Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory — Bret Stephens, paraphrasing George Orwell, Wall St. Journal
Since the election victory of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama Administration has mounted an unprecedented assault on the PM and the state of Israel in the arena of American public opinion. While other presidents have taken steps to pressure Israel into acting in accordance with their wishes, never has one tried to sabotage the majority support that Israel has historically received from ordinary Americans — until Barack Obama.
The president’s approach has been direct and brutal. He has insulted and tried to diminish Netanyahu at every turn. He misrepresented what he said about a Palestinian state — the phrase ‘lied about’ wouldn’t be inappropriate — and refused to accept a clarification, making it clear that he considers the PM insincere. His surrogates and compliant media called the PM a racist, a “chickenshit” and a coward, said that he “spat in the president’s face,” and accused Israel of spying on the US (which Israeli officials deny). The president has reportedly been “enraged” and “furious” at Netanyahu, apparently the only foreign leader that has this effect.
The Jewish Left in the US is, as always, firmly behind Obama, but some of the centrists are beginning to become aware that something at the White House is not, er, kosher. Abraham Foxman of the ADL, normally a pro-administration voice, said,
As someone who was critical of several steps by [Netanyahu] during the campaign leading up to his re-election, I am even more troubled by statements now coming out of the White House.
And Rabbi William Gerson, head of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly — which strongly criticized Netanyahu’s election eve remarks about Arab voters — noted,
The prime minister has quickly made significant steps to repair the tensions that developed in the heat of Israel’s election. The time is due, if not overdue, for the US administration to do the same.
I don’t expect that it will. This smells like much more than a fit of pique provoked by Netanyahu’s congressional appearance and his election rhetoric (speaking of rhetoric, compare Iran’s “death to America” chants). Obama has been trying to distance the US from Israel from the day that he came into office, and Netanyahu’s interference in Obama’s plan to align the US with Iran against Israel and the Sunni Arabs has only amplified his desire.
Obama seems to have made a considered decision to turn US policy on its head in the Middle East, abandoning traditional allies and making new ones. The most generous explanation is that the president thinks that an Iranian empire can be a stabilizing force, a bulwark against Islamic extremism. He seems to believe that if Iran is allowed to crush its Sunni enemies, take control of the region’s oil reserves, obtain nuclear capability (and by the way destroy Israel), then the region will be in good hands, and the US can safely withdraw to concentrate on domestic issues.
Somehow he fails to see (or pretends not to) that Iran’s jihad is no less aggressive than that of the Islamic State, only with a slightly different ideological underpinning. Once they have digested the Middle East, the mullahs have made it clear that they will turn to Europe and ultimately the US.
Regardless of Obama’s motives, there is no way that this policy can be good for Israel, and Americans understand this. Popular support for Israel in the US, always reflected in Congress, is thus a stumbling block that he wants to eliminate.
Will his party pay a political price for it? I don’t think so. He seems to have adopted a slogan similar to James Baker’s famous “F— the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway,” replacing ‘Jews’ with ‘Zionists’. Obama’s Jewish supporters in J Street and the Union for Reform Judaism will stick with him, while they claim that his actions are for Israel’s own good. Actual Zionists, of both the Jewish and Christian variety, are more likely to already be Republicans, so the electoral effect will be minimal.
The anti-Israel PR from the administration meshes well with the pervasive campus anti-Zionist movement led by Students for Justice in Palestine and similar organizations (conspiracy theorists are invited to think of the role played by Obama friend Ali Abunimah). With so much of the media in the pocket of the administration along with the institutions that educate the youth, it is hard to believe that the traditional support for Israel will continue for much longer (unless, of course, there is a major change in the American political landscape, something I don’t expect).
Anti-Israel attitudes have a way of slopping over into anti-Jewish ones. Expect the next few years to be difficult ones for American Jews.
Well, I don’t know that he planned all along to ‘turn American policy on it’s head’ with respect to Iran. But it is working out that way.
What he planned to do – per his Manchurian Candidate programming – was to shove a Saudi-style “peace” [i.e., suicide for Israel] agreement down Israel’s throat. That was his main objective. He also considered the most important tool of coercive leverage towards this end to be the threat of a nuclear Iran. So, his approach was to basically tell Israel: “Give me what I want in terms of a Palestinian state based on ’67 lines, and I’ll back you on Iran. Otherwise, I’ll let Iran go nuclear.”
If Obama were to have done something concrete to stop Iran, or to sign off on an Israeli strike, before Israel agreed to a PA state in J&S, then, the way Obama would see it, Israel would have “gotten over”. Obama knew that the main existential threat to Israel – besides a PA terror state in J&S – is a nuclear-armed Iran. If Iran were to be stopped before said terror state would be established, then Israel could essentially dig in her heels on the PA issue indefinitely, and Obama could do nothing about this.
