Whatever the merits or lack thereof of Barack Obama’s presidency, he certainly leads all other presidents in the number of autobiographies he has written, with three compared to a number of his peers who are tied at one. However, his latest one, A Promised Land, is more than just an update on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Most Undeservedly Celebrated Man on the Planet; it’s a full-on apologia for his policies as president, and a program for his impending third term, aka the Biden administration.
The weighty 768-page tome not only tells you more about His Wonderfulness than you ever thought you wanted to know; it also provides a potted Leftist history of Israel that abundantly illustrates how Leftists see our most reliable ally in the Middle East, and why they hate it with such focused laser-beam intensity.
Obama portrays Britain and then Israel as occupying powers in Palestine, without ever explaining who actually owned the land they were and are supposedly occupying. He makes no mention of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. As The Palestinian Delusion explains in detail, the Mandate directed the British to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land” for “the establishment of the Jewish national home.” What gave the League the right to do such a thing? The dying Ottoman Empire had ceded Palestine to the League in 1918. Jews had lived in that land from time immemorial, and it was otherwise sparsely populated. It was a perfect place for the Jews who faced discrimination, harassment and worse in Europe and elsewhere to settle.
Thus the common assumption, which Obama fosters, that the Israelis are illegitimate occupiers of a land that belongs rightly to the Palestinians, founders on the facts. There never was a Palestinian state. No Palestinian king, or emperor, or president. There never was a Palestinian nationality or ethnicity distinct from the nationality and ethnicity of the Arabs of the region. Palestine, like Staten Island or Georgetown, was always the name of a region, not a nation-state or ethnonational home.
Obama also claims that the Jews “organized highly trained armed forces to defend their settlements,” without mentioning that in 1919, a Muslim leader, Amin al-Husseini, a member of a prominent Arab clan in Jerusalem, orchestrated a series of attacks on Jews all over Palestine. The following year, he instigated riots in Jerusalem during Passover. Amid mass looting and rapes, six Jews were murdered and over two hundred more injured. A court of inquiry found that “the Jews were the victims of a peculiarly brutal and cowardly attack, the majority of the casualties being old men, women and children.”
This violence was ongoing. In August 1929 in Jerusalem, rioting Arabs murdered 133 Jews and injured over two hundred more, many in their homes. In Hebron, they murdered another sixty-seven Jews, and in Safed, twenty more. The British government-appointed Shaw Commission found that the riots “took the form, in the most part, of a vicious attack by Arabs on Jews accompanied by wanton destruction of Jewish property.” Obama mentions none of this.
His description of the birth of the State of Israel is no more fair or accurate: “As Britain withdrew, the two sides quickly fell into war. And with Jewish militias claiming victory in 1948, the state of Israel was officially born.”
The “two sides” were actually tiny Israel against the giant massed forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. They didn’t “fall into war”; the Arab League declared war immediately after Israel declared its independence. Obama’s use of the term “militias” to describe the Israel Defense Forces is doubtless chosen for its resonance with the right-wing, racist, white supremacist militias that American Leftists hysterically imagine to be stalking the land.
Even worse, Obama claims that “for the next three decades, Israel would engage in a succession of conflicts with its Arab neighbors.” One would get no hint from his account of the fact that Israel “would engage” in all these conflicts not out of some imperialist or supremacist impulse, but because each and every time, Arab forces carried out an unprovoked attack against the Jewish state. But Obama appears determined to portray Israel as the aggressor, trusting in the general ignorance of his readership.
Obama’s animus toward Israel is so great that he even calls the Temple Mount “one of Islam’s holiest sites,” without ever mentioning its central importance in Judaism.
A Promised Land thus includes a concise primer for Leftists to remind them of why they must hate Israel. As Obama’s dotty old puppet prepares to enter the Oval Office, this is not a good sign for America’s alliance with Israel, or for peace in the Middle East.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.