“Obama was a president of epic proportions from day one,” Indyk began. "You cannot expect less from a first African-American president. From his first day in the White House, he put the Middle East at the top of his political agenda. Unfortunately for him, his personal involvement only made things worse.”
“The vision he presented was great, the promise huge. But his cold, analytical and aloof attitude didn’t suit the Middle Eastern climate. Middle Eastern leaders, Israelis and Arabs alike, rely on the personal relations they develop with the president. Obama doesn’t develop personal relationships. It’s his character.”
There is no argument that regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, Obama’s first term of office has been a complete failure, I said. He promised to bring peace, but couldn’t renew the negotiations that took place on a regular basis during the Bush era. The Arab world didn’t believe him. The Israelis didn’t trust him......
The turning point was Obama’s speech at Cairo University in June 2009. I was there. After the speech, I spoke to Obama’s close advisers, Ram Emanuel and David Axelrod. I told them that the Israelis took the speech badly. The comparison between the Holocaust and Palestinian suffering infuriated them. The fact that Obama chose to speak in Cairo but not visit Jerusalem hurt their honor.
The two looked at each other in silence, as if to say, we knew it would happen, we warned him but he refused to listen. As time passed, the fact that Obama wrote the speech himself, against the advice of all his advisers, was made public.
“The demand to freeze the settlements was not new: previous presidents had made it and in certain times the Israelis complied. Obama demanded that natural growth not be taken into consideration. It was a new demand. Then he gave George Mitchell plenipotentiary authority to negotiate a compromise [that would produce less than a complete settlement freeze]. In doing so, he put Abu Mazen in an impossible position: he couldn’t have agreed for less than what Obama had demanded. Obama, Abu Mazen complained, put me on a high horse. I have no way to get off it.”
“That is how Obama operates. First, he sets a far-reaching goal. Then he looks for a compromise. At the end, no side is pleased.”
One imagines the president's apologists aren't pleased, either, by these high-profile defections from the Obama camp to the truth-telling camp.