Barack Obama shamelessly pandered to Jewish donors last week at a New York City fund-raiser held in the private home of American Jewish Congress chairman Jack Rosen.
Omitting any mention of his speech last May in which he threw Israel under the bus, Obama assured the donors that “no ally is more important than the state of Israel.”
“I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration,” Obama added.
While Obama was busy wheedling money from the thirty or so Obama supporters who each paid at least $10,000 to listen to his self-congratulatory remarks, Obama administration officials were publicly attacking Israel with harsh verbal barbs.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying last Saturday, in remarks behind closed doors at the Saban Forum in Washington, that she feared for the future of Israel’s democracy and the rights of women in the Jewish state. How about she focuses on the virtual absence of any rights of women throughout the Muslim world, instead of bashing the only real functioning democracy in the Middle East?
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called Clinton’s remarks “totally exaggerated,” according to Israeli media. “Israel is a living, breathing liberal democracy,” he said. Steinitz reportedly acknowledged that gender segregation was a problem in Israel, “but to claim there is a threat on Israeli democracy is a big stretch.”
One of the Clinton State Department ambassadors, the U.S. ambassador to Belgium and major Obama contributor, Howard Gutman, went much further in lashing out at Israel. He told a conference hosted by the European Jewish Union that Israel is to blame for growing Muslim anti-Semitism. “A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Gutman reportedly said, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
“A distinction should be made?” Does Gutman actually think there is a justifiable form of anti-Semitism resulting from a conflict that Muslim Arabs initiated in the first place?
Contrary to Gutman’s nonsensical remark, hatred of Jews has characterized the entire history of Islam. Here are just two examples from the Koran and the Sunna (the sayings and actions of Muhammed), cited by Islamists today in their relentless jihad against Jews:
• “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)
• “The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’” (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176)
The latter was a highlight of a pre-election rally co-sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood about ten days ago at Cairo’s most prominent mosque, the Al-Azhar mosque.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta scolded Israel last Friday for isolating itself. He blamed the stalled negotiations with the Palestinians largely on Israel. “The problem right now is we can’t get ‘em to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences,” Panetta said.
Israel has offered repeatedly to engage in direct unconditional negotiations with the Palestinians. The Palestinians have refused to come to the table unless their set of demands is met first, even waiting until the last minute to commence direct negotiations while Israel’s settlement moratorium was still in effect. They also attempted to end-run direct negotiations by their gambit to obtain full United Nations member state status.
Don’t worry about what is going on currently in Egypt, Panetta also advised Israel.
However, in view of the Islamists’ major victories so far in Egypt’s parliamentary election cycle, Israel has very good reason to be worried. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party has amassed about 40 percent of the votes so far. The Salafis won about 25 percent. Together, the Islamists will control a dominant majority in Egypt’s first parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
The Muslim Brotherhood is portrayed in the New York Times and other media outlets as a “moderate” alternative to the ultra-fundamentalist Salafis. They may disagree about the extent to which sharia law will apply to all aspects of Egyptian life and how fast. But while their tactics and timetable may differ, they share the ultimate goal of establishing a caliphate, first in Egypt, then in as many Middle Eastern countries as possible, and finally world-wide. And they both want to see the destruction of the Jewish state.
“Christians and Jews are, for us, the kafir, unbelievers,” said Sheikh Adel el Ghihadi, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Salafi movement, last August. “We will prepare an Egyptian army capable of forming other Muslim armies, to whom Allah will assure victory. We will turn to him because Egypt is the flame that can light up the whole world under the auspices of His Prophet… We will fight for the religion: the Book in one hand and the sword in the other.”
Mustafa Mashhur, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 until 2002, called for jihad against Israel in his 1995 book entitled Jihad Is the Way:
Honorable brothers have achieved Shahada (Martyrdom) on the soil of beloved Palestine, during the years 47′ and 48′, [while] in their Jihad against the criminal, thieving, gangs of Zion. The Imam and Shahid (Martyr) Hassan Al-Banna is considered as a Shahid (Martyr) of Palestine, even if he was not killed on its soil.
Not much has really changed in the last 25 years, except for the Brotherhood’s attempt at an image make-over to appeal to a broader cross-section of the Egyptian electorate and to Western leaders and opinion-makers.
For Western ears, Muslim Brotherhood leaders today say they do not intend to jettison the 1979 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, but may wish to renegotiate some items. However, during the early stages of the Arab Spring, Mohamed Ghanem, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, told the Egyptian people to be “prepared for war against Israel.”
Israel has taken risks for peace, including giving up the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for relative peace with its Egyptian neighbor. Peace is now threatened by the rise of Islamists to power in Egypt and by the Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot Hamas, which continues to threaten Israeli civilians with rockets launched from the Gaza Strip that Israel unilaterally left six years ago. And, of course, there is Iran, whose government has been praised by a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader earlier this year as the model for good governance in Egypt.
Instead of crowing about his fanciful support for Israel, Obama should take his head out of the proverbial sand and truly stand by our closest ally in the Middle East.