"When I tried to describe the things I had seen in Israel and Palestine, people in the U.S. tended to assume I was exaggerating, because it didn't match at all with what they were used to hearing on the news. I decided to write something that started from zero and told an engaging story, so that people would 'hear me out.'"
Invoking the wisdom of Gandhi, Obama told the Israeli students that they must become and create the change they want to see. He could have also told them that Gandhi said, "in matters of conscience the law of the majority has not place."
It would be a mistake to view President Obama's visit to Israel as just a fence-mending exercise. It is in fact part of a planned redesign of U.S. foreign policy that will change the face of American leadership around the world.
The student senate at UC Riverside voted on March 6 to divest from companies doing business in Israel.
Whether you see Obama's Israel speech as a great motivational speech or a white flag of surrender, the practical consequences for the public are largely the same: the initiative for justice is going to have to come from somewhere else.
Obama's visit to the West Bank took him into the center of the Palestinian tragedy where outrage over Israel's military occupation and civilian settlements has been punctuated by bursts of terrorist violence, quiet oppression, and demoralizing acquiescence.
Putting oneself in the shoes of one's opponent or even just someone different from oneself, i.e., empathy, is at the heart of Obama's entire worldview.
Israeli military law imposed in the occupied West Bank places sweeping and arbitrary restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. This makes any unauthorized peaceful protest by Palestinians a criminal offence.
Obama accomplished what he had to. He reached over Netanyahu's head and spoke directly to the Israeli people, explaining why peace is in their own best interest and why justice for the Palestinians cannot be denied. And he was cheered.
The path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians looks as cloudy as ever. It may be time to take peace out of the hands of the politicians and place it in the hands of those who have the most to lose -- you and me.
The visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to the Middle East is a potentially good thing for peace. The problem is how to make this factor last -- how to create mechanisms that will continue to work even when a U.S. president or his secretary of state are not around.
Ben Ehrenreich's piece neither adhered to the Israeli line nor was it balanced. It had a clear point of view: The occupation is a terrible thing that should not continue. Does that make it biased? It would, if there was another side to the argument.
When it comes to cooking growing up in Gaza, it's no different than growing up in any mediterranean climate country.
President Obama's upcoming trip to Israel prompts us to note the death from cancer last week of a fascinating and prophetic religious figure in the West Bank -- Chief Rabbi Menachem Froman of the Takoa settlement, a few miles from the Dead Sea.
The president will go to great lengths to reassure Israelis of his unyielding support for their security. But, as he reiterates these commitments, Obama will also urge his Israeli audiences to take a long hard look at what a failed peace process means to Israel's next generations.
The United States has the power, responsibility, and certainly the strategic interests to put an end to this self-consuming conflict in a region where the stakes for all concerned cannot be overestimated.