Obama Israel Trip Mostly Benefits Pro-Israel Americans

President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to Israel won’t have much of a lasting impact for the Middle East, but one big winner in this trip will be pro-Israel advocates such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). On Wednesday afternoon, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference in which the president said, "The United States of America stands with the State of Israel because it is in our fundamental national security interest to stand with Israel."

The country's president, Shimon Peres, also had high praises for Obama's cooperation, thanking him for many "sleepless nights" and saying that there could be no "better leader."

The visit puts into the spotlight the debate on Obama allegedly being the most anti-Israel president ever. In a 2009, speech Obama gave in Cairo, he ruffled feathers ofwith some pro-Israel advocates, with one writer saying, "His dislike of Netanyahu is as clear as his love for the Muslim call to prayer, as he noted in his 2009 Cairo speech, when he called it the sweetest sound on earth."

A Washington Post editorial suggested that Obama “sought to publicly distance himself from Israel early in his term, and he erred in centering his push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a secondary issue — Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He has never visited Israel.”

Obama did visit Israel as a presidential candidate in 2008 — a fact the Post omitted.

The editorial even went on to say that it appeared Netanyahu would sooner have favored a Mitt Romney election victory. More recently, Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel received instant backlash from Israel advocates for allegedly being hostile to Israel.

Obama’s arrival in itself suggests that his presence is dedicated more towards a feel-good, photo-op journey rather one filled with negations concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of course, this is a conflict that goes beyond the roots of the Obama administration. It is one that began with the end of the Ottoman Empire, when ethnic Turks started to discriminate against the Arabs. From generalized hostility came forth the localized hostility seen present day between the neighboring countries. However, the urgency behind said conflict isn't prominent as it once was, according to many analysts. In light of events such as the Arab Spring, the ongoing conflict between Arab nationalism and Zionism has been set in the back burner. In the end, the president has a slew of politics concerning the region on his plate that one visit can't fix. 

The results of a recent poll found that Israelis viewed Obama as pro-Palestine rather than pro-Israeli. With the development of this high-profile trip, pro-Israel groups emerge with a victory backed by press conference evidence. 

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Zainab Akande

Born and raised in New York City, Zainab is a University of Delaware alum, currently working on obtaining her M.A. in journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York. http://zainabakande.com/

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