Where is the President on this?

The "three-finger salute" as it appears on Facebook

The “three-finger salute” as it appears on Facebook

Statement by John Kerry, June 15:

The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home.  We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services.  We understand that cooperation is ongoing.

We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement.  As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.

State Department briefing, yesterday:

QUESTION: … As the search for the three teenagers goes into its sixth day, the Israelis are arresting hundreds of Palestinians, rounding up some or re-arresting in some cases many of the ones that were released. They’re having a clampdown, a lockdown. It’s really causing a very difficult humanitarian condition. Are you talking with the Israelis to sort of lighten – but I asked you this yesterday. Are you asking them to lighten up their heavy hand in their search?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, we’ve been in touch with both the Israelis and the Palestinians throughout the course of the last several days since these teenagers were kidnapped. We know this is a difficult time obviously on the ground. We’ve urged continued security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the search for the kidnapped teenagers. We were encouraged by President Abbas’s strong statement to the Arab and Islamic foreign ministers today in Saudi Arabia. But – and certainly as the search continues and in our conversations, we urge both sides to exercise restraint and avoid the types of steps that could destabilize the situation. And that’s a message that we are conveying in all of our conversations as well.

Are we weakening just a bit? Now are we offering a smidgen less than “full support” for Israel in its attempt to rescue the boys? Full support, but use restraint, don’t destabilize anything. Don’t create a humanitarian crisis here.

I can agree with reporter ‘Said’ that it might be a little difficult for Palestinians now, although I don’t have too much sympathy for them given the support they offer the kidnappers in social media. Too bad — you want us to leave you alone, give them up.

I want to ask: what does it take for the administration to blame the Palestinians for anything? What would they have to do for US officials to say “it’s not ‘both sides’, the Palestinians are committing acts of terrorism and that is despicable?”

Now here is something else:

Where is President Obama on this? John Kerry condemned the kidnapping (a little late, but unequivocally). The White House (that is, a social media staffer) posted a tweet that “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.” But as far as I can see, the President has not personally made a statement, as both he and his wife did in the case of the kidnapped Nigerian girls.

Let me be clear: I’m not accusing the President of prejudice. I am not saying that he cares more about Nigerians, or girls for that matter, than Israeli boys.

I am saying that he carefully calibrates the statements he makes and doesn’t make for the effect that they will have on various constituencies, both inside and outside of the US. And I think that he believes that a personal statement condemning the kidnappers would offend some of these constituencies, damage his channels of communication with them, etc.

Think about that. Who is he worried about? Hamas? The Muslim Brotherhood? Or just the Muslim world as a whole, which he has been obsequiously but unsuccessfully courting since 2009?

Unless his plan is to paralyze his enemies (and friends) with uncertainty about his intentions, his policy of combining dissimulation (OK, lying) with empty threats, the occasional drone strike, and fulsome concern for the feelings of barbarians is remarkably inept.

I wish Obama would just come out and say what he thinks, even though I believe it would horrify supporters of Israel — not to mention the rest of Western civilization.

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2 Responses to Where is the President on this?

  1. MDA says:

    Before I jump into conjecture on “where is the president on this”, I have to consider where the President is on Iraq.

    Malaki of Iraq is anti-Sunni and a Shia.
    If Obama sides with Malaki then Obama is going against the SUNNI/ISIS jihadists that Obama had approved to be trained under his watch.
    300 advisers to Malaki in Iraq’s time of need is the bare minimum next to saying no that Obama will offer to help the current government of Iraq.

    Aiding Malaki’s Shias and Shiites in Iraq would be a departure from Obama’s support of Sunni/Saudi interests in aiding all Sunni Rebels in Syria as well as the Moslem Brotherhood anywhere..

    It is very important to the Saudis to drive up the cost of Oil as “only the Saudis” are seeing true depletion of Saudi reserves. So their goal is to shut in Syrian oil and limit and or stop the flow of Iraqi Oil at the same time advancing the Sunni cause. It will also catapult world Oil prices which the Saudis want.
    There is a very good case to be made that Obama is in his 7th year of frustrating US oil exploration and production so as to impose artificial scarcity to favor higher costs benefitting the Saudi/Sunnis.

    The Saudis are of course Sunni Muslims who will use those funds during this soon to close window of opportunity to advance Sunni Islamic hegemony world wide.
    This weeks capture by ISIS of Sadam’s (now verified WMD’s) (that the US told the world never existed) show that the American people and most of it’s military were apparently deliberately deceived. The State Department is now back-peddling saying the WMD’s are old and obsolete and refuses to comment on the obvious “How come there actually are WMD’s when officially none were supposed to exist?”.

    The American mess in Iraq between Bush and now Obama not supporting Malaki defaults to becomes a direct invitation for Russia to aid Iraq as well as Iran. What’s Obama going to do when Malaki invites Russian. Iranian aid? What is Iran’s Hezbollah going to do.

    So the Saudis now want Sunni control of the future Caliphate. This Sunni/ISIS control of Iraq does not sit well with Iran. And the Saudis have now warned off the US and Britain from becoming involved in Iraq – So Obama can say “Look what the Saudis made me do”?
    Do we now know; why Saudi Arabia is so fearful of Iran nuking Mecca?

    ISIS if it could would invade Israel tomorrow. Obama has a pretty shoddily concealed support for ISIS which mens support for all Sunnis.

    Now in light of the forgoing
    How could Obama actually care about the three missing boys when he doesn’t care for Shia and Shiites only cares for Sunnis.

    I think Obama cares more about Golfing.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    I believe the major question about President Obama relates to his values and his competence. The accusation that he prefers to appease enemies rather than support friends has a great deal of evidence behind it. Two major criticisms of his actions are now almost ‘common knowledge’ i.e. His failure to help the Syrian ‘moderates’ thus contributing to Assad’s remaining in power. His failure to leave an American force in Iraq which may have prevented the demise of the Iraqi state and its partition along sectarian lines. I also of course agree that his failure to call Islamic terrorism that, and his refusal to blame the Palestinians for their outrageous rejectionism also add to his list of failure and poor judgment.
    There are those on the far Right who have in my opinion wrongly and foolishly accused the President of being a Muslim. The true accusation is that he does not stand strongly with America’s traditional allies, and perhaps even more importantly has performed incompetently as Commander- in- Chief.
    The major reason for Israel to be wary of him is precisely the incompetence.

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