Pro-Israel advocacy group runs ads against Obama

‘Stop blaming Israel first,’ reads rebuff.

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
December 18, 2011 23:18
3 minute read.
Obama speaks at Judaism assembly in Maryland

Obama speaks at Judaism assembly in Maryland 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

 
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WASHINGTON – The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) launched a new round of ads last week slamming US President Barack Obama’s policies toward the Jewish state.

The ad by the American right-wing political advocacy group poses the question: “Why does the Obama administration treat Israel like a punching bag?” and lists a series of anti-Israeli actions initiated by the Obama administration since early November.

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The ad shows a punching bag with a Star of David superimposed on it, and closes with the words, “Enough with the cheap shots. It’s time for the Obama administration to stop blaming Israel first.”

The escalating series of attacks on Obama’s record appeared Thursday in the New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Variety.

The ad asserts Obama’s complicity with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to mock Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s veracity at a G-20 meeting. When Sarkozy was caught on a hot microphone calling Netanyahu a liar, Obama replied, “You’re sick of him, but I have to deal with him every day.”

Additional examples cited by the ECI in the ad were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comparison between Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran and US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, who blamed the Jewish state for the outbreak of Muslim-animated anti-Semitism.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s statement, which seemingly attributed the breakdown in peace talks mainly to the Israeli side, was also highlighted in the hard-hitting ad.



When asked about the aim of the ad, Noah Pollak, executive director of ECI, wrote The Jerusalem Post by e-mail Saturday that “It’s an election year, and American voters are strongly pro-Israel. President Obama is trying, as we saw in his speech to the Union of Reform Judaism on Friday, to paper over the past three years of hostility to Israel and failure in the peace process.

“ECI is going to keep reminding Americans that this is a blame Israel first-administration, and we’re going to hold the president accountable for the attacks on our ally that members of his administration keep making.”

The ECI jolted the political landscape in September with billboards in New York City and a New York Times ad placing giant questions marks over Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security interests. The ad stated: “Tell President Obama: Enough. It’s time to stand with Israel.”

Last week’s ad contains quotes from Israeli newspapers, including a December Post editorial that states, “In recent days there has been a truly frightening articulation of the US administration’s perception of Israel. It is downright scary, especially in light of Israel’s growing need for American support as radical changes sweep the region.”

Tom Gross, a leading Middle East commentator, told the Post Saturday “The Emergency Committee and its chairman Bill Kristol and director Noah Pollak are proving a very important counterweight to the intense J-street lobbying on the Obama administration and Congress.”

“I think these ads in the New York Times and elsewhere will really rattle the administration as they gear up for what could be a very tight presidential election next year,” added Gross.

ECI Chairman William Kristol said, “The Obama administration has been using Israel as a punching bag. The pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community is punching back."

Pollak said that “Obama has made it clear over and over again that he views the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as a ‘constant sore,’ as he once put it, that ‘does infect all our foreign policy’ in the region.”

He continued, “It’s a view shared by many European governments, but it has the effect of excusing political dysfunction in the Middle East, excusing acts of terror and incitement, and blaming Israel for it."

"Israel has perhaps been hit hardest by Obama’s policy of ‘engagement’ – because to cooperate with the world is to cooperate with the world’s obsession with Israel.”

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