By Matthew Rothschild on September 21, 2011

Shamefully, President Obama went to the United Nations to announce that he was standing in the way of Palestinian statehood.

He didn’t give any good reason for it.

Because there’s no good reason to oppose statehood for Palestine.

Obama said that Palestine could become a state only through negotiations with Israel.

““Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Obama said. “The deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes.”

But those negotiations have been going on for decades now, with not even a glimmer of hope in recent years of a resolution.

Obama himself has repeatedly said that he favors a Palestinian state.

But he can’t bring himself to agree with virtually every other country in the world—including our major allies—that Israel should withdraw to its 1967 borders and pull out of the Occupied Territories.

Israel, under Netanyahu and many other previous prime ministers, has stubbornly refused to do so and instead, has illegally built settlement after settlement on Palestinian land and has made daily life a misery for the Palestinians.

And yes, intermittent Palestinian attacks on Israelis have not expedited the peace process, either.

But a Palestinian state along the ’67 borders would not threaten Israel. Even former prime minister Ehud Olmert has acknowledged that.

Actually, a Palestinian state would make Israel more secure because what really threatens Israel is the almost-45-year occupation. It is a hatchery of hatred for millions of people around the Arab and Muslim worlds.

And sometimes that hatred is directed at the U.S., Israel’s chief ally.

As it no doubt will again, after Obama’s shortsighted and cowardly speech at the United Nations.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "We Don’t Need More Drone Strikes Around the World."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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