Lap dogs and lame ducks

For Obama and Clinton to treat Israel with such disdain is shocking.

March 22, 2010 23:44
4 minute read.
Shmuley Boteach

Shmuley Boteach 58. (photo credit: d)


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US President Barack Obama seems to have forgotten who America’s friends are. When it comes to tyrants like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who dismantle their nations’ democracies and throw their political opponents in jail, or worse, Obama embraces them. And when it comes to Middle East dictators, like King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who brutally oppress women, the president of the United States will literally bow before them, (he gave the same treatment to the emperor of Japan, even though Douglas MacArthur forced the emperor to renounce his divinity).

But if you’re the democratically elected prime minister of the Middle East’s only fully functioning democracy, and America’s most reliable ally, the president will sic his secretary of state on you if you don’t cave in to his demands. Who does Obama think Netanyahu is? His poodle?

JEWS SHOