Obama and Israel: Why Are People Surprised?

For reasons beyond my comprehension, friends of the Jewish state both here and in Israel are shocked and dismayed over last Friday’s U.S. veto abstention at the UN. But hold the presses. If Israel’s claims, which they profess to be ironclad, are true, the passage of UNSC resolution 2334 is just the tip of the iceberg in the ever-widening breach of American/Israeli relations.

The real story may be that the Obama administration orchestrated the resolution and colluded with New Zealand and such democratic stalwarts as Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela to present it to the Security Council. If this proves correct, it will confirm what many on the right have been saying for years: Obama is malevolent toward Israel and intends to apply this animus both here and in the UN. With only three weeks to go he’ll be working at breakneck speed to make as big a mess as possible for incoming President Trump.

Love him or hate him, Obama has never hidden his disdain for Israel in general, or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular. So what’s the surprise? The surprise is: Democrats so programmed to kiss the ring of the emperor for the past eight years are now up in arms. 

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was "extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding" that the Obama administration failed to veto the UN's vote. He went on to say that the U.N. is a "fervently" anti-Israel body, since the days of "Zionism is racism.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, another Democrat from Connecticut, called the U.S.'s abstention from the vote “unconscionable." Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, stated he was "deeply disappointed" that the Obama administration allowed such a "one-sided" resolution to pass and that "actions like this will only take us further from the peace we all want to see.” In the same vein, Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, wrote: "I am dismayed that the administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements.”

In the House, the ranking Democratic member on the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engle said he was "very disappointed" by the U.S.'s "acquiescence to a one-sided, biased resolution at the United Nations Security Council.” He went on: "I have always believed that Israel can’t get a fair shake at the U.N.”

Why these seasoned long-time Democratic members of Congress and long-term supporters of president Obama are so astonished at this betrayal beats me. Although admittedly dismayed, I’m far from astounded. To understand why, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

From his first days in office, President Obama has been intent on creating distance between the United States and Israel because he viewed the closeness of the relationship as bad for American foreign policy. Meeting with Jewish leaders in 2009 he’s on record saying: “Look at the past eight years. During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.” 

Interesting quote: “what did we get from that?” A close friend, a loyal ally, Israel is not a vassal state. As a supposed impartial arbitrator, he should not expect to get anything from that. Some might call it chutzpah to expect the democratically elected government of Israel to forego their own security so the U.S. could maintain credibility with the Arab states. Would we do that? Would any sovereign nation do that facing a contumacious enemy showing no sign or willingness to negotiate a compromise peace deal?

In 2012, Israel had a viable option for a preemptive military strike against Iran’s budding nuclear capability. Unfortunately, the Obama's administration, seeking to quash this option, repeatedly leaked vital covert Israeli information, including which countries Israel had effected a deal with to fly over their territory for an attack on Iran. Where was the outrage from the aforementioned then?

For that matter, why didn’t Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti Defamation League and other Jewish leaders who condemned the veto vote offer any pushback when Obama cajoled Netanyahu to return to the indefensible and suicidal pre-1967 armistice lines?

Confronted with a recalcitrant foe whose malevolence knows no bounds, this president, like none other, has placed the onus for stalemated “peace talks”, not where it belongs on Abbas and his intractable PA, but has instead censured, reprimanded, and excoriated Israel throughout his tenure in office. Why? For the blame he affixes to Netanyahu for failure to accede to the debunked policy of land for peace. A policy bereft of peace but not of war.

One enigma will remain for many years to come. Why with all that’s going on in the world, much to his making, Obama has this obsession with Israel and their right to build housing in their ancestral homeland? it’s inexplicable. 

Likewise inexplicable is seeing outrage from many among the 70% of the American Jewish electorate and mainstream Jewish organizations other than the ZOA which sat by for eight years and were silent during:

  • Hillary Clinton's 43-minute pillorying of the prime minister for announcing already approved construction in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.
  • David Axelrod asserting that President Obama considered the housing approval “an affront, an insult, and very, very destructive.” 
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling Israel “an ungrateful ally.”
  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s chastising Israel to “get back to the damn negotiating table.”
  • Obama shoving PM Netanyahu out the White House back door, no dinner, no joint statement.
  • Pushing Israel to apologize for intercepting the terrorist Gaza flotilla.
  • Obama’s speech sandbagging Netanyahu just before he arrived in Washington, calling on Israel to retreat to the 1949 Armistice line as a starting point for negotiations?

In answer to the question, there was no outrage. Except for false platitudes, by word and deed Obama has never hidden his bitterness toward Israel. Except to the willfully blind, the record clearly indicates rather than acting as an impartial arbiter, his actions have encouraged Palestinian intransigence and in effect extirpated any chance for a peace deal. Taken in this context, last week’s veto abstention and today’s accusation of complicity should be no surprise to anyone.

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