Obama's Israel "Crisis"


President Obama has been attentive to America's enemies.  He has made the policy of "engagement" an end in itself.  For the leaders of Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, and the Sudan, Obama has been the consummate diplomat.  For his troubles, he has been treated with contempt and defiance. 

Iran steals elections in broad daylight, and continues to pursue its ballistic and nuclear ambitions.  So, too, North Korea.  Venezuela tightens its grip around what few free institutions still exist and happily annexes more of the private sector.  Syria aids Hamas and Hezbollah and works closely with Iran.  And Sudan persists in its genocidal efforts against black African Muslims in Darfur. 

When it comes to democratic allies however it's a different story.  Here we discover another side of Obama. 

For England, the "special" relationship based on shared history, language, culture, morals, and political systems, is all but out the window. 

There were slights to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the return of the Churchill bust from the Oval Office, siding with Argentina over the Falklands, and the denial that a "special" relationship even exists between our two nations by State Department officials.  But as a man of the left, Obama no doubt entertains certain reservations about former "colonial" powers like Great Britain.

He blindsided NATO allies and fellow democracies, Poland and Czechoslovakia, by unilaterally reneging on plans to place missile defense systems so as to placate Russia, which somehow felt threatened by them.

He supported Chavez wannabe, Manuel Zelaya, in his efforts to illegally extend his term as President of Honduras, pitting the US against the democratically elected Honduran Congress, Supreme Court, and Constitution.

He recently visited China and Indonesia but passed over the world's largest democracy and rising Asian power, India, a natural ally with a common language and a bulwark against Chinese hegemony in the region.

As a card carrying liberal, and defender of human rights and democracy, he earlier refused to meet the Dalai Lama in deference to the Chinese Communist regime or comment on the jailing of Chinese human rights and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, perhaps not wanting to offend the financiers of his massive debts; he also failed to provide moral support of any kind for pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran.

Obama as candidate spoke movingly of the tragedy of Darfur; in office, however, Obama casts a blind eye toward Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal responsible for the murder, rape, and displacement of millions; he and his State Department are mute when it comes to his upcoming fraudulent election.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, yet another Latin American Chavez knock-off, has also been busily closing down newspapers, taking over TV stations, and bullying or jailing or filing lawsuits against journalists who oppose him; members of his government maintain relations with Columbia's FARC rebels; Correa, like Chavez, is also cultivating a warm friendship with Iran.  But Obama seems unable to resist the charms of left wing tyrants.  He has not ruled out a meeting with the dictator in the near future and has had little to say about his goonish behavior.

President Obama did not bother to attend the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin wall and its reunification in November last year, spurning German Chancellor Angela Merkel's invitation.  He was too busy to celebrate one of the high water marks in the battle of freedom over tyranny led, of course, by his own country.  For a citizen of the world like Obama, our first "post American President," who is embarrassed by any references to American "exceptionalism," he would prefer, perhaps, not to call attention to the role his country played in that epic event in the Cold War.

He saw fit to deliver a severe tongue lashing to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, lecturing him on his shortcomings, the only winner of which, of course, was the Taliban.  While it is true that Karzai has tolerated corruption and oversaw a tainted election, the election is now over and he is our ally; does it make sense for the One who would restore America's standing in the world to continue publicly humiliating our allies while playing into the hands of our enemies?

And, then, there has been his treatment of democratic Israel.  For in Israel, Obama has found the real object of his punitive affections, the ultimate pinata to whack whenever he likes.   

None of which should come as a surprise.  For of all the nation's one would have anticipated someone of Obama's predilections to be particularly derisive of, especially with a Benjamin Netanyahu-led government, Israel would be the one. 

What with his leftist upbringing, his long association with known anti-Semite Jeremiah White, his friendship with pro-Palestinian Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi, his long incubation in the leftist and anti-Zionist ambrosia of the Academy, and much more, what would one have expected? 

None of this mattered by the way to the nearly 80% of American Jews who voted for him and probably still doesn't; good Jewish liberals that they are, they worship far more fervently before the altar of liberalism than that of their traditional religion - or the state of Israel.

Obama had sent his Vice President Joe Biden to Israel.  This coming soon after recent visits from Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

The purpose of these rapid fire forums was not so much to demonstrate the undying support and commitment of the Obama administration to the beleaguered Jewish state, but rather to make sure that Israel damn well understood the current US position vis a vis Iran, "settlements," and the so called "peace process." 

