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Is Obama Using Israel as a Scapegoat for His Foreign Policy Failures?

Obama is putting Israel in a position where he can portray the country as the key roadblock on Iran and other issues.

by
Moshe Dann

Bio

April 18, 2010 - 12:00 am

Though needing to handle dozens of difficult issues around the world, President Obama seems obsessed with one: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Obama’s administration has been on the warpath with Israel from the beginning, picking fights over issues that have been around for a long time. These include where Jews can live and build in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria (the West Bank); removing checkpoints that stop terrorists; and easing restrictions on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. Yet Obama has been silent regarding anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement, and the upsurge in rioting, violence, and terrorist attacks sponsored by the Palestinian Authority.

An innocuous announcement of approval for building permits in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit gave Obama the opportunity he, perhaps, was waiting for — he bombarded Israel with unprecedented wrath and scorn. Out of proportion and unusually harsh, Obama’s disappointment seemed irrational.

A few weeks later, David Sanger of the New York Times quoted one of Obama’s foreign policy advisors:

If Obama can’t set some parameters for our allies, how is he going to set some for the mullahs?

Sanger also wrote:

Obama’s team seems to understand that if they lose that contest of wills [with Israel], the rest of their foreign policy agenda is also threatened.

Assuming this is true, Obama is tying Israeli concessions to U.S. moves to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons, and to other issues as well. This policy makes Israel a scapegoat for Obama’s failures.

It’s those Jews who want to build homes in Jerusalem that prevent the U.S. from stopping Iran, North Korea, and the Taliban! David Petraeus has been quoted as implying that America’s support for Israel is harming allied war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It’s a wonder the Jews aren’t blamed for global warming.

The danger of Obama’s attack is not only that it shifts blame for difficulties the West faces in its wars against Islamists to Israel, but that it makes Israel responsible for the threat from Iran. This is blood libel; it has been floating around for some years by extremists. Coming from the White House, however, it now has legitimacy.

Outrageous as the charge is, it lends support to the kind of Jew-hatred preached by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and some of Obama’s friends. Such charges, hints, and implications fuel a classic anti-Semitism waiting to be ignited.

Obama’s attack on Israel is not merely an attack on a country, but a country whose government is predominantly Jewish. By casting Israel as the guilty party at a time when Iran, Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria, and a host of radical Islamist jihadists seek Israel’s destruction and are significantly more worthy of rebuke, Obama has engaged in demonizing Israeli Jews.

Obama’s attack on Israel is not unwitting or unintended. It is the result of two decades of brainwashing by his spiritual and moral mentors. And it is the harpoon of a strategy to isolate Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu and to bring Israel to its knees.

If Netanyahu resists Obama’s demands, he will be portrayed as insulting the president, preventing confrontation with Iran, and harming U.S. military activity. He also risks losing American military assistance and support in the UN. Resistance from Netanyahu could also lead to greater efforts to investigate Israel’s nuclear facility and destroy its nuclear capacity.

If Netanyahu gives in to Obama, he jeopardizes Israel’s security and its claims in Judea and Samaria.

By making Israeli compliance a personal issue, a measure of his strength, Obama has created a situation which, no matter what it does, Israel will lose.

In the past, in order to avoid direct diplomatic clashes, ambiguity has often worked in Israel’s favor. Obama has whittled down that breathing room — obligating Netanyahu to state clearly what Israel’s position is, not only in Jerusalem, but in all contested areas, and to remove Israel’s legitimate interests and concerns from the gambling table.

Obama’s bold move, putting the prestige of his office and his personal interests on the line against Israel as a demonstration of authority and strength, may turn out to be an example of carelessness and weakness. That would be unfortunate for America, for Israel, and for the world.

The author, a former assistant professor of history, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.
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