Obama Administration Chastises Israel

The snippet below was written by Tovah Lazaroff and published by the Jerusalem Post.

The United States has called Israel over its approval of 147 new West Bank settler homes and its decision to advance plans for 949 other units just one week after direct peace negotiations resumed in Washington.


The second round of talks is to be held in Jerusalem on August 14, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Thursday at a press briefing in Washington…


She chastised Israel for its continued West Bank settlement activity.


“We are speaking to the government of Israel and making our concerns known,” Psaki said. “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and opposes any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts.”

The Obama administration, in agreement with dictator Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, believes that there are certain places where Jews should be allowed to live, and other places where Jews should not be allowed to live, on Jewish land.

The worst mistake that western-left Jewry has made was in legitimizing this contempt for those of us who live in Judea and Samaria.  By doing so, we played directly into the hands of Fatah, who will use the presence of Jews on historically Jewish land as a reason to subvert negotiations and reject a state for themselves in peace next to Israel.

Israel has made some terrific blunders in the past, not the least of which was giving away the Temple Mount.  One of the biggest blunders of the diaspora Jewish community, however, was in condemning their fellow Jews who choose to live where the Jewish people originally came from.

The current dynamic within the so-called “peace process” is grounded in prejudice against Jews who live where neither Barack Obama, nor Mahmoud Abbas, want them to live.  For Jewish people to require of other Jewish people that they not be allowed to live where Jews come from is a betrayal and it needs to stop.

Just because Jewish people move into Judea it does not mean that Abbas cannot draw a line on a map.

Jews who live, and thus build housing for themselves, in Judea and Samaria are not in any way preventing a negotiated conclusion of hostilities.  They are, rather, the convenient excuse that the Palestinian Authority uses in order to avoid peace and to blame the Jews of Israel for their hostility and aggression towards those Jews.

That is the Palestinian Authority’s tactic, but it can only work because the Obama administration and the European Union accepts this bigoted notion on its face.  If the Obama administration and the EU denounced this racism then the PA could not use it to subvert the peace process.  But, it should also be noted that the neither the United States, nor the European Union, could reasonably advance the PA’s tactic without a significant degree of approval from Jewish people around the world.

So long as we legitimize and promote discrimination against Jews who live on historically Jewish land then we are legitimizing and promoting Arab racism and intransigence in making peace with the Jews of the Middle East.

The diaspora Jewish community bares some responsibility for how this is all playing out because it has agreed with dictator Abbas that Jews who live where he does not want them to live are a major reason for the lack of peace.

This is a mistake that we can reverse and it is a mistake that we must reverse if we ever hope to see an actual conclusion of hostilities sometime in the future.

Peace cannot come grounded in racism toward Jews.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at