Barack Obama's typical response to those who complain that he favors the Palestinians too much is that in actuality he does support Israel, but that that support is rooted in Israel's "Jewish values." When Israel strays from these "Jewish values," Obama sees it as his place to prod Israel to come closer to those values that make Israel worthy of support.
It may be tempting to dismiss Obama's protests as camouflage for his ulterior intent to reimpose the Pact of Umar on Middle Eastern Jewry. However, I do not think any such approach
All at once, in this whitish band, two figures made their appearance. One was in front, the other some distance in the rear.
"There come two creatures," muttered Gavroche.
The first form seemed to be some elderly bourgeois, who was bent and thoughtful, dressed more than plainly, and who was walking slowly because of his age, and strolling about in the open evening air.
The second was straight, firm, slender. It regulated its pace by that of the first; but in the voluntary slowness of its gait, suppleness and agility were discernible. This figure had also something fierce and disquieting about it, the whole shape was that of what was then called an elegant; the hat was of good shape, the coat black, well cut, probably of fine cloth, and well fitted in at the waist. The head was held erect with a sort of robust grace, and beneath the hat the pale profile of a young man could be made out in the dim light. The profile had a rose in its mouth. This second form was well known to Gavroche; it was Montparnasse [a street ruffian].
He could have told nothing about the other, except that he was a respectable old man.
While Gavroche was deliberating, the attack took place, abruptly and hideously. The attack of the tiger on the wild ass, the attack of the spider on the fly. Montparnasse suddenly tossed away his rose, bounded upon the old man, seized him by the collar, grasped and clung to him, and Gavroche with difficulty restrained a scream. A moment later one of these men was underneath the other, groaning, struggling, with a knee of marble upon his breast. Only, it was not just what Gavroche had expected. The one who lay on the earth was Montparnasse; the one who was on top was the old man. All this took place a few paces distant from Gavroche.
The old man had received the shock, had returned it, and that in such a terrible fashion, that in a twinkling, the assailant and the assailed had exchanged roles.
[After obsering a struggle, Gavroche caught the exchange between the old man and his attacker]
He was repaid for his conscientious anxiety in the character of a spectator. He was able to catch on the wing a dialogue which borrowed from the darkness an indescribably tragic accent. The goodman questioned, Montparnasse replied.
"How old are you?"-- "Nineteen."-- "You are strong and healthy. Why do you not work?"-- "It bores me."-- "What is your trade?"-- "An idler."-- "Speak seriously. Can anything be done for you? What would you like to be?"-- "A thief."
A pause ensued. The old man seemed absorbed in profound thought. He stood motionless, and did not relax his hold on Montparnasse.
Every moment the vigorous and agile young ruffian indulged in the twitchings of a wild beast caught in a snare. He gave a jerk, tried a crook of the knee, twisted his limbs desperately, and made efforts to escape.
The old man did not appear to notice it, and held both his arms with one hand, with the sovereign indifference of absolute force.
The old man's revery lasted for some time, then, looking steadily at Montparnasse, he addressed to him in a gentle voice, in the midst of the darkness where they stood, a solemn harangue, of which Gavroche did not lose a single syllable:--
"My child, you are entering, through indolence, on one of the most laborious of lives. Ah! You declare yourself to be an idler! prepare to toil. ... Woe to the man who desires to be a parasite! He will become vermin! Ah! So it does not please you to work? Ah! You have but one thought, to drink well, to eat well, to sleep well. You will drink water, you will eat black bread, you will sleep on a plank with a fetter whose cold touch you will feel on your flesh all night long, riveted to your limbs. ... You desire fine black cloth, varnished shoes, to have your hair curled and sweet-smelling oils on your locks, to please low women, to be handsome. You will be shaven clean, and you will wear a red blouse [prison uniform of that day] and wooden shoes. You want rings on your fingers, you will have an iron necklet on your neck. ... Believe me, do not undertake that painful profession of an idle man. It is not comfortable to become a rascal. It is less disagreeable to be an honest man. Now go, and ponder on what I have said to you. By the way, what did you want of me? My purse? Here it is."
And the old man, releasing Montparnasse, put his purse in the latter's hand; ...
Les Misérables, Volume IV, Book IV, Chapter II
To relate this story to Israel's situation, the Palestinians are like Montparnasse with Israel as the elderly gentleman. The Palestinians are poor and see others' possessions as belonging to them, and thus try to rob Israel. Israel, being in a stronger position, suppresses the attempted robbery. But, Jewish values mandate sympathy for the downtrodden, do they not? Thus, if Israel were truly acting in accordance with "Jewish values," she would give the Palestinians what they are attempted to seize despite having them at her mercy, as the elderly gentleman did in the vignette. Could this be what Obama expects of Israel, that sympathy for the downtrodden should override all assessment of what leads to their being downtrodden?