During the past week President Obama offered up a semi-detailed plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before heading off to Ireland, where he visited the home of his great-great-great grandfather. “And I’ve come home," Obama told a crowd of 25,000, "to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way."
If these lines leave you with a deja vu, sideways world kind of feeling … maybe it’s because you read a JTA dispatch from May 24, 1955 — about a congressman from Illinois who was offering up his own peace plan. His name … wait for it … Barrat O’Hara:
A five-point program for an American Middle East policy to promote democratic development and defense in the area was presented here to Illinois members of Congress by a group of Jewish leaders from Chicago representing various Jewish organizations. The program was later brought to the attention of the House together with a communication from the American Christian Palestine Committee in Chicago expressing "strong basic agreement" with the proposals.
The five-point program covered arms, economic aid, Arab-Israel peace negotiations, regional development projects and an American-Israel defense pact. Representative Barrat O’Hara, raising the issue on the floor of the House, said that the American Christian Palestine Committee regards the American policy of arming Arab nations as "a serious mistake" because it represents "a threat to Israel, a disservice to the Arab peoples themselves, and an invitation to Communism to breed on the increased area tensions that the arms will inevitably generate."