Can President Obama Pass Disraeli's Test?
British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli famously said: "The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews." Winston Churchill was an avid student of Disraeli’s “Tory Democracy” and passed Disraeli’s test easily, as Steven Hayward wrote recently in the Weekly Standard.
This raises a most interesting question: How would President Obama fare on a Disraeli test? His policy toward the Jewish State of Israel leads us to question whether this outstanding student, this graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, could pass a simple, three-question test suggested by one of the Nineteenth Century’s leading statesmen.
President Obama made it a point to skirt around Israel during the entire four years of his first term, while making it his point to go to Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in those years.
First, what about Turkey? In 2009, President Obama congratulated that secular republic on its commitment to democratic rule. Turkey is the only member of NATO with a Muslim majority. As such, Turkey’s 50-year alliance with the U.S. and its longtime support for Israel -- the only Muslim land in the Near East to give such support -- were certainly an important factor worthy of consideration in U.S. foreign policy. But under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has moved farther and farther away from the United States and closer to Russia.
As to Israel, Turkey has become a leading sympathizer of the Hamas terrorist-led regime in Gaza, attempting to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza and charging Israel with violating the human rights of the Arabs of Palestine. Interestingly, while Israel formally supports the idea of statehood for Palestinian Arabs, Turkey denies statehood for its huge Kurdish minority of 20 million. In fact, the Kurds are by far the largest ethnic group in the Mideast denied a state.
Does President Obama hold the Turks to the same standard that he applies to the Israelis? Not at all. He has not begun to press the Turks on Kurdish rights. Until 2000, it was illegal for a person holding Turkish citizenship to identify himself as a Kurd. Contrast this with Israel, where Arabs not only can so identify, they actually sit in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as Arabs and form legal Arab political parties.
Now, what of this administration’s view of Egypt? President Obama speedily recognized the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government in Egypt headed by Mohamed Morsi. Morsi -- educated in the U.S. but strongly rejecting American principles of religious liberty and constitutional government -- quickly brought Egypt to the brink of chaos. Morsi planned a visit to the U.S. -- one eagerly anticipated by the Obama administration -- even though Morsi announced he would press the White House to pardon a terrorist.
Morsi wanted Obama to release Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, in prison for his part in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. That attack killed seven Americans in 1993.
National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy provided this stunning profile of Mr. Obama’s obeisance to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Reports that the State Department was discussing a transfer of the Blind Sheikh back to Egypt surfaced months ago, in the context of a potential swap for democracy activists the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was then detaining. The administration then issued a visa to Hani Nour Eldin, a member of the Islamic Group -- the Blind Sheikh’s terrorist organization, to which it is a felony to provide material assistance. The purpose was to invite Eldin to, yes, the White House, for consultations with top American national-security officials on prospective relations between the United States and the new, Islamist Egypt. As the administration had to know he would do, he pressed his top agenda item: The United States must return the Blind Sheikh as a “gift to the revolution.”
Fully willing to give hundreds of millions in U.S. aid to Morsi, Mr. Obama promptly yanked that aid when Egypt’s military finally pulled the plug on the Muslim Brotherhood’s misrule in Egypt.
That leaves Saudi Arabia as the final question in Mr. Obama’s “Disraeli Test.” It is illegal for a Jew to live in Saudi Arabia. Any Saudi national who converts to Judaism is beheaded for apostasy. In February, 1945, President Roosevelt appealed to Saudi Arabia’s founding monarch, Abdulazziz, for the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Even then, the Saudis were unyielding. FDR, hoping to touch the desert despot’s heart, told him that three million Jews had been murdered in Poland. It was one of the first confirmations by a world statesman of the plight of European Jewry. Abdulazziz’s reaction to this horrific news? There was obviously no need for a Jewish state in the Mideast since there would now be plenty of room for Europe’s surviving Jews -- in Poland!
Despite this history of no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no compromise with Israel, President Obama shamefully bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. No American president had ever bowed to anyone before.
Applying the Disraeli Test to this administration, President Obama’s policies fail on every count. No wonder our present foreign policy seems to stray so far from true American principles and interests.