Did Obama backtrack on Jerusalem?
Alex Wong/Getty Images His campaign says no: Asked for comment, the Obama campaign put a reporter in immediate contact with Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. — an Orthodox Jew, a strong supporter of Israel and Obama’s point man on many of these issues — who told ABC News, “that is not backtracking.” “His position has been ...
Alex Wong/Getty Images
His campaign says no:
Asked for comment, the Obama campaign put a reporter in immediate contact with Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. — an Orthodox Jew, a strong supporter of Israel and Obama’s point man on many of these issues — who told ABC News, “that is not backtracking.”
“His position has been the same for the past 16 months,” Wexler said. “He believes Jerusalem should be an undivided city and must be the capital of a Jewish state of Israel. He has also said — and it’s the same position as President Bush, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert — that Jerusalem is of course a ‘final status’ issue,” meaning it would be one of the key and final points of negotiation for a Palestinian state. “And Sen. Obama as president would not dictate final status issues. He will permit the Palestinians and Israel to negotiate, and he would respect any conclusion they reach.”
ABC’s Jake Tapper concludes, “The record seems to back Wexler’s argument that Obama has said both that Jerusalem should be Israel’s undivided capital, and that its status is ultimately up to Israel.” (Which is different, I would note, than saying its status should be up to both parties.)
Still, it seems like this is an awfully fine needle to thread. It’s like saying to your daughter, “You shouldn’t marry that jerk, but it’s up to you” — the kind of thing that creates some real problems in the family down the road.
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
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