A Great Reckoning in a Little Room

Glick’s analysis should not come as a surprise. One recalls the contemptuous usage Obama meted out to Benjamin Netanyahu in their March 2010 encounter in the White House, with the Israeli prime minister ushered in furtively through the back door, left to stew in a room while Obama dined with his family, and unceremoniously ushered out minus a photo session and a joint statement between heads of state. It should have been clear by then, if not years earlier, that Obama’s geopolitical intention was to box Israel in and to treat the Jewish state as an international pariah. The humiliation suffered by Netanyahu was a kind of tableau vivant, a metaphor or analogy of the treatment Obama had in store for the country itself.

The interim agreement signed in Geneva was implicit in that vulgar White House drama, establishing a political homology that was to play itself out three years later. The relation between Obama and Netanyahu in the White House meeting reflected and prefigured the relation between the U.S. and Israel on the international and diplomatic stage, culminating in an agreement with Iran in which Israel had no part and was effectively ostracized. To say that Obama has no love for Israel is to put it mildly.

It would be interesting in this context to see the Khalidi/Obama video squirreled away by the Los Angeles Times. Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO spokesman and current Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, makes no secret of his hatred for Israel. Obama and Khalidi were good friends, and as Discover the Networks reports, “In 2003 Obama would attend a farewell party in Khalidi’s honor when the latter was leaving the University of Chicago to embark on his new position at Columbia.” The event was filmed and one may plausibly wonder what revelation the LAT is suppressing with regard to Obama’s participation, especially as Obama had praised Khalidi for having “challenged my thinking.” Israpundit’s Ted Belman puts it succinctly: “What was said at this event was presumably so damaging to Obama’s political career that the LA Times, that liberal bastion, who came into possession of a tape of the event, refused to release it.”

In any case, everything Obama has done vis à vis the Jewish state -- favoring anti-Zionist rabbis and organizations, inveighing against housing construction in its own capital city, supporting the Palestinians in fruitless rounds of “peace talks,” insisting that Israel retreat to its indefensible pre-1967 borders, leaking military secrets about Israeli pre-emptive actions against Syria and Hezbollah -- indicates that Obama would like to see Israel confined to a tiny sliver of land, boxed in between the sea and the Arabs, reduced to a rump state at the mercy of its enemies, and eventually ushered out of the corridors of history. This puts him in league with the ayatollahs. This is Obama’s version of the knockout game.

Obama, of course, is programmatically deaf to the reasoned arguments advanced by Netanyahu: that the Palestinians are practiced deceivers and that their historical narrative of origins is provably false; that building in Jerusalem and the E1 area is verifiably legal; that retaining a portion of the Israeli ancestral and mandated homeland in Judea and Samaria, in particular the Jordan Valley and Judean Hills, as determined by no less an authority than the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is necessary for defensive purposes (the memorandum and map were declassified on March 30, 1983); that an emboldened and nuclear Iran is bad for Israel, the U.S and the world; that functioning sanctions against Iran should not be dismantled without an ironclad guarantee of nuclear shutdown and foolproof monitoring; and that Israeli strength and Israeli technology benefit America. Netanyahu must feel somewhat like Touchstone in Shakespeare’s As You Like It: “When a man’s verses cannot be understood nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.” (This “great reckoning in a little room” refers to the murder of Christopher Marlowe, struck down in a tavern under mysterious circumstances.)

If Iran crosses the nuclear threshold, these premonitory words will apply to Israel as well.

*This is a truncated version of Obama’s Sderot speech; I was unable, several years later, to find the complete video clip.

(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)