David Frum

09.06.12

Obama "committed" on Jerusalem? Riiiiight.

On CNN Starting Point this morning, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the viewing audience that the omission of mention of Jerusalem as Israel's capital from the 2012 Democratic platform was a mere glitch, an oversight. The omission, she continued, was corrected at the behest of President Obama to reflect his personal fierce commitment to the unity of the city within Israel.

If that personal commitment exists on the part of Obama, it has been a well-kept secret. In his June 2008 speech to AIPAC, then candidate Obama pledged support for an undivided Jerusalem. His campaign walked back the statement the very next day, explaining that undivided meant physically undivided, not politically undivided.

In Cairo in 2009, President Obama invoked (and subtly misstated) the Islamic legend of Muhammad's "night journey," the basis of the Muslim theological claim to Jerusalem. President Obama made no such reference to Jewish claims to Jerusalem.

In his important May 2011 speech on the Arab spring, President Obama addressed Israeli-Palestinian issues. He expressed an American view on the appropriate boundary line between a future Palestinian and future Israeli state. He expressed no such view on the status of Jerusalem.

When Barack Obama feels strongly about something, the world hears about it. Jerusalem is not one of those somethings - despite the assurances of the DNC chair.