REPAIRING ISRAEL’S RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
In the recent Israeli election campaign, the reparation of Israeli-American relations was touted by many as being a priority for the incoming government. This claim, as formulated, however, is sufficiently deceptive to warrant being assessed in greater detail.
The election platform of the Zionist Union, for instance, began by claiming that the party would, “rescue Israel from its international isolation, restore our relations with the United States and Europe, and unite the world in our war against terrorism and aggression.”1
The platform mentions three different subjects, and each one merits a detailed discussion. Therefore, it would be best to leave the topics of Israeli-European relations and the war on terror aside, and focus on the main issue: the reparation of Israel’s relations with the United States.
Shortly before being re-elected, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited, for the third time, to speak before the US Congress. Even though not all congressional members attended his speech, the great majority who did so gave him twenty-two standing ovations.2 That is not an issue which requires any reparation. This does not belie the fact, however, that the manner in which the invitation to speak to Congress was extended to Netanyahu contained a strong element of insult to Obama.
The real problem doesn’t lie in Israel’s relationship with the United States, but rather in its relationship with President Barack Obama. In order to determine whether this could be improved, one has to analyze Obama’s politics and behavior.
Before Obama’s re-election in November 2012, a certain balance was maintained by Obama in his relationship with Israel. His administration had been supportive of Israel after an initial lukewarm period. Such backing was expressed by supplying military equipment to Israel, cooperation in fighting the cyberwar, and in broad strategic collaboration. At the time, the alliance was praised by Israel’s senior leaders. One of Obama’s very negative points, however, was how he whitewashed the reality of radical Islam.3
Obama came to Israel on an official state visit in March 2013. After his visit, 39% of Israelis polled said their opinion of him had changed for the better, and only 2% said it had changed for the worse.4
A current assessment of Obama’s standing with the Israeli public finds it to be far more negative. In mid-December 2014, a Panels Research poll asked respondents who was to blame for the deterioration in relations between the United States and Israel: 39% answered Obama, 29% said Netanyahu, and 25% blamed both. A Times of Israel poll in late February found that 72% of Israelis have no faith in Obama’s capability to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb, up from January’s 64%. Only 33% of respondents polled viewed Obama favorably, while 59% saw him unfavorably. In short, Obama’s speechwriters at the time of his visit did a great job providing him with the appropriate rhetoric, which Obama successfully employed. Today, however, the illusions regarding Obama have worn off and the majority of Israelis do not trust the American president.5
Beyond these popular sentiments, there are additional facts that have come to light. Over the past few years, the enormous criminality emerging from parts of the Muslim world has further increased, culminating in the creation of the so-called “Islamic State”, or IS. Obama absurdly claimed that IS is “not Islamic” because, “no religion condones the killing of innocents.”6
The dishonest politician is a common phenomenon. As far as American presidents are concerned, one only has to think about Nixon and Watergate, or about George W. Bush and his claim of the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as a reason to go to war. In both cases, the average citizen did not have access to the real facts. This is not the case with Obama’s statement regarding IS. Any reasonably informed individual knows that the murderous and extremist IS movement is one among several currents of Islam, and claims a substantial number of adherents and sympathizers. If that were not so, the United States wouldn’t have considered it necessary to go to war against IS.
Another recent deceptive remark by Obama concerned the killings in Paris, perpetrated by Muslims. Obama said that, “it is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” The murderer who killed four Jews at the Paris Hyper Cacher supermarket, however didn’t shoot “randomly”, as Obama claims, but rather purposely chose the Hyper Cacher as his place of attack because it was a kosher store, frequented by Jewish customers.7
The American president’s distorted views are also evident from his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2013. Obama stated that, “in the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.”8 There were however many other more important issues in Middle East than the latter, which warranted American attention, such as the many thousands being murdered across Syria and Iraq, a fact which was clearly evident then, and even more so now.
A recent example of Obama’s ongoing manipulations was his 2015 Easter address where he said, “On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.”9 Many will remember that Obama and his wife Michelle were married by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a Christian pastor in Chicago. Obama and his family were members of Wright’s congregation for twenty years. In 2008, this Christian inciter-pastor said, inter alia, that African-Americans should not sing “God Bless America”, but rather, “God Damn America”, this while the Obamas were still congregants of Wright’s church.10
It has become increasingly clear that the disparity between Obama’s claims and the truth is integral to his politics and has become increasingly prevalent. All of those who speak about repairing Israel’s relations with the United States — which de facto means relations with Obama — should explain how they would want to achieve this goal, other than by appeasement and concessions to the Palestinians, which would cause Israel substantial harm, and for which it would pay dearly in the future.11
1 Gil Hoffman, “Israel politics: Platforms for the politically perplexed,” The Jerusalem Post, 28 February 2015.
2 Philip Bump, “Benjamin Netanyahu vs. President Obama on the most important measure of all: Standing ovations,” The Washington Post, 3 March 2015.
3 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Weakness Invites Provocations,” Ynet, 11 February 2012.
4 Yifa Yaakov, “39% of Israelis think better of Obama after his visit, just 2% think worse,” The Times of Israel, 23 March 2013.
5 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “What the Election Polls Told Us,” Israel National News, 5 April 2015.
6 “Statement by the President on ISIL,” The White House, 10 September 2014.
7 Jonathan Karl, “White House Says Shooting at Kosher Market in Paris Was ‘Random,’” ABC News, 10 February 2015.
8 “Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly,” The White House, 24 September 2013.
9 “Remarks by the President and the Vice President at Easter Prayer Breakfast,” The White House, 7 April 2015.
10 Brian Ross and Rehab El-Buri, “Obama’s Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11,” ABC News, 13 March 2008.
11 Jeffrey Goldberg, “Netanyahu’s Opponent: ‘I trust the Obama Administration to Get a Good Deal,” The Atlantic, 16 March 2015.