But then came the infamous "Biden Incident," an embarrassing diplomatic miscue to be sure, but entirely unintended; and, further, Netanyahu did not even know about it. 

What occured basically was this: 

During Biden's visit, an Interior Ministry official announced that 1,600 housing units were to be built in East Jerusalem.  The neighborhood in question is known as Ramat Shlomo, which is actually west (not east) of already established neighborhoods of Ramot, where some 40,000 Jews already reside.  This, of course, does not affect the Netanyahu-Obama agreement to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) for ten months (but which excluded Jerusalem).

It was the fourth step in a seven step process and the building will probably not begin for several years.  In any event, Netanyahu apologized to Biden and the matter appeared resolved.  

But not so fast.  This is an administration that never allows a crisis to go to waste, even if it has to manufacture one.

The next day (March 12, 2010), according to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a blistering phone call to Netanyahu, declaring in highly undiplomatic terms that "the United States considered the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president's trip" and that "this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America's interests." 

Clinton mentioned further while appearing on CNN that "the announcement of the settlements on the very day that the vice president was there was insulting." 

All of this bile was apparently approved by Obama, who had consulted with Clinton the day before.  Clinton also tied continued US military support for Israel to construction in East Jerusalem and made clear that Israel had to "demonstrate, not just through words but through specific actions, that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process."

There was more. 

When Netanyahu came knocking on the White House door subsequently to atone for his country's sins (March 23, 2010) of announcing plans to build homes for its citizens, America's first black President behaved as a master scolding a house servant.

After failing to coerce Netanyahu to extend the building freeze in the West Bank beyond the agreed ten months, to end all construction in East Jerusalem, and to withdraw Israeli forces from the West Bank to positions held before the second intifada in September 2000, Obama walked out of the meeting to dine with his family, leaving an unfed Netanyahu to stew, consult with advisers, and to "let me know if there is anything new." 

Netanyahu stayed another half hour to speak with Obama and extended his visit another day for further discussions to little avail; he returned to Israel in the darkness of a media blackout.  No official statements, photo-ops, or joint meetings with the press.  

Prior to the visit, Obama had made four demands on Netanyahu.  First was to cancel the plans for construction of the housing units in Ramat Shlomo.  Second, Israel had to prohibit any further construction in East Jerusalem.  Third, Israel must make concessions to the Palestinians (release hundreds of Palestinian terrorists currently held in Israeli prisons).  Fourth, Israel must agree to negotiate on all major issues including the partition of Jerusalem (and the half million Israelis that now live in neighborhoods constructed since 1967), and the so called "right of return" of millions of hostile Palestinian Arab "refugees" to Israel proper.   

For Israel to return to Obama's good graces, in other words, it must agree to relinquish Jerusalem, return to the indefensible borders of the 1949 armistice, give up any claims to the West Bank including suburbs of Jerusalem, for the favor of being allowed to participate in indirect US-held negotiations with a corrupt Palestinian government (Fatah) that supports terror, denies Israel's right to exist, and actively seeks its destruction. 

This, then, is the current state of US-Israeli relations. 

Ruth Wisse wonders why the fuss over 1600 homes in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem?    "Why does the White House take issue with the construction of housing for Jewish citizens within the boundaries of their own country?" 

Arab nations build homes by the hundreds of thousands for its citizens.  When Arab populations increase, homes must be built to house them.  Why do 21 Arab nations with 800 times more land than Israel consume themselves over the natural increase of Israel's population.  And why should the US support the obsessions of the Arab world?

The answer seems to be that the US, through its elected leader in the White House, is now at war with Israel.  If not at war, than at the minimum, intent on fundamentally downgrading its relationship with a key ally.  There are various reasons.  Some are intrinsic to Obama's essential political philosophy.  Others are based on specific policy agendas.

First, Obama is concerned about the failure of his Iran policy.  Perhaps he really believed that the all consuming power of his presence and personality would be all he needed to get the Iranians (and the North Koreans) to end their nuclear ambitions.  Or, perhaps, he really doesn't care.  Perhaps, he believes that there is nothing wrong with a nuclear Iran.  Perhaps, he thinks that in a world dominated by the US, it is entirely proper for other nations, even rogue, terror sponsoring states like Iran, to also possess them.  It is part of his overall vision that a unipolar world with an all powerful hyperstate like the US is not fair and needs to be redressed.  In any event, he will not take military action against Iran, nor will he allow Israel.

