Checkpoint Scandal Would Catch Obama Off-Guard in Third Debate
The media's failure to provide fair and accurate coverage of President Obama's foreign policy has one unintended benefit for Mitt Romney. It offers him the opportunity to spring a surprise on Obama during tonight's debate.
The most troubling of Obama's foreign policy failures involve undermining allies while embracing enemies. In one stunning yet virtually unnoticed example of this phenomenon, Obama pressured Israel into removing anti-terror checkpoints, resulting in the murders of Israel's citizens.
"Checkpoint-gate" is potentially more devastating to Obama than other scandals in which lives were lost -- the Benghazi consulate attack and the Fast and Furious debacle -- because it involved something more grievous than negligence or obliviousness. In this case, Obama used his formidable leverage as leader of the world's top superpower to insist on the removal of an ally's security.
As Reuters reported in June 2009, "Israel lifted restrictions at two checkpoints in the West Bank after U.S. President Barack Obama urged Israel to take concrete steps to improve the lives of Palestinians in occupied territory. Washington wants Israel to lift army roadblocks and checkpoints and to freeze settlement building as part of a policy that would lead to establishing a Palestinian state."
Obama's demands on Israel contrasted sharply with his pledge that his administration "does not meddle in Iran's internal affairs" and regards a Fatah-Hamas unity deal as "an internal matter" rather than an obstacle to peace. In his celebrated Cairo speech, Obama similarly assured the entire Muslim world that "America does not presume to know what is best for everyone." Not long ago, the concept of "evenhandedness" between our democratic allies and terror-sponsoring regimes was widely considered a betrayal of our most fundamental values. Yet, incredible as it sounds, evenhandedness now would be an improvement. Prime Minister Netanyahu, consistently labeled "hawkish" in our media, acceded to Obama's checkpoint pressure rather than risk making waves by requesting that the Obama administration apply to Israel the "no internal meddling" standard he applies to Iran and Muslim nations in general.
At least nineteen anti-terror checkpoints were lifted by mid-2010. The results of yielding to Obama's pressure were predictably tragic. In June 2010, an Israeli policeman was shot to death and two civilians wounded; two months later, four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, were murdered. All of the killings occurred on the West Bank's Route 60, where all checkpoints had been lifted. As Aaron Klein reported, "[t]he checkpoints were dismantled in line with demands from the Palestinian Authority that were passed on to Israel by the Obama administration."
Imagine Romney challenging Obama on this scandal, perhaps even mentioning the victims by name. Considering that Sandra Fluke was a "victim" deserving of a sympathy call from the president and prominence as a symbol of alleged injustice, are these genuine victims of a president's cruelly biased foreign policy any less deserving of recognition?
And now the tragic punch-line: after spending two years condemning Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks as impediments to peace and urging their removal, President Obama congratulated Egyptian demonstrators -- reportedly members of the Muslim Brotherhood -- for setting up checkpoints and conducting body searches.
In his speech celebrating the success of protesters in removing President Mubarak, Obama said something extraordinary:
... we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for those who were wounded; volunteers checking protesters to ensure that they were unarmed.
The PBS Frontline show "Revolution in Cairo" reported that the checkpoints Obama praised were set up by the Muslim Brotherhood. As correspondent Charles M. Sennott explained, "[t]he Brotherhood played a quietly effective role in bringing their hundreds of thousands of followers to the square and organizing checkpoints[.]"
In a saner world, checkpoints set up by demonstrators in a public square -- especially members of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose motto declares that "jihad is our way" -- would be regarded with greater skepticism than security measures undertaken by a democratic nation plagued by decades of terror attacks. How would Obama react to the sight of non-jihadist demonstrators -- a Tea Party chapter, for instance -- cordoning off Times Square, demanding IDs, searching bags, and patting down everyone who wished to pass through? Would he similarly congratulate these "volunteers" for their initiative?
This troubling contradiction is a microcosm of the broader double-standard practiced by the administration. The president, who did not visit Israel during his term, invited members of the Brotherhood to his 2009 Israel-bashing Cairo speech over the objections of Egypt's government, and, in calling for "non-secular" participation in Egypt's new government, specifically mentioned only the Brotherhood by name, leaving out the Christian Copts and others. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee that the organization that spawned al-Qaeda and Hamas is "largely secular" and has "eschewed violence."
And the media obediently follows Obama's lead. The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America noted that in February 2011, "[i]n addition to publishing commentaries by two apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan and Essam El-Errian, on its op-ed page, the Times has published a news story that depicts the group's spiritual leader, Yusuf Qaradawi, as 'committed to pluralism and democracy.'" Qaradawi has praised the Holocaust, called on Allah to "kill [the Jews] down to the very last one," and urged the murder of Americans, apostates, and homosexuals.
Given this media bias, it's not surprising that while Israel's anti-terror checkpoints are endlessly portrayed as designed to oppress and humiliate, the Muslim Brotherhood's checkpoints praised by Obama were described in positive terms. Others in the media echoed PBS's Sennott in depicting the unauthorized searching of bags, checking of IDs, and pat-downs as sensible precautions, never as controversial intrusions. The BBC's Yolande Knell described the security measures as reasonable and necessary, noting, "They searched everyone who entered the square to make sure they had no weapons. There was even a separate queue for women -- I was patted down apologetically several times." One report seemed to regard the checkpoints as almost adorable, quoting a woman who said, "I got patted down in the nicest way."
Because the media supports Obama and reflects his biases right back to him, and because of the decades-long radical indoctrination that shaped his views, it appears that he probably has never questioned -- or been questioned about -- his checkpoint hypocrisy.
The Israeli victims of the terror attacks enabled by Obama's insistence on the removal of checkpoints included the Command Sgt. Major Yehoshua Sofer, who was killed, and three of his fellow police officers, who were wounded, on June 14, 2010. Yitzhak and Talya Ames, Dochava Even-Haim, and Avishai Schindler were shot to death on August 31.
Two were mothers. Dochava Even-Haim, a nursery school teacher, left behind an 8-year-old girl. Talya Ames, the mother of six children, was nine months pregnant. (To quote from an Obama ad, sometimes "it's a scary time to be a woman.") Palestinians rejoiced in the streets. Did Obama really believe that pressuring Israel to remove anti-terror measures, while remaining silent on Palestinian terrorists' "internal matters," would advance the peace process?
These victims of terror were expendable to our president, although he has vowed to protect Big Bird.
While there are too many troubling instances of Obama's double-standard to even begin to cover in a single debate, the checkpoint scandal serves as a revealing microcosm of the entire biased, callous, morally blind foreign policy, raising questions as to how Obama can be trusted to defend our closest Mideast ally from larger-scale threats, including the genocidal designs of the mullahs and the new Egyptian regime he helped empower and now funds with billions of dollars.
Is it mere coincidence that, out of more than 190 nations on earth, Obama actively pushed for the removal of security in only one nation -- the same nation his longtime mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright refers to as a "dirty word"? The jarring contrast between Obama's treatment of Israel and the regimes sworn to destroy it marks an unprecedented, fundamental transformation in America's policies and values.
Romney has an opportunity to bypass the media that suppressed the checkpoint scandal and speak truth to power by challenging Obama on an issue the latter is not expecting. Obama would be stunned and thrown off-balance -- not because he lacks intelligence, but because, after decades of brainwashing by his far-left mentors, he might not even be consciously aware of his deadly double-standard.