Four years ago, Alan Dershowitz and I debated in these pages whether Barack
Obama or John McCain would be a better president for Israel. I urged my teacher,
mentor and friend to “judge the candidates on their actions, not their
Today, we can judge Obama on his record – and there is much that
Dershowitz leaves out in his summary of why he has no “buyer’s remorse” for
voting for Obama in 2008 – and again, apparently, in 2012.
Obama began in 2009 by making it clear, publicly, that he saw Israel as the
obstacle to peace in the Middle East. He “shut the door” on natural growth in
Israeli settlements, creating a new excuse Palestinians could use to avoid
talks. He appeared “to link American efforts to stop Iran from developing
nuclear weapons to Israeli actions with regard to the settlements.” (I am
quoting Dershowitz’s own criticisms from 2009).
Instead of confronting
Iran, Obama has pursued a policy of sanctions that has failed to set back Iran’s
nuclear program “one iota,” according to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu. Even those loophole-filled sanctions were too much for Obama, who had
to be dragged into supporting them – raising concerns that Obama could be the
US’s own “Neville Chamberlain” (I am quoting Dershowitz’s own criticism from
Worst of all were the public attacks by the Obama administration
against construction in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. And who can forget
when Obama said that Israel should negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis
of the 1967 borders? President Obama “hurt the peace process gravely,” pushing
the two sides “further away than ever before from negotiated peace.” (I am
quoting Dershowitz again, from 2011.) IN 2008, Dershowitz based his support for
Obama on the premise that “The election of Barack Obama – a liberal supporter of
Israel – will enhance [the] weakening position among wavering liberals.” That
has not happened – partly because the Obama administration has itself used
radical proxy groups, such as J Street and Media Matters, to undermine support
In February 2012, Dershowitz said that he “could not vote for
any candidate who had anything to do with Media Matters.” Has Obama disowned
them? Dershowitz gives Obama credit for opposing the Goldstone Report – a
slander the administration was actually slow to condemn, just as it was slow to
boycott the Durban racism conferences.
He also commends the president for
security cooperation with Israel – cooperation that already had bipartisan
support, and which has been undermined by the administration’s leaks about
Israeli military plans against Iran.
Even by Obama’s own standards, he
has been a failure, breaking his promise to AIPAC in 2008 that “Jerusalem will
remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
reliable are the words Obama said to then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in
March: “This is my election. After my election I have more flexibility.” We know
where Obama’s “flexibility” may lead. Pro-Israel voters cannot take that
OBAMA IS not the “pragmatic, centrist liberal” that Dershowitz
describes. He is a man of the left who has set out to transform American
society, often in direct contrast with the ideal of limited government
established in our Constitution.
In international affairs, he has adopted
an illiberal, “anti-colonial” approach – reaching out to America’s enemies while
abandoning our allies, and often ignoring human rights concerns in the
For Israel to remain a bipartisan issue, both parties must show
an equal commitment to Israel’s security and welfare. Many Democrats not only
believe that Israeli policies are wrong, but that the US must pressure Israel to
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), whom I ran against in 2010
– with Dershowitz’s support – writes to defend Obama’s record in these pages.
But she raised money with anti-Semite Helen Thomas, and backs J Street. Should
we continue to let such radicals define US policy towards Israel? Mitt Romney is
a personal friend of Netanyahu and a true friend of Israel. He supports Israel’s
right to defend itself against Iran, considers Jerusalem the capital of Israel,
and celebrates Israel’s entrepreneurial success.
Some liberal Jews may
reject him for being pro-life. But for those who truly love Israel, Romney is
the obvious choice.
The writer is the editor-in-chief of Breitbart News.