It would also not be too difficult to imagine that a man who spent twenty years listening to the known anti-Semite Jeremiah Wright is basically pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab.  It is consistent with the far left vision of an unfair world of white, Christian, capitalist, oppressor states taking unfair advantage of impoverished, third world nations, people of color, and non-Christians.  That Israel is, next to the US, the most multicultural nation in the world, with 20% of its population Muslim Arabs, not to mention a majority of its Jewish population coming from non-European states, does not matter.  Israel is seen as a colonial outpost of the West and hence an oppressor state.  That Israel is a democracy with all the human rights, civil liberties, and freedoms that we enjoy in the US is irrelevant.  That women, gays, and non-Jews have equal rights and equality before the law in stark contrast with its Arab neighbors is also unimportant.  That Israeli Arabs have more rights to self and political expression than Arabs in any other nation in the Middle East is similarly inconsequential.

It is also not unreasonable to imagine that Obama is trying to pull a Bill Clinton circa 1999 and undermine the Netanyahu government in favor of a more left-leaning opponent, in this case, Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party.  In 1999, Clinton succeeded in toppling Netanyahu and bringing Labor party Ehud Barak into power.  Livni has indicated a willingness to partition Jerusalem, making East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.  She's Obama's kind of gal.

As an avowed leftist, Obama is also at war not just with Israel but his own country.  That is to say, the essential character of the nation.  Israel and the US are powerful democracies with strong democratic and national cultures.  A trans or post national leftist like Obama is uncomfortable in general with the whole notion of sovereign nation states and prefers flaky, "one world," international bodies like the United Nations, the European Union, or the International Criminal Court: unelected, unaccountable, anti-democratic bureacracies whose experts know what's best for the rest of us.  Powerful nation states like the US or Israel, with passionate devotion to their own institutions, traditions, and history, as well as their belief in their own "exceptionalism," get in the way of such bodies, hence his efforts to downgrade both.  Obama is uncomfortable with American preeminence and its status as global hyperpower.  He believes the world is better off with a neutered US (and Israel).

It is likely that Obama has decided to throw in with Iran, Syria, and Turkey (formerly an ally of Israel but now an enemy, led by Islamist Recep Erdogan), and, in so doing, Hezbollah and Hamas and the Palestinians.  His diplomatic overtures to these nations and sub state bodies suggest as much and it would be in keeping with his leftist perspective.  The left in America, and for that matter in Israel and the rest of the world, holds Israel responsible for the so called Middle East conflict.  It is Israeli aggression, Israeli intransigence, Israeli occupation, and Israeli settlements that are behind all the strife. 

That the Arab nations attacked Israel at its birth in 1947 (and lost), before the "occupation," "settlements," and the unification of Jerusalem is of course forgotten; that Israel has given up more than 90% of the territory it won after the Six Day War, a defensive war that it did not start, including Sinai (to Egypt in 1982, in exchange for "peace"), and then Gaza in 2005, is also irrelevant.  That the Palestinians are in a state of near civil war, support terror, deny Israel's right to exist, seek its destruction, brainwash its children to hate Jews and become terrorists, incite its people with anti-Semitic dirt the equal of anything seen in Nazi Germany is also overlooked.  But no matter.  From the left's (and Obama's) perspective, Israel must make further concessions. 

What this means basically is that Israel will have to partition its capitol Jerusalem, relinquish hundreds and possibly thousands Palestinian terrorists held in its prisons, withdraw to the indefensible "Auschwitz" borders of the 1949 armistice, and uproot hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in East Jerusalem and surrounding suburbs (roughly 1.7% of the West Bank), and accept a Palestinian terror state, perhaps with American troops stationed there to protect it against Israel.  (Yes, it is possible that under Obama we will see US troops face off against Israelis.)  It will also have to accept hundreds of thousands of hostile Palestinian Arabs.  These are concessions that are not consistent with a viable Jewish state.  

The left's ambition then is to see the end of the State of Israel.  

Unfortunately, for Obama, Israel is a democracy and Netanyahu enjoys high approval ratings, while Obama is seen as deeply anti-Israel.  So to America, where Israel enjoys high approval ratings, much higher than Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress. 

