In the face of Obama’s electioneering claims of unwavering support for Israel, let’s look at his positions and policies:
~The U.N. Human Rights Council is about to release a report calling for an international boycott of American companies that do business with Israel. The council typically steers attention away from the world’s worst human rights violators and focuses instead on the supposed misdeeds of the United States and Israel. Nevertheless, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton rejected the Bush policy of bypassing the council -- and joined in 2009. Stating the desire to create “a more perfect union in a more perfect world,” they offered to prepare a human rights report on our own domestic laws and policies, for which they chose a cadre of liberal activists and left-leaning “experts.”
~Nothing could be worse for Israel than an Iran with nuclear weapons or the enabling of Islamic extremism. Nevertheless, in 2009, Obama declared and defended Iran’s “right to peaceful nuclear technology.” From then on, the cruel and mendacious Ahmadinejad would refer to Iran’s “right” to “peaceful” nuclear technology, while brazenly accelerating a non-peaceful program designed to humble enemy “infidels” America and Israel. Obama reached out to Iran’s “Supreme Leader” with fawning letters and other gestures, but was mute in response to brave young Iranian protestors pleading for support. Obama cancelled funding for democracy programs such as Persian broadcasts of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. (More on Iran)
~Strong, unwavering sanctions against Iran were obviously in Israel’s urgent interest. But Obama pursued a minimalist approach to sanctions, going so far as to thwart and dilute the Kirk-Mendendez sanctions bill. The administration has - strangely - seemed to work harder to prevent Israel from acting militarily than it has to prevent the possibility of having to deal with a nuclear Iran. In the Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb argued: “Tehran and Washington have discovered a surprising common bond: to pretend that they might be heading toward serious negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear capacity. What’s more, they are pretending for the same reason: to ward off an Israeli attack on Iran.”
~No country has done more to ruin Israel’s chances for peace than terror-sponsor, Iranian ally, and Hezbollah backer Syria. Nevertheless, in a major shift of policy, Secretary of State Clinton announced that the US would send two envoys to Syria for “preliminary conversations” and re-opened our embassy there. And, in an inexplicable move, the administration picked Syria’s brutal Bashar al-Assad as a key mediator in Israeli/Palestinian negotiations. When peaceful Syrian pro-democracy advocates took to the streets, and Assad’s response was to butcher them, the administration took no stand –moral, rhetorical or otherwise - against the atrocities. (More on Syria)
~Israel needs American support, for it won’t find it elsewhere. But, in his Cairo speech, Obama referred to “the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own” and to Israeli “obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work and develop their society.” He even asserted, “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” Almost as an aside after all of this, Obama asked Palestinians “to recognize Israel’s legitimacy.” Then, he called for a “Palestinian state.” Thus, in advance of Israeli/Palestinian negotiations, Obama gave away every bargaining chip Israel could possibly hold. Continuing the theme in a September 2011 address to the General Assembly, he proposed a timeline for Palestinian statehood and U.N. membership.
~Under pressure from the Obama administration, Israel agreed to a 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, but the agreement explicitly allowed construction in Jerusalem. In spite of this concession and these terms, the administration “condemned” the 2010 Israeli decision to build homes in eastern Jerusalem as an “affront” to the United States and issued an “ultimatum” demanding that Israel stop construction and make “gestures” to the Palestinians, the suggested ones being releasing hundreds of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons and negotiating on all substantive issues. Adding insult to injury, in May 2011, Obama suggested that Israel use 1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations!
~ Obama claims our relationship with Israel hasn’t changed. But Obama’s snubs towards Benjamin Netanyahu and the anti-“Israel lobby” stance of many of his advisers belie that claim. Contrary to assurances given to Israel, Obama made a deal with Islamic states at a 2010 meeting of parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and agreed to help convene a 2012 conference. Now, this from Haaretz: “Israel expressed its strong opposition .. to an Arab initiative, supported by the Obama administration, to hold a conference that would debate the possibility of nuclear-free Middle East.” Brig-Gen. Horev is quoted as saying,“Nuclear demilitarization in the Middle East, according to the Israeli position, will be possible only after the establishment of peace and trust among the states of the area, as a result of a local initiative, not of external concerns.”
It is true that Obama has continued our close military and intelligence relationship and our security assistance and technology transfers. But he has not “supported” Israel – not the way one supports a close ally. By the way, the administration is seeking a second term on the Human Rights Council - despite Israeli requests that we refrain.