Assemblyman Rory Lancman of Queens sent a letter to Barack Obama asking him to “say loudly and clearly to the world” the words “Ani Yisraeli,” meaning “I am an Israeli.”
That unsolicited advice on “how to speak to my community” was sent by Lancman to Obama’s Washington office on June 29, in advance of Obama’s upcoming trip to the Middle East.
Lancman, whose Flushing Queens district includes a large Orthodox Jewish population, also suggests that Obama “challenge the Palestinians to build their nascent nation instead of building homemade missiles to launch into Israel,” and to say that “Jews can live in Hebron or anywhere else, and Israel has the right to protect them if the Palestinians won’t.”
It would certainly be an interesting political calculation for Obama to go out of his way not only to defend Israel’s right to self-defense — a standard Democratic (and Republican) position — but to take up the cause proactively of the settlers in overwhelmingly Palestinian areas like Hebron. As recent events have shown, taking hard-line positions doesn’t necessarily do a thing for Obama among hard-liners.