In other words, Obama & Co. are doing what their sort typically accuse pro-Israel Americans (especially American Jews) of doing: putting the issue of Israel ahead of U.S. interests; you know, the “dual loyalty” charge. Except that in Obama’s case, the “issue of Israel” they are putting ahead of genuine U.S. interests (e.g., stopping Iran from going nuclear, among all the others they ignore just so they can focus on Israel) is the issue of undermining Israel’s existence. They’re going to screw Israel if it is the last thing the U.S. ever does before getting nuked by Iran!
So, now that Netanyahu has made it plain that he is NEVER going to give Obama what he wants in the way of a PA state in J&S, Obama has no choice but to follow through on his threat. Pretty gutsy, eh? Well, by the standards of frothing at the mouth academia anti-Israel cretins, I suppose it is.
It sure takes a tough and principled leader to betray a staunch American ally for the sake of a repressive, corrupt political entity led by a bunch of terrorists. Yeah, the PA sure represents something all Americans can get behind, don’t they?
Which is why Obama is going to fail.
The college scene is disturbing and depressing, it is true. But these kids are going to grow up someday; I don’t know that most of them are going to start careers and families giving a fiddler’s fart about the Palestinians.
In the face of ISIS, the Mad Mullahs, etc., most Americans will see Israel increasingly as a natural ally. There is little Obama can do about this. It is just common sense, and unlike the Europeans, Americans are a pragmatic people. Polls show that American public support for Israel is as great as it ever was. It IS more partisan; this support is skewed heavily in favor of the GOP; but the GOP is in ascendance. Not only in Congress; the GOP controls most governorships and state legislatures, too. If Obama is “destroying” anything…it is the Democratic Party. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it is reasonable to expect that the Democratic Party may learn that being obsessively focused on undermining our most important front-line ally in the face of Islamist crazies is not the way to win friends and influence among the Joe and Jane Six-packs of America.
Consider that much of what Obama has tried to do – domestically and internationally – has been accompanied by Obama having to mostly lie through his teeth. That is because if he were honest about his policies and objectives, most Americans – corrupt media/academia notwithstanding – would reject him out of hand. The key to Obama’s “success” politically rests chiefly on his incredible ability to lie, which is a talent he has to a degree that I have never seen before on the public stage. He is the face of the Democratic Party to most Americans, and deservedly so. And, most Americans are catching on – perhaps later than we’d have hoped – to what a fraud and a liar he is.
The U.S. political landscape is indeed changing. Look at the recent mid-term elections here. We now have the largest GOP contingent in Congress since WW2. After six years of Obama, 60% of Americans say the country is “on the wrong track”; only 29% say it is on the “right track” (I have long guestimated Obama’s firm base at around 30%).
Hillary won’t get the nomination for the Democratic ticket in ’16. Obama beat the Clinton machine in ’08 as an upstart candidate…now his people control the Democratic Party. They will sabotage her so that Obama’s preferred heir apparent, Elizabeth Warren, will get the nomination. Unless the GOP nominates a total boob – and I guess that is possible – there is no way Warren could win a national election.
The GOP has a large field of good candidates for ’16. Of all those that are being talked about as credible candidates, the only ones that could be really bad for Israel are Christie and Paul, and even Paul might not be that bad compared with Obama. Bush would return things to the pre-Obama status quo, which wasn’t that great, but would seem great after eight years of Obama. At least then, Israel would still get the weapons she needed from the U.S. and support at the UN. And, outside of Christie, Paul, or Bush, everyone else in the GOP field would usher in the most pro-Israel administration in U.S. history. No kidding. The list is long. I can say that with confidence about: Walker, Rubio, Carson, Huckabee, Kasich, Jindal, or Cruz. In ’16, the GOP should certainly retain control of the House at least, and the Senate, though more problematic, is still realistic.
But, alas, we have to get through the next 22 months. That will be tough.
Something will probably have to be done about Iran before those 22 months are up.
Just remember, Obama continues to fail, over and over again. Everything he touches, it seems, turns to a certain organic substance. Keep that in mind.
He can’t beat Hashem.
Hang in there, Israel.
The Presidential effort to undermine support for Israel is as you suggest, unprecedented and tremendously worrying.
The effort I believe is also one to silence Israeli criticism of the anticipated agreement with Iran.
But Obama is all over the place in regard to the Middle East, and it does not seem to me that he really wants Iranian hegemony. Why would he O.K. or perhaps even initiate Saudi action against pro-Iranian groups in Yemen?
I frankly find his policies a mish-mash. Consider Syria and the failure to act against Assad. Consider the general American ineptitude in so many different countries.
Obama is abominable , and clearly has no great love for Israel. But what he is for exactly I am not certain