With vote tallies in for Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections in it is
abundantly clear that Egypt is on the fast track to becoming a totalitarian
Islamic state. The first round of voting took place in Egypt’s most liberal,
cosmopolitan cities. And still the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists received
more than 60 percent of the vote. Run-off elections for 52 seats will by all
estimates increase their representation.
And then in the months to come,
Egyptian voters in the far more Islamist Nile Delta and Sinai will undoubtedly
provide the forces of jihadist Islam with an even greater margin of
Until the US-supported overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt served
as the anchor of the US alliance system in the Arab world. The Egyptian military
is US-armed, US-trained and US-financed.
The Suez Canal is among the most
vital waterways in the world for the US Navy and the global economy.
to Mubarak’s commitment to stemming the tide of jihadist forces that threatened
his regime, under his rule Egypt served as a major counter-terror hub in the
US-led war against international jihad.
GIVEN EGYPT’S singular importance
to US strategic interests in the Arab world, the Obama administration’s response
to the calamitous election results has been shocking. Rather than sound the
alarm bells, US President Barack Obama has celebrated the results as a victory
Rather than warn Egypt that it will face severe
consequences if it completes its Islamist transformation, the Obama
administration has turned its guns on the first country that will pay a price
for Egypt’s Islamic revolution: Israel.
Speaking at the annual policy
conclave in Washington sponsored by the leftist Brookings Institute’s Saban
Center for Middle East Policy, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton hammered Israel, the only real ally the US has left in
the Middle East after Mubarak’s fall. Clinton felt it necessary – in the name of
democracy – to embrace the positions of Israel’s radical Left against the
majority of Israelis.
The same Secretary of State that has heralded
negotiations with the violent, fanatical misogynists of the Taliban; who has
extolled Saudi Arabia where women are given ten lashes for driving, and whose
State Department trained female-hating Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the
lead-up to the current elections in Egypt accused Israel of repressing women’s
rights. The only state in the region where women are given full rights and legal
protections became the focus of Clinton’s righteous feminist wrath.
the IDF, as in the rest of the country, religious coercion is forbidden. Jewish
law prohibits men from listening to women’s voices in song. And recently, when a
group of religious soldiers were presented with an IDF band that featured female
vocalists, keeping faith with their Orthodox observance, they walked out of the
auditorium. The vocalists were not barred from singing. They were not
mistreated. They were simply not listened to.
And as far as Clinton is
concerned, this is proof that women in Israel are under attack. Barred by law
from forcing their soldiers from spurning their religious obligations, IDF
commanders were guilty of crimes against democracy for allowing the troops to
exit the hall.
But Clinton didn’t end her diatribe with the IDF’s
supposed war against women. She continued her onslaught by proclaiming that
Israel is taking a knife to democracy by permitting its legislators to legislate
laws that she doesn’t like. The legislative initiatives that provoked the ire of
the US Secretary of State are the bills now under discussion which seek to
curtail the ability to foreign governments to subvert Israel’s elected
government by funding non-representative, anti-Israel political NGOs like
B’Tselem and Peace Now.
In attacking Israel in the way she did, Clinton
showed that she holds Israel to a unique standard of behavior. Whereas fellow
Western democracies are within their rights when they undertake initiatives like
banning Islamic headdresses from the public square, Israel is a criminal state
for affording Jewish soldiers freedom of religion. Whereas the Taliban, who
enslave women and girls in the most unspeakable fashion are worthy
interlocutors, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which supports universal
female genital mutilation is moderate, Israel is an enemy of democracy for
seeking to preserve the government’s ability to adopt policies that advance the
The unique standard to which Clinton holds the
Jewish state is the standard of human perfection.
And as far as she is
concerned, if Israel is not perfect, then it is unworthy of support. And since
Israel, as a nation of mere mortals can never be perfect, it is necessarily
CLINTON’S ASSAULT on Israeli democracy and society came a
day after Panetta attacked Israel’s handling of its strategic challenges.
Whereas Clinton attacked Israel’s moral fiber, Panetta judged Israel responsible
for every negative development in the regional landscape.
excoriated Israel for not being involved in negotiations with the Palestinians.
Israel, he said must make new concessions to the Palestinians in order to
convince them of its good faith. If Israel makes such gestures, and the
Palestinians and the larger Islamic world spurn them, then Panetta and his
friends will side with Israel, he said.
Panetta failed to notice that
Israel has already made repeated, unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians
and that the Palestinians have pocketed those concessions and refused to
negotiate. And he failed to notice that in response to the repeated spurning of
its concessions by the Palestinians and the Arab world writ large, rather than
stand with Israel, the US and Europe expanded their demands for further Israeli
Panetta demanded that Israel make renewed gestures as well
to appease the Egyptians, Turks and Jordanians. He failed to notice that it was
Turkey’s Islamist government, not Israel, that took a knife to the
Turkish-Israeli strategic alliance.
As for Egypt, rather than recognize
the strategic implications for the US and Israel alike of Egypt’s transformation
into an Islamic state, the US Defense Secretary demanded that Israel ingratiate
itself with Egypt’s military junta. Thanks in large part to the Obama
administration, that junta is now completely beholden to the Muslim
As for Jordan, again thanks to the US’s support for the
Muslim Brotherhood and its aligned groups in Libya and Tunisia, the Hashemite
regime is seeking to cut a deal with the Jordanian branch of the movement in a
bid to save itself from Mubarak’s fate. Under these circumstances, there is no
gesture that Israel can make to its neighbor to the east that would empower King
Abdullah to extol the virtues of peace with the Jewish state.
is Iran, and its nuclear weapons program.
Panetta argued that an Israeli
military strike against Iran would lead to regional war. But he failed to
mention that a nuclear armed Iran will lead to nuclear proliferation in the Arab
world and exponentially increase the prospect of a global nuclear
Rather than face the dangers head on, Panetta’s message was that the
Obama administration would rather accept a nuclear-armed Iran than support an
Israeli military strike on Iran to prevent the mullocracy from becoming a
Clinton’s and Panetta’s virulently anti-Israeli
messages resonated in an address about European anti-Semitism given last week by
the US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman. Speaking to a Jewish audience,
Gutman effectively denied the existence of anti-Semitism in Europe. While
attacks against European Jews and Jewish institutions have become a daily
occurrence continent-wide, Gutman claimed that non-Muslim anti- Semites are
essentially just all-purpose bigots who hate everyone, not just Jews.
for the Muslims who carry out the vast majority of anti-Jewish attacks in
Europe, Gutman claimed they don’t have a problem with good Jews like him. They
are simply angry because Israel isn’t handing over land to the Palestinians
quickly enough. If the Jewish state would simply get with Obama’s program,
according to the US ambassador, Muslim attacks on Jews in Europe would simply
Gutman of course is not a policymaker. His job is simply to
implement Obama’s policies and voice the president’s beliefs.
taken together with Clinton’s and Panetta’s speeches, Gutman’s remarks expose a
distressing intellectual and moral trend that clearly dominates the Obama
administration’s foreign policy discourse. All three speeches share a common
rejection of objective reality in favor of a fantasy.
administration’s fantasy universe, Israel is the only actor on the world stage.
Its detractors, whether in the Islamic world or Europe, are mere objects. They
are bereft of judgment or responsibility for their actions.
There are two
possible explanations for this state of affairs – and they are not mutually
exclusive. It is possible that the Obama administration is an ideological echo
chamber in which only certain positions are permitted. This prospect is likely
given the White House’s repeated directives prohibiting government officials
from using terms like “jihad,” “Islamic terrorism,” “Islamist,” and “jihadist,”
to describe jihad, Islamic terrorism, Islamists and jihadists.
by ideological thought police that outlaw critical thought about the dominant
forces in the Islamic world today, US officials have little choice but to place
all the blame for everything that goes wrong on the one society they are free to
criticize – Israel.
The second possible explanation for the
administration’s treatment of Israel is that it is permeated by anti-Semitism.
The outsized responsibility and culpability placed on Israel by the likes of
Obama, Clinton, Panetta and Gutman is certainly of a piece with classical
There is little qualitative difference between
accusing Israeli society of destroying democracy for seeking to defend itself
against foreign political subversion, and accusing Jews of destroying morality
for failing to embrace foreign religious faiths.
So too, there is little
qualitative difference between blaming Israel for its isolation in the face of
the Islamist takeover of the Arab world, and blaming the Jews for the rise of
anti-Semites to power in places like Russia, Germany and Norway.
truth, from Israel’s perspective, it really doesn’t make a difference whether
these statements and the intellectual climate they represent stem from
ideological myopia or from hatred of Jews.
The end result is the same in
either case: Under President Obama, the US government has become hostile to
Israel’s national rights and strategic imperatives. Under Obama, the US is no
longer Israel’s ally.