Monday, December 05, 2011

Tobin: "Obama hostile to the Jewish state"

An Administration Ready to Blame Israel -Jonathan Tobin 

The ground is fast sinking beneath the feet of President Obama's Jewish defenders. While the president is trying to raise money from Jewish donors by patting himself on the back as Israel's greatest friend in the White House, the Secretary of Defense has now made it clear that he sees the Jewish state as responsible for the isolation it faces. 

Equally as egregious is the fact that Howard Gutman, Obama's ambassador to Belgium, told an audience this week he thinks Israel's policy toward the Palestinians is responsible for the creation of a new kind of anti-Semitism that he believes is understandable on some level.
Panetta's speech at the Brooking Institution and Gutman's comments to a conference held by the European Jewish Union were obviously not coordinated, but they combine to give us a clear view of the distorted mindset of administration officials. This is an administration that sees Israel as a source of trouble, not an ally. Combined with the sorry history of three years of Obama's picking fights with Jerusalem, the positions of both Panetta and Gutman give the lie to the notion this is an administration friends of Israel can trust.

That the secretary of defense would choose to blast Israel in this manner just as Obama is starting to crank up his re-election campaign speaks to the cognitive dissonance many Jewish Democrats are experiencing. For Panetta to claim Israel is responsible for its own isolation just as Obama boasted of his friendship for the Jewish state shows either a lack of coordination between the Pentagon and the White House or a desire on the president's part to signal the Arab world he is prepared to put the screws to the Israelis as soon as the election is concluded.

As for Panetta's assertions, while sandwiched between some of the usual boilerplate rhetoric about supporting the alliance, they made it clear that Washington views the hardening of anti-Israel positions on the part of Turkey, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority as Israel's fault. Even more, he made it plain that the administration's belief is this rising tide of anti-Israel hate can only be dealt with by a new round of concessions on Israel's part to the Palestinians.

Israel's peace treaty with Egypt is now endangered by the victory of Islamists. Their former ally Turkey is now aligning itself with Hamas terrorists. The Palestinian Authority is about to conclude a unity pact with Hamas that will end its experiment with good government and expand the reach of the Gaza-based terrorists. These events are not the fault of Israel, but are the result of the embrace of Islamism and extremism by a Muslim world that seems to be sinking into the abyss of extremism.

But the administration looks at this and says it is the fault of the Israelis who have spent the last 18 years trying to make peace, to no avail. Rather than drawing conclusions from the Palestinians' rejection of peace and the bloodthirsty hatred for Jews at the heart of the siege of the Jewish state, Panetta believes the time is ripe for Israel to weaken its defenses and hand over more territory that may become another safe haven for terrorists, as Gaza has proved to be.

The secretary's remarks were a not-so-subtle hint that pressuring Israel is still Obama's priority
. That key officials of this administration could hold onto a belief in a peace process even the so-called moderates of the Palestinian Authority have rejected speaks volumes not so much about their naivete as it does the grip of ideology on their thinking.

While the White House sought to distance itself from Gutman's remarks, his views give those of us who have wondered about the source of the animus for Israel in this administration new insights about the advice Obama has been getting.

Taken together, these two speeches paint a portrait of a government that is at its heart hostile to the Jewish state. Only a blind partisan would think such an administration could be trusted to deal fairly with Israel once the constraints of Obama's re-election efforts are removed.
[Jewish World Review]



LHwrites said...

As reported on 12/1/11:
Last night speaking with campaign donors at the home of American Jewish Congress Chairman Jack Rosen, President Obama noted that his administration has been an ardent supporter of Israel’s security:

“I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration,” Obama said. “We don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security … and that will continue.”

It should come as no surprise that the right-wing pro-Israel types who believe Obama hates Israel immediately began to hyperventilate. “[N]o one, not [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu nor most American Jews, is fooled by Obama’s boasting,” Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin wrote today.

While Netanyahu has refused to weigh in publicly on this issue, his defense chief has. “I can hardly remember a better period” of American support for Israel, Israeli Defense Minster Ehud Barak said in August. Just last month, Barak said of Obama, “I don’t think that anyone can raise any question mark about the devotion of this president to the security of Israel.” Another Israeli official has said that U.S.-Israeli cooperation on Iran intelligence is “even better than under President Bush.” Even Bush administration hawk Eliott Abrams agreed that “it’s the best military-to-military relationship ever.”

And when asked on Fox News this morning about Obama’s comment, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said “it is true”:

LIEBERMAN: I will say first that Israel has been fortunate that presidents and members of Congress of both parties, by and large have been very strong supporters of the security of the state of Israel because of our alliance and our shared values in democracy and all the rest. It is true, and you’ll hear this from a lot of Israeli leaders, that President Obama has been very good on supporting Israel’s military and its security.

LHwrites said...

I should have provided a link:
I think this issue is very complicated and no President has done as well with Israel as they think. Carter brokered peace with Egypt but only because Egypt wanted it (well, not the guys who killed Sadat, I guess). Regan and George Bush senior did not do much. Clinton tried but did not actually accomplish much. W. Bush empowered Iran. Obama has said things Israel did not like. All the Presidents provided funds and security and voted in support at the UN when it counted. Obama has done at least as much as any of them, maybe no more, but not less.

Bruce said...

Technically, Joe Lieberman is correct. But to taut such accomplishments does not negate the political disaster he is: supporting Palestinian negotiating positions {the '67 lines}, for instance.

ThinkProgress appears to hold the opinion that any criticism of Obama's MidEast policy is from "right-wing pro-Israel types"...that line of reasoning is old and moldy.

Bruce :}

LHwrites said...

I do not know if thinkprogress has that view or not, but the statements are from Americans and Israelis and are current. I think this is a very important topic and I think that no one has gotten it right or given Israel all the public support it needs or deserves but I have seen Israel get more public support from Presidents who did it plenty of disservice. I think this is a complicated issue that has not played out completely and I do not see a current candidate whose plans, not words, but plans leave room for treating Israel better.