Turning Point: Obama and Israel, the Next Three Years
We have just entered a new era with the Middle East and its relation to the world. Not every day can you proclaim such a shift in world history; today you can. This is not a joke -- definitely not -- and as you will see, it is not an exaggeration.
For the last seven weeks I have been in the United States, mostly in Washington, D.C.; I have spoken with and listened to many people. As a result, I am in a position to describe to you with a high degree of confidence what U.S. policy regarding the Middle East will be for the remainder of Obama’s term, and perhaps for far into the future.
In short, the administration has crossed a line and is now backing the "bad guys."
This is literally true in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Bahrain (with U.S. support for the opposition), Qatar, and Turkey. In some ways, as we will see, the war on terrorism has become the war for terrorism. Too extreme? On the contrary, this is not a conservative or liberal analysis, but merely an accurate one. Over the next few weeks, we will run here a serious analysis of Obama's Middle East policy for the second term.
The real Obama administration position on Israel is that Netanyahu and Israel refuse to be moderate and flexible, unlike Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. This despite Netanyahu releasing 100 terrorist murderers in exchange for nothing, and Abbas’ constant inflexibility, escalation of demands, and rejection of U.S. strategy on the peace process. The Obama administration also finds Netanyahu to be less moderate and flexible than Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, despite the latter's throwing intellectuals and journalists in prison, betraying U.S. strategy on Iran, backing anti-American Islamists, and sending former army officers for long jail terms on phony charges.
During the coming months, and even years -- if they are given to me -- I will pursue these themes. You may not believe what you read here today or tomorrow, but you will eventually see it occur.
To be absolutely clear, these policies are going to happen, and are already happening. The president is a set ideologue and will not learn, and with the current “ruling class” elitist Congress and remarkably cowardly and partisan media, nothing will change. The situation will only get worse, and the administration’s position more obvious.
In the coming weeks, I will describe eight things that will almost certainly happen during the remainder of Obama’s term, and will suggest how to minimize the harm to the interests of the United States and its would-be Middle Eastern-allied people and governments.
The first one:
1. Israel cannot depend on the United States.
This doesn't mean that Obama and others will not provide military aid or say nice words at every event. But there is no commitment that one can assume would be fulfilled nor any Israeli initiative that will actually be implemented. The idea that Obama and his team are the greatest friends of Israel is a deadly insult. The United States has undermined Israel on many issues: Egypt (by supporting a hostile Muslim Brotherhood government); Tunisia (ditto); Sinai (by enabling an insurgency); Hamas (by the desire to keep the Brotherhood -- an ally of Hamas -- in power in Cairo); Turkey (by supporting the Islamist, anti-Israel government); Syria (by supporting radical Syrian Islamists); Europe (by not supporting the Israeli position on the peace process); America itself (by encouraging anti-Israel forces among the Jewish community and within Obama’s constituency); Palestinians (by the lack of criticism or pressure on Palestinian Authority).
And that’s a partial list.
Further, the most dangerous, insulting argument comes from Secretary of State John Kerry. He has repeatedly said the following (this is also a theme of administration supporters, including Jews):
The greatest danger to Israel is if Israel does not get peace soon.
This is an absurd lie. The greatest danger to Israel would be accepting a dangerous and unworkable peace agreement that the other side would not implement. In other words, the greatest danger for Israel would be to listen to the bad advice of Obama, Kerry, and their supporters.
Who should be more knowledgeable about the situation and more aware of Israel’s real interests, Israel or America? Do people think that Obama knows better than Israelis, that he cares more? That’s absurd and insulting. Of course, people assume that states and political leaderships put their own interests first, whether or not they understand this. And that lays the basis for overruling Israel’s democracy.
For example, a survey by the dovish Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) showed 65.6 percent of Israelis questioned did not expect to see a deal in talks between Israel and the Palestinians within a year. And if you take into the account the “don't knows” and “no opinions,” that increases the percentage. Outrageously, the Reuters story on the polling notes the following:
The talks resumed last month after a three-year hiatus.
Actually, except for one week, there have not been real talks for 13 years. The article also notes:
Even if the Israeli government managed to defy skeptics and secure an accord, the poll … suggested it would struggle to sell it to its people.
This is obviously wrong, as the government and the vast majority of Israel’s people agree with each other. But the U.S. government and its supporters believe that the Israeli government -- in partnership with Obama -- should betray the beliefs, aspirations, and security of the Israeli people.
This does not only include Jewish settlements, even for those willing to give every one up for real, lasting peace. In fact, 55.5 percent of the Israeli people and 63 percent of Israeli Jews said they were against Israel agreeing to return to the 1967 lines, even if there were land swaps which would enable some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to remain part of Israel. It is not the terms ostensibly offered, but the credibility of the United States and the Palestinians. Mind you, the figure is even higher, because most people feel that this simply won't work in terms of providing more security and stability.
Israel is not naïve. It was walking down a dark alley and thought that kindly old Uncle Sam -- perhaps a bit grumpier lately -- had his back, then looked to them for support only to find another enemy. Yet you will never ever hear an Israeli politician admit that.
Read Netanyahu's unprecedented memo on the talks and the prisoner release. It reads as if he saw a ghost; he is trying to signal something very grim and serious and there is no implication that he believes in any possibility of compensation for this concession. Faced with a wasted effort of a unilateral Palestinian prisoner release, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government went along with it because they realized the indifference of the United States to Israel’s interests was extremely high. They realized that Congress was hypnotized that the Jewish community, in its Obama worship, was largely neutralized; and that rather than fighting European hostility, the White House was conducting it.
Looking over their shoulder in the misty night, they realized that a monster was following them. If you read Netanyahu’s unprecedented memo to the Israeli people as to why the terrorist prisoners were released, you get that clear signal. They realized that the Obama administration was extremely dangerous and that it was necessary to buy time.
Of course, the talks will not go anywhere because the Palestinians know they have a strong hand, and they will overplay it. But the administration's willingness to punish Israel to win public relations points and to shore up the doomed U.S. alignment with Islamists has to be reckoned with, and for the next few years.