The appointment of Samantha Power as America’s UN ambassador, combined with
recent US foreign policy statements reinforces concerns the administration is
accelerating its policies of global withdrawal, engaging rather than confronting
rogue states, and appeasing Islamic extremism.
Power is on record
dismissing concerns about the Iranian nuclear threat.
In addition, while
favoring greater US assertiveness in relation to human rights issues, she seems
to have a somewhat jaundiced moral relativist approach, jointly bracketing
Israelis and Palestinian “crimes.” On one occasion she even called for the US to
intervene militarily on behalf of the Palestinians against the Jewish
Indeed, in an article published 10 years ago titled “Why do they
hate us?” Powers perversely compared US behavior to that of the Nazis. While
describing former chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling in the Warsaw ghetto to
demonstrate atonement for the crimes of the Nazis as “ennobling and cathartic
for Germany,” she implied that the United States should make a similar apology
for its global policies.
In view of her exceedingly harsh former
condemnations of Israel, the enthusiastic endorsement of her appointment by
pro-Israel stalwarts such as former senator Joe Lieberman, ADL head Abe Foxman
and Alan Dershowitz was somewhat perplexing. We hope their confident predictions
that she will confront the ongoing anti- Israeli onslaughts at the UN will be
realized. But considering her previous statements on the subject, one would have
expected them at least to have suspended judgment.
President Barack Obama
was always upfront concerning his intention to reduce America’s global
interventionist role and “engage” rather than confront rogue states. His recent
choice of personnel reflects this.
Secretary of State John Kerry, a
friend of Israel, has a checkered and messy foreign policy track record
including a disastrous effort, immediately before the outbreak of the Syrian
civil war, to rehabilitate Bashar Assad, whom he regarded as a reasonable,
His naïve efforts to promote the peace process are
respectfully tolerated by the Israelis, and met with outright contempt by the
Palestinians, who mocked the $4 billion private investment project he recently
unveiled. Last month, Kerry quietly waived the US requirements of Egypt to
“implement policies to ensure freedom of expression, association and religion,”
and approved a $1.3b. arms grant to it. A few weeks later, the Egyptians
displayed their appreciation by sentencing 43 NGO workers, including 16
Americans, to five-year prison terms for having funded pro-democracy
Obama’s defense minister, Chuck Hagel, was an isolationist who
harbored anti-Israel views and John Brennan, who heads the CIA, is the principal
architect of the policy to appease Islam.
The so-called “Arab Spring”,
enthusiastically welcomed by the Obama administration, substituted authoritarian
dictators – some pro-Western – with more extreme Muslim Brotherhood fanatics and
other radical Islamists who, despite reliance on American financial support,
display utter contempt for US concerns.
The absence of international
pressure from the US as a superpower in the catastrophic civil war in Syria has
strengthened the extremists on both sides with the now probable outcome being an
Iranian Hezbollah-dominated Assad regime or rule by Muslim Brotherhood
extremists buttressed by al-Qaida.
US appeasement of Islamic extremism
now also demands the exclusion of criticism of Islamic terrorism from the
lexicon of administration spokesmen.
Thus, it is prohibited to bracket
the role of Islamic fundamentalism with acts of terror orchestrated by jihadist
Despite the fact that 95 percent of global terror originates
from Islamic extremist sources, one is continuously bombarded by meaningless
clichés, such as “Islam is a religion of peace,” designed to understate and
cover up the Islamic extremist element.
To top it off, the administration
has now initiated a campaign of “outreach” to US Muslim Brotherhood groups, even
including elements under investigation for charges of supporting
This of course undermines the standing and influence of
These developments have severe ramifications for
Israel. The United States is one of the very few countries where the public
remains strongly supportive on a bi-partisan level toward Israel. Obama’s
demonstrative display of warmth towards Israel early in his second term, as
evidenced during his visit to the Jewish state, was undoubtedly largely
influenced by the feelings of rank-and-file Americans.
The US global
decline is deeply disconcerting for Israel. It is paralleled by the increasing
power of China, which has few shared values with us and maintains a purely
pragmatic relationship, heavily influenced by the economic and political power
of the Arab bloc. The Russian leaders, unlike their former Soviet counterparts,
are not anti-Semitic but retain a strong alliance with Syria and even
Israel’s greatest concern is whether, with the likely failure of
sanctions, the US will fulfill its reiterated undertakings to resort to military
action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
articulation of “engaging” rogue states is regarded by many observers as a
prelude to the US substituting its policy of preventing Iran from obtaining the
bomb with a wishy-washy containment approach which paves the way for Iranian
regional hegemony or obliges other Arab states to seek to obtain nuclear
Yet, notwithstanding its global decline, the US remains the
world’s greatest superpower and its relationship with Israel remains crucial for
It is thus incumbent on us to recognize and work towards two goals.
The first is to remain aware that in this regional scorpion’s den, there is no
mercy for the weak and we must rely solely on our own resources and strength to
deter those states – Shi’ite and Sunni alike – which retain an obsession to
That the IDF is today more powerful than it has ever been is
the greatest reassurance for the nation. We can never rely on third parties and
the current chaos with UNDORF on the Golan Heights, with the Russians offering
to substitute for the Austrian withdrawal, underlines the imperative of
self-sufficiency in defending ourselves.
The second goal must be to
maintain and strengthen our relationship with the American people and Congress.
If they continue backing our efforts to resist the barbarians at our gates, the
administration is likely to continue providing us with the needed military and
To achieve these goals we must impose greater
discipline on our politicians and on ourselves. We must speak with one voice,
especially in these times of intransigent Palestinian leadership when, for the
foreseeable future, genuine progress in the peace process is virtually
inconceivable. It is the height of irresponsibility for a deputy minister of
defense to proclaim that a two-state solution is off the table or to call for
the annexation of all the territories. Such outbursts simply provide grist for
those seeking to distance the US from Israel.
The government must
continue its nuanced policy of strengthening the relationship with the US
without conceding on issues that abet the strategy of our adversaries to
undermine the state in stages and embolden Islamic extremists.
hope that our Jewish supporters and friends in the United States will continue
encouraging the administration at all levels to support Israel in its struggle
against its Islamic jihadist adversaries.
The writer’s website can be
viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com.
He may be contacted at