In an interview for a story I wrote about Barack Obama’s impact on Israel politics in America, Anthony Weiner suggested that the president’s attention-getting statements about settlements weren’t the real issue. The main point of contention among local Israel supporters, he said, may end up being Obama’s position on aide to Gaza.
“He says something in the [Cairo] speech about the United States has to respect elections. Now that’s either Hamas or Lebanon,” said Weiner. “If that was a hat-tip to the notion that we have to negotiate with Hamas or provide aid to the territories, which he is going to try to do—these are now substantive things that there is disagreement on in the pro-Israel Jewish community. Then he’d be going against 75 percent of where people are.”
In the Op-Ed page of last week’s Times, Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister and Kadima Party leader, argued against allowing groups like Hamas into open elections.
“Say he wants to send aid to Gaza, which he does, well that’s hard to do,” added Weiner. “That’s the equivalent of sending aid to Iran. I don’t care what kind of N.G.O. you go through, you are still sending aid to a government that is pretty hostile.”
“I do think that if you have a plan to provide aid to the people of Gaza or you start to negotiate with Hamas, then you are into a place where you might get some liberals saying, ‘Yeah, well why not,'” said Weiner. “But then you are in a different place because you are pushing the envelope some.”