US President Obama is clearly no friend of Israel. He can rightly say America is, but he is not. His major speech on the Middle East delivered on May 19 shows that Obama has no regard for Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. Indeed, his speech, although said to be in the tradition of US foreign policy, broke all sorts of new – and dangerous – ground.
Obama became the first American president ever to tell Israel to revert back to 1967 territorial lines. And Obama became the first US president ever to tell Israel to halt all settlements, even in Jerusalem. He rightly received a strong lecture from Prime Minister Netanyahu as a result.
As he correctly stated during a press conference, “The only peace that will endure is one based on reality, on unshakeable facts.” He also said, “While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines. These lines are indefensible, because they don’t take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes.”
Quite right. As Cal Thomas explains, “In his bold rebuke of President Obama in the Oval Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a history lesson. Ignorance of history threatens not only Israel, but also American interests and ultimately America itself. That’s because Arab intentions to dominate do not end in the Middle East.”
He continues, “It is difficult to say if the president is self-deluded, if he drinks State Department Arabist Kool-Aid or if he’s just a fool. It doesn’t matter. The results are the same. Why does anyone continue to believe that the unsuccessful ‘Land for Peace’ formula can magically persuade Arab states and terrorist groups to lay down their arms and change their minds about a goal they have taught in their schools, preached in their mosques and reinforced in their media since 1948? The president’s peace formulation is as likely to succeed as Harold Camping’s doomsday prophecy.”
Kenneth Levin was not amiss to call Obama’s speech his “Neville Chamberlain Speech”. Appeasement was the order of the day back then, and that is what we are getting now as well from Obama. Says Levin: “The cumulative impact of Obama’s declarations is to chart a course for Israel comparable to that charted for Czechoslovakia in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain endorsed Hitler’s demands of that country.”
“In his May 19 speech on the Middle East, President Obama, in a matter of minutes, abandoned Security Council Resolution 242, which for more than four decades had been the cornerstone of diplomacy in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace; likewise abandoned the Roadmap, adopted in 2003 by the so-called Quartet (the U.S., UN, EU and Russia) as a blueprint for resolving, more specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; committed his Administration to pushing Israel back to indefensible borders; and essentially adopted as Administration policy Mahmoud Abbas’s variation on Arafat’s ‘Plan of Phases’ for Israel’s destruction.”
Mona Charen notes how Obama has long been acting in a less than friendly manner toward Israel: “Since taking office, the president’s actions have been anything but friendly. By publicly demanding in 2009 that Israel halt all settlement activity, he stepped into the role of negotiator for Mahmoud Abbas, who had not, before then, made participating in talks contingent on such a moratorium. (Afterwards, he could do nothing else.) By announcing American demands on Israel at the United Nations – a seat for virulent, Israel-despising despots – the president betrayed his promise to stand by the lonely democracy in the Middle East, and, in fact, contributed to the atmosphere of menace toward Israel.
“The president’s concept of friendship toward Israel was capacious enough to permit him to insult the nation’s prime minister during a Washington visit because Netanyahu had not agreed to stop building apartments for Jews in Jerusalem, and to instruct his secretary of state to engage in a 40-minute dressing-down of the PM for the same offense.
“Now Obama claims to have found a new expression of friendship — the demand that negotiations over a future Palestinian state begin with the assumption that Israel will relinquish all of the disputed territories acquired in a defensive war 44 years ago. Is the president again serving as chief negotiator for the Palestinians?”
Or as Kevin McCullough writes, “Sadly the President seems unable to distinguish for himself any difference between his job as President and his personal political opinion of what he thinks of Israel, her people, and their government. What he needs to understand, and understand clearly, is that we depend upon Israel’s nuclear, military, and economic vibrancy in the region to prevent the entire middle eastern region from turning into one big radical Islamic ghetto. For if Israel was not there, that is exactly what the rest of the world would be facing. But let’s move beyond the geo-political, radical worldview, pro-Palestinian/Islamic activist positions held by President Obama – what about some just plain old common sense?
“If you have a meeting scheduled for the following day with a nation that you may have some differences with, isn’t it far better to address them in private? The result of Thursday’s speech is that the United States and Israel are perceived to be at odds with each other. And while the leaders of those nation’s may be, the people of the United States overwhelmingly love the nation of Israel and wish her success with her own defense, economic vitality, and self determination.”
Tragically the Left has always tended to see Israel as the enemy, not the solution, to the mess that is the Middle East. Israel is by no means perfect, but given that it is the only free and democratic nation in the area, it deserves far more support from Obama than he has been giving her thus far. But we won’t expect to see a change of heart on his part anytime soon.