How to Lose a Friend in 100 Days

Israeli strategy is all too often constructed, if not dictated, by American foreign policy and in particular, the American President. How then could American Jews risk the survival of the State of Israel on a man who they knew befriended and listened to an anti-Semitic pastor for 20 years, surrounded himself with anti-Semitic friends and advisors, promised to unconditionally reach out to Israel's (and America's) enemies, and flip flopped on the status of Jerusalem?

I have been clear that the status of Israel was too essential to the survival of the Jewish people to risk its continued existence with a vote for a man whose only redeeming quality was his ability to read eloquently (and sometimes too quickly) from a teleprompter. Shockingly, 78% of American Jews apparently disagreed and voted for Obama. What I have since concluded is that many of those liberal Jews were less concerned with the State of Israel than with their liberal values.

An analysis of the policies, statements and decisions made in these first 100 days of the Obama administration with regard to Middle East policy follows.

 - While snubbing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the upcoming AIPAC summit, Obama's first official phone call as POTUS was to Palestinian leader, President Mahmoud Abbas.

  - After just seven days on the job, Obama signed an order allocating $20.3 million for Palestinian migration and refugee assistance.

 - Shortly thereafter Obama decided to earmark $900 million to rebuild Gaza and strengthen the Palestinian Authority. Many liberals naively argued that Hamas would never see those funds and they would never be used to rebuild the arms shipment tunnels the Israelis attempted to destroy. It has since been reported that the Obama administration has asked Congress to amend U.S. law to enable the Palestinians to receive federal aid even if it forms a unity coalition with Hamas.

 - Obama's first television interview was granted to the Saudi-funded al Arabiya TV.

For all of the American Jews that were thrilled when Hillary Clinton was selected as Secretary of State, apparently believing that she was a friend of Israel (completely forgetting her embrace of Arafat's wife, literally), her early comments chastising Israel for building settlements and exercising its right to demolish dozens of homes in East Jerusalem that were built illegally should have been illuminating. She stated:

"Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the 'road map'...It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel..."

Where were Clinton's public denunciations of Hamas rockets raining down on Southern Israel? (When I was in Sderot in March, we held the remnants of a missile that had landed just two weeks prior to our visit.) Perhaps Madam Secretary needs to be reminded that the "road map" calls for a complete cessation of violence by the Palestinians and recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, something that Abbas has firmly rejected in the face of a silent Obama administration.

Furthermore, can one imagine the administration publicly admonishing any other sovereign nation for the legal demolition of a few dozen illegally constructed homes? While in Israel I saw the neighborhood in question. The fact that Clinton took time to scold Israel on this "issue" would be laughable if people across the globe were not actually dying and being victimized by real human rights atrocities as to which the Obama administration is silent.

As if one scolding were not enough, Hillary again made her voice heard stating:

"For Israel to get the kind of strong support it is looking for vis-à-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts. They go hand in hand."

It is astonishing that America's "strong support" for its only ally in the Mideast which is threatened by a common enemy ruled by Islamic extremists and a fascist dictator is conditional. And if Ariel Sharon's ceding Gaza in return for the constant bombardment of thousands of rockets is standing on the sidelines, then perhaps I've been reading the wrong playbook because clearly the Obama administration's promise of change includes an entirely new game of reaching out to enemies while disregarding friends. Finally, the "blame Israel" for the conflicts resulting from the jihadist ideology permeating the Mideast is something that we expect from anti-Semites the world over but certainly not the government of the United States of America.

 - Recently blowhard Joe advised Netanyahu that it would be "ill-advised" for Israel to defend itself against the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon obliterating Israel and its people.

 - American Jews who could not stop kvelling when Obama selected Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff should have been outraged when Emmanuel officially threw Israel under the bus declaring:

"In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister...Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory."

In response to this comment, National Union chairman Ya'acov Katz wrote an admonishing letter to Emmanuel stating:

"For many Israelis, this report is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US..."

 - Another hero of the Jewish community, special envoy to the Mideast George Mitchell, further proved the destructive path on which the Obama administration has embarked by stating his intent to include the Arab peace initiative into his Mideast policy. As Leo Rennert wrote in AT:

"According to Mitchell, creation of a Palestinian state, per se, will be the magic wand to bring peace to the region.  George W. Bush, the first American president to endorse Palestinian statehood, had a quite different plan...before there could be a Palestine, there had to be guarantees that it really would be ‘untainted by terrorism.'  That stipulation is gone from the Obama/Mitchell playbook.

"To make matters even worse for Israel, Mitchell kept assuring Palestinian leaders that the Arab ‘peace initiative' would become part and parcel of Washington's drive for a two-state solution.  The Arab plan actually is a prescription for the end of Israel as a Jewish state because it's predicated on a ‘right of return' for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to flood back into Israel."

 - Additional steps taken by Obama suggesting a lack of support for Israel include his decision to join the UN Human Rights Council and his administration's involvement in the planning stages of Durban II (including toying with the idea of actually attending).

Victor Davis Hanson summarizes the status of relations between the United States and Israel as follows:

"I am very worried. Israel I think is alone now. The failed Freeman appointment, the historically puerile al-Arabiya interview (cf. e.g., Obama's praise of the good ole days, some thirty years ago, when Sadat was murdered, Khomeini took over, Saddam was flexing his muscles, Americans were routinely murdered, etc.) the Samantha Power appointment, the 'outreach' to Syria, the video for Iran, the Gaza/Hamas rebuilding, the tough behind-the-scenes lectures to Israel-all this bodes ill.

Does Team Obama really believe that a murderous autocratic cabal like Hamas is merely different from a democratic constitutional republic like Israel? At best we have naiveté at the helm (Obama thinks he can mesmerize misunderstood killers), at worst, a genuine feeling that Israel is an aggressive, Western imperialist power exploiting indigenous people of color who simply wish to be free--in other words, the Rev. Wright-Bill Ayers-Rashid Khalidi view of the Middle East."

Lauri B. Regan is an attorney at a global law firm in New York.