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Obama's Rosh Hashanah message omits Palestine mention

President Barack Obama's videotaped message for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, includes plenty of tough pro-Israel talk, but drops references he's made in prior years to settling Israel's differences with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors.

In his new message, Obama speaks in vague terms about advancing the goal of peace, but suggests this can be done chiefly by steadfast U.S. support for Israel. He makes no mention at all of
the Palestinian statehood bid causing a stir at the United Nations or of the push the U.S. and others are making to get the Israelis and Palestinians to re-open peace negotiations and ink a deal by the end of 2012.

The shift in Obama's tone comes amidst
fretting in various quarters about his support among Jewish Americans as he makes a major fundraising push in advance of his re-election bid next year.

"Many of our closest allies – including the State of Israel – face the uncertainties of an unpredictable age," Obama say
s in the video out Tuesday. "That is why my Administration is doing everything we can to promote prosperity here at home and security and peace throughout the world – and that includes reaffirming our commitment to the State of Israel. While we cannot know all that the New Year will bring, we do know this: the United States will continue to stand with Israel, because the bond between our two nations is unshakable."

Obama's Rosh Hashanah message from 2
010, by contrast, referred explicitly to the prospect for a Palestinian state.

"At a time when Israelis and Palestinians have returned to direct dialogue, it is up to us to encourage and support those who are willing to move beyond their differences and work towards security and peace in the Holy Land," the president said. "Progress will not come easy, it will not come quick. But today we had an opportunity to move forward, toward the goal we share—two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."

In 2009, Obama referred proudly to U.S. efforts to resolve tensions between "Israel and its Arab neighbors."

"Let us work to achieve lasting peace and security for the state of Israel, so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors, and its children can live their dreams free from fear," Obama
said as he marked the first Rosh Hashanah of his presidency. "That is why my Administration is actively pursuing the lasting peace that has eluded Israel and its Arab neighbors for so long."

Smith notes that Obama's new 2011 statement does make a positive reference to the Arab Spring, albeit without mentioning Arabs.

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