Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D, NY-8) went off against President Obama over his Israeli policies in a lengthy, exclusive interview with GestetnerUpdates.com. But the Congressman also mounted a strong defense of the President against attacks from the right, claiming that Obama does a lot to defend Israel while Bush “spoke tough yet held only a tooth pick” against Iran.
The Congressman said “President Obama made a number of mistakes in his first one and a half years in office on Israel and his Middle East policies… First one was insisting to stopping settlements before negotiations got going, which was a mistake for a lot of reasons. For example, is gave Abbas an excuse to avoid negotiations. Secondly, asking that negotiations start with 1967 borders. It was actually our policy under Clinton and Bush too but it didn’t need to stay this way. Frankly, [that land] didn’t need to be given away for free, [certainly] when the Palestinians were not doing anything on their part. I think those were some mistakes.”
But Mr. Nadler came around fully behind the President overall on Israel: “Obama never defended himself” against attacks from the Right, says Nadler. Obama “never pointed out even until the current date that when he took office he very sharply stepped up military aid to Israel, way beyond what Bush has been doing… very sharply stepped up military coordination with Israel… instituted two special emergency appropriations for anti missile systems, but I don’t think he has gotten any credit for all this… the early campaign to paint him as not being a friend of Israel is not correct. I think he is a friend of Israel.”
Mr. Nadler reveals in his interview that early on in the Obama Administration, former Middle East envoy and then senior State-Department official Dennis Ross told Congress “‘when we came into office, the American commitment in keeping Israel military stronger than any potential coalition of enemies have been weakened and has not been carried forward. We didn’t say it publicly, we didn’t criticize the Bush Administration, but we should be sharply stepping up military aid to Israel.'”