Netanyahu should fight back by making his case before the people of Israel and of the US.  He should advance his nation's interest, maintain Israel's strong military deterrence, house his citizens where he sees fit, avoid concessions to terrorist gangs, end the ridiculous charade about the "peace process" (there is no "peace" to be had with corrupt, kleptocratic terrorists who hate you and seek your destruction), continue planning for a military option against Iran, support covertly the Iranian democracy movement, employ realistic policies against the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, Syria, Iran, and Turkey, and assert without reservation Israel's rights in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Two other suggestions.  Israel should downgrade its relationship with the US as long as the unfriendly, pro-Arab, anti-Zionist Obama occupies the White House.  Israel should also stop taking the $2 billion annual military assistance from the US.  In this way, there are no strings or snares or webs restraining Israel.  Israel can make its own decisions, defend its national interest, and pursue common sense policies  without having to worry about upsetting the occupant in the White House. 

With a $200 billion economy, Israel can afford it.  It would gain much more than it would lose by being more independent and by taking away the propaganda tool the left frequently uses (the military subsidy) to beat Israel over the head with. 

Never mind the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US in maintaining its military presence in Europe, South Korea and Japan and elsewhere around the world (Iraq, Afghanistan) and the hundreds of thousands of soldiers placed in harm's way and stationed away from home; not to mention that not a single American soldier is asked to risk his life defending Israel. 

But at this point, considering how often Israel's enemies use that bit of propaganda along with the restraints it places on Israeli action, it would be wise to dispense with it.  

It is obvious that Obama is no friend of democracies or democratic movements.  Least of all, the democracy known as Israel.  













  • geoffrey gross

    April 19, 2010

    who would you of wanted in the past presidential election? if israel stopped its relationship with the united states how long would israel last as we supply them with an abundance of war machine hardware. i am not sure but who other than the U.S. is an ally of israel. our government gave israel plutonium in a fake sea heist. everything in its time i believe. i have israel in my heart but i find israel at times pushing the limit with new settlements, that provoke violence. unless im wrong i thought america was israels only ally. who else is an ally of israel? please educate me G

  • Richard Moss

    April 20, 2010

    America remains an ally of US. There is overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel in both houses of Congress. The American people are in general very supportive of Israel, especially conservative Christians.

    Israel has a higher approval rating with the American people than either President Obama or the Congress. This current administration though, under Obama, is the least friendly administration since Israel's independence. Obama has a very pro-Palestinian tilt.

    The Israeli people are also very suspicious of Obama where he has 4% approval. There is no reason to pay attention or buckle under administration pressure to make very dangerous concessions to the terrorist gangs running the Palestinian territories.

    They will not lead to peace and they will jeapardize Israel's security. The Arabs/Palestinians consider all of Israel, including within the 1967 borders, a "settlement," and therefore illegitimate.

    It is not possible to make peace with those who support terror, deny Israel's right to exist, and actively seek its destruction. As Obama has downgraded US-Israel relations, so should Israel similarly downgrade its relation with the US under this administration.

    Remember that there is one reason for the Arab-Israeli conflict: it is the Arab/Palestinian desire to destroy the Jewish state. It is not Israeli settlements, Israeli intransigence, or the Israeli security barrier. Israel has made many concessions already not least of which was giving up Sinai. Israel has made many peace offers to the Arabs and Palestinians, most recently in 2008 and 2000, both rejected by Abbas and Arafat.

    The reason for the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict is the unwillingless of Arabs to accept a sovereign Jewish presence in their midst.

    A shame, for if they did, the Middle East would be an astonishing success between tourism, research and development, and Israeli technical/scientific/financial/business savvy leading them, the possibilities would be endless.

    Check out other blogs I have written on this topic if you like. Lots of details. Of course, there is so much material about this on the internet anyway.

    Richard Moss

  • geoffrey gross

    April 26, 2010

    i understand the surrounding arab countries are dedicated to pushing israel in to the sea. there will never be peace in my opinion. Israel's concessions will never be enough. so you do not believe we ( the us ) will continue to supply israel with up to date technology? as i believe that gives them a tremendous edge in their survival in the middle east. i am not a person that believes the administration in the us lets the public know what is really up. the us has a history of saying one thing or nothing and having a dialog with a country behind closed doors. i also believe that united states jews elected obama. he will serve one term only should he in the end favor the middle east over the israelis. i am not one to rush to judgement as middle america would also like jews and blacks to disappear. i moved to P.A. recently and the anti semitism is flaunted. they feel the same way about people of color. Richard you are very knowledgeable but i will wait and see before i agree with you totally. Respectfully Geoffrey Gross...............your friend

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