hovers around the 6% mark.

Obama has been inconsistent at best, expressing hostility towards the Israeli Prime Minister earlier in the year and disappointment over renewed construction in East Jerusalem neighborhoods during his recent visit to Indonesia.  Following a period leading up to the midterms where Obama seemed to express more warmth towards Israel, Obama’s latest condemnation symbolizes another breach of trust.

President Abbas and the Palestinian Arab leadership are repeat offenders, continuously making conflicting statements they have reneged on a number of commitments, most notably those outlined in the 1993 Oslo Accords.

To give a startling example, earlier this year the PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech that his party’s being in power is the only difference between it and the rival Hamas terrorist faction.

The Israeli public has no doubts, as a matter of trust; the Obama administration has lost its credibility and the Palestinian Arab leadership never had any. It is high time that the leaders of the Jewish State began to act accordingly.

The Author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

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