Islamic ascendancy intensifies US appeasement

Statements by Obama administration call into question US president's "unshakable" friendship with Israel.

By
December 7, 2011 22:55
US President Barack Obama [file]

US President Barack Obama 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque )

Ironically, US President Barack Obama portrays himself as a friend of Israel while soliciting funds from Jewish donors, but two senior members of his team provided chilling insights to what Israel may expect should the current administration be returned to office.

After reaffirming that the US retains “an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta crudely told a Brookings Institution forum that it was high time for Israel to “get to the damn negotiating table.” He ignored the fact that even after a 10-month settlement freeze, the Palestinians had refused to engage in direct negotiations with Israel.

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Panetta’s repetition of the mindless mantra that Israel is “partly” responsible for its diplomatic isolation and his demand for further Israeli unilateral concessions to end the conflict would certainly be welcomed by the Arabs as an extension of their long-term strategy to dismantle the Jewish state in stages.

Furthermore, Panetta’s demand for Israel to “reach out to mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability,” specifically with Turkey and Egypt, failed to address either Israel’s extraordinary efforts to retain good relations with Egypt, despite the ascendancy of jihadist groups there or the fact that Erdogan’s Turkey is now openly allied with the genocidal Hamas. For a US secretary of defense to implicitly blame Israel for the erosion of relations with these countries is simply outrageous.

Finally, the secretary warned Israel that if Jerusalem acted alone in relation to Iran, it would place America in an unenviable position, cost many lives and lead to global economic chaos. As former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams observed afterward, Panetta eased Iranian concerns by effectively nullifying longstanding American statements that “all options are on the table” to curb the nuclear threat.

PANETTA’S ADDRESS was followed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pontificated on Israel as a democratic state criticizing proposed legislation in Israel that would limit foreign funding for nongovernmental organizations.

This issue has indeed generated a great deal of controversy in Israel, but it is unprecedented and inexcusable for an American official to become involved in a domestic Israeli debate or to publicly criticize the government of a purportedly close ally. This is especially true in light of the fact that Clinton has hardly been forthright in condemning human rights violations or anti-Semitic outbursts in Muslim countries or by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. As these groups emerge as the new dominant forces in these countries, her silence in this matter is deafening.

Even more disconcerting were Clinton’s remarks concerning a marginal number of misguided Israeli soldiers who sought to boycott events in which female singers participated. This issue, and the clumsy manner in which it was handled by the IDF, has admittedly distressed many Israelis. But what business is it of the secretary of state, again - especially when she cannot bring herself to address women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries? Furthermore, her comparison of this episode with the segregation of African-Americans in the 1950s does not merely reflect her ignorance. That, and her comment that this Israeli behavior reminded her of the way Iranians treated women, is downright offensive.

Finally, Washington’s ambassador to Belgium, a former major Jewish fundraiser for Obama named Howard Gutman, told European Jewish leaders and lawyers that “a distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” The innuendo was that Muslim anti-Semitism is a by-product of Israeli intransigence in the Middle East, and therefore, can be understood and implicitly justified. It is of note that these sickening remarks were made by the US ambassador to one of the most anti-Israeli countries in Europe, Belgium.

THESE OUTBURSTS signal that despite favorable public opinion and congressional support, Israel continues to face hostility and difficulties from the US administration. Senior officials like secretaries Panetta and Clinton do not make comments like these without the backing of the president.

The timing of these provocative outbursts – concurrent with the radical Islamist tide sweeping across North Africa - makes them especially reprehensible. Egypt’s election victory for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups mean Israel’s worst fears have been realized - the country is now surrounded by a ring of fanatic, hostile Islamic states. The Muslim Brotherhood, creator of Hamas, is an outright jihadist organization whose charter unequivocally calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of all Jews.

In this context, it is exasperating and sickening to be subjected to delusional spins by Western politicians and liberal media suggesting that the Muslim Brotherhood has turned a new page, is now tolerant and, to quote some US administration officials, is even in the process of becoming “secular.”

In addition, the only issue over which Sunnis and Shi’ites have been able to overcome their passionate differences is their frenzied hatred of Israel. From Sunni Arab Egypt to Shi’ite Persian Iran, the anti-Semitic propaganda that is published in the state-run media of every country in the Islamic Middle East is indistinguishable from the vilest Nazi propaganda. But again, this is an issue that is off the radar for the Obama administration.

IT BEHOOVES the president, and other Western leaders, to take note of the fact that in the Islamic grand order, Israel and the Jews are merely the “canary in the mine” and represent a minor component of their global ambitions. An Islamic victory over Israel and murder of all its Jewish citizens would not ease tensions. Rather to the contrary: it would embolden Islamists towards their goal of conquering Europe and ultimately the world.

Israel can do little to influence the course of events in the Arab countries and its leaders have wisely stood aside, but the time has surely come for the Obama administration to recognize that its policies of appeasement have led to disastrous consequences. Instead of trying to mollify Islamists by distancing themselves and making one-sided criticisms against Israel, they should gird themselves for a long-term struggle against fanatical Islamists who have been conditioned into believing that they can best achieve their global objectives through intransigence and intensification of violence.

American Jews can make an important contribution in this area. Yet alas, most of their leaders fail to condemn these reprehensible remarks directed against Israel by leading Obama Administration officials. While as expected, the Zionist Organization of America and the Jewish Republicans protested, the response from other Jewish organizations was extraordinarily muted.

Abe Foxman of the ADL condemned Panetta’s remarks as did David Harris of the AJC in a far more understated manner. The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned the US Belgian Ambassador.

Yet, until now, the Jewish establishment responded to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s offensive remarks with deafening silence.

The traditionally robust responses by American Jewish leaders to such hostile remarks by public officials were sadly lacking.

One is even tempted to suspect that they have collectively decided not to rock the boat and to eliminate any contentious references to Israeli-associated issues from political discourse related to the forthcoming elections. How else can one explain the paucity of meaningful response to such provocations? Which leads us to ask, will Jews at the grassroots level remain satisfied that their principal spokesmen remain silent on these issues?


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