The White House/Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel following a meeting with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea in the Oval Office, June 16.
Last month, President Barack Obama delivered a speech on the Middle East that included a prescription for Israel-Palestine negotiations.
The speech, delivered at the state department, did not go over well with Jews. Many, including Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu who visited the white house the day after Obama's speech, decried the president's suggestion that Palestine be defined by its 1967 borders.
Obama needed a buffer. So who'd he tap to come to his defense with Israelites? That's right, Rahm Emanuel, his former chief of staff who happens to be Jewish.
Emanuel ran for Chicago mayor partly on the strength of his immigrant story. He often touted the fact that his father was an immigrant from Israel. So he is the perfect man to defend Obama's stance in the Washington Post Op-Ed pages.
Days into my tenure as mayor of Chicago, with my focus on keeping our city’s streets safe, our schools strong and our finances stabilized, I expected my attention to be in the Midwest, not in the Middle East. But as an American and the son of an Israeli immigrant, I have a deep, abiding commitment to the survival, security and success of the state of Israel.
I am among the many who know that the Israeli people yearn for peace. They have taken risks for peace in spite of dangers. They will again, when they have a viable partner in the process and a region that recognizes a Jewish state of Israel with secure and defensible borders.
President Obama, like every student of the Middle East, understands that the shifting sands of demography in that volatile region are working against the two-state solution needed to end generations of bloodshed. The fragile stasis that exists today cannot hold.
Read the entire op-ed at Washington Post.com.