On January 19, President Barack Obama’s campaign staff released a video, “America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond” – a piece rife with half-truths and distortions. As patently false as it seems to anyone with a properly jaundiced eye, it nonetheless requires a response. For one suspects that those American Jews eager to find a reason to vote for Obama may be all too ready to stand convinced of what they are being told.
Recently elected NY Congressman Bob Turner gave an interview in Israel last week, in which he said, “I think American support militarily has been more an investment in our own defense..“ It was a refreshingly honest and significant observation that directly applies here.
Obama likes to claim – as he does in this video – that US military cooperation with Israel makes him a huge supporter of Israel. But this cooperation serves US needs and goals in important ways: the US requires an Israel that is militarily solid. Nothing wrong with that. It means US interests coincide with Israeli interests in this respect. But Obama misrepresents when he claims the US does this for Israel. And it should be noted here that it is the Pentagon, which understands the military situation, that has always been the major promoter within the US of cooperation with Israel.
This same principle applies to other, related, matters. Last year the Israeli embassy in Cairo was attacked. The ambassador and his staff got out, but two Israeli security guards were caught in the building and in danger of being killed. Obama (and I note here there were others from elsewhere involved as well) intervened and helped get those guards out safely. He then made a great deal about how he worked on Israel’s behalf. Nonsense. Imagine what would have happened if those guards had been killed, when, according to international law, a country is responsible for the safety of foreign embassy personnel within its borders. Israel would have had to respond very strongly – perhaps there would have been war. Obama knew this, knew that there was risk of a disastrous turn of events in the Middle East and he had to try to cool things. All to the good. But he didn’t do this for Israel.
Did Israelis, including Netanyahu, thank him for his actions here and elsewhere? Of course. That’s the diplomatic thing to do. But the Israeli prime minister did not do so with the expectation that Obama would use this expression of appreciation as an endorsement come election time. The Obama team merely borrowed an earlier clip and added it to their video. I haven’t discussed this with Netanyahu personally, but I am reasonably confident that the prime minister is privately praying that Obama loses – for Obama has been rude to him and a thorn in his side in many respects. But it’s neither politic nor appropriate for him to voice any opinion in the matter.
As to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s praise of Obama, which is given considerable play in the video: It’s long been known in Israel that Barak is an Obama “buddy.” This is a man who is intensely disliked by those Israelis who care about preserving their nation. Barak is the one who sanctions middle of the night expulsions of people in “unauthorized” communities in Judea and Samaria, allowing young children to be dragged from their beds into cold rain. What Barak says should carry no weight with caring people.
The imagery of Obama at the Kotel, which begins the video, is designed to grab at the heart. But for some this is more likely to grab the stomach: Obama has not visited Israel once since he’s been in office – even though he is a much-traveled president. Where does he travel? To Muslim countries, mostly. He had no trouble visiting Indonesia, which is engaged in horrendous human rights violations. Not a word about that. But from a podium in Indonesia, of all places, he criticized settlements in Judea and Samaria. It was no accident – he was showing Muslims how tough he is with Israel. This is a friend of Israel?
The footage in the video showing Obama in Israel comes from his time as a candidate, when he needed to appear friendly to the Jewish State in order to garner support (financial and electoral) from American Jews. Much as he needs to do now. In the video he talks about how touched he was with the hardships of the people of Sderot, who get hit by rockets from Gaza. But from Israel he went to Germany for a major speech. In that speech he addressed the problems nations of the world are having with terrorism. He spoke about Spain and Great Britain, etc. etc., but neglected to mention Israel. No point in appearing supportive of Israel on the international scene. The Arabs might not like it. This is a friend of Israel?
As to Obama’s unswerving dedication to Israel’s security, it should be noted that he is the first president to explicitly call for a freeze on settlement building, and for the ’67 lines (with minor adjustments) to be the basis for negotiations with the PA. Those lines would not constitute a secure border for Israel. This has been widely acknowledged since 1967; the Security Council resolution 242 said as much. But Obama denied that he had to honor the letter written to then PM Sharon by his predecessor President Bush regarding recognition of settlements in Judea and Samaria in the course of final negotiations. Some friend to Israel.
In another respect, Obama has severely weakened Israel’s security, by courting Islamic forces. He does not work to strengthen Western interests in the Middle East and his policies have been a horror. While his errors of judgment are too numerous to detail in full here, some examples will suffice:
In Egypt, the overthrow of Mubarak (who supported the peace treaty with Israel and was an ally of the US) and the rising influence of the Muslim Brotherhood (which is virulently anti-Israel as well as being anti-Western) came about to a very great degree because of Obama policies.
The US, as commentator Caroline Glick has just observed, has actually intervened on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood since 2009: When Obama addressed the “Muslim world,“ in his speech at Cairo University (a Brotherhood stronghold), he was embracing the Muslim Brotherhood vision of a pan-Arab world, which they see united by Islam via a caliphate. This was a rejection of Arab nationalism and constituted a direct hit on Mubarak’s national legitimacy. Subsequently, Obama played a primary role in pushing out Mubarak.
Additionally, the US has now embraced Turkey, which is moving into the Islamist camp, as its most solid ally in the Middle East.
Obama refused to support the Green Movement in Iran, which was seeking to overthrow the Islamist regime, even as they begged for assistance.
And where Iran is concerned, it gets even worse. In spite of the fact that Iran is an enormous danger to Israel and all moderate interests in the Middle East, Obama has not applied sanctions with the stringency that the Congress endorsed. In fact, using Turkey as a conduit, he is – incredibly – reaching out to Iran yet again regarding “dialogue.” What he is doing is buying time for a duplicitous Iranian regime.
Thus, there are solid reasons for not voting for Obama even beyond his failure to be a true friend to Israel. He is, more broadly, making the world less safe for the forces of moderation and freedom.
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