CNN host Fareed Zakaria -- who recently admitted to participating in regular meetings with President Obama -- made some bold statements on his show today. Mainly, instead of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming out against elements of Obama's Mideast policy speech (where he said Israel's borders should be based on the 1967 lines), he suggested Netanyahu should have thanked the president for his speech:
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: We've just gone through an arcane debate about whether Barack Obama said anything new when he called for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps. In fact, that has been the working assumption of all negotiating parties -- America, Israel and the Palestinian authority -- for over 20 years. It is what the Camp David talks of 2000 were based on, it's what former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks with the Palestinians was based on.
The newsworthy and real shift in U.S. policy was President Obama publicly condemning the Palestinian strategy to seek recognition as a state from the U.N. General Assembly in September. Instead of thanking Obama for this, Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to stage, in the words of the former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas, quote, "nothing less than a bizarre tirade at the White House on Friday, educating the president about the plight (ph) and the pogroms of Jews throughout history," end quote.
So why did Netanyahu do this? Does it help Israel's security or strengthen it otherwise to stoke tensions with its strongest ally and largest benefactor, Washington? Does such behavior further the resolution of Israel's problems? No, but it helps Netanyahu stir up support at home and maintain his fragile coalition.
The real revelation, which has been picked up by many in the Israeli press, is that it shows finally that Netanyahu simply doesn't want a deal. He always has a new objection, a new problem, a new delaying tactic because, at core, he has never believed that the Palestinians should have a state.
As you probably already noted, Zakaria goes on to play a video quote of a much younger Bibi from 1978. And from the appearance, it seems Netanyahu has always been opposed to a Palestinian state. But Noel Sheppard from NewsBusters offers the ever-important context:
It might have been nice if Zakaria had offered viewers some context concerning these remarks.
The video of Netanyahu's entire testimony at that 1978 Cambridge forum is available at Right Scoop. At minute 2:30, Netanyahu said the following:
NETANYAHU: The Palestinians themselves, in the Palestinian National Covenant, the very first article, say that the people of Palestine quote “are part of the Arab nation.” Well, let’s look at the Arab nation. It has 21 states, and area roughly the size of the United States, and one sixth of the entire world’s wealth. Now add to that the fact that there already exists a Palestinian state, and that is Jordan, 60 percent of whose population is Palestinian. I think it’s quite interesting that Yasser Arafat and King Hussein who are bitter enemies agree on one thing: that Jordan is a Palestinian state. So what we’re talking about is a demand for a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state.
As such, and contrary to what Zakaria presented, Netanyahu didn't say he was opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. He said that he was for the creation of such a state in Jordan whose population at that time was 60 percent Palestinian and which was already recognized as a Palestinian state by much of the Arab world.
Not surprisingly, the CNN host that advises Obama didn't share that with his viewers.
It begs the question: Are these the type of things Zakaria is telling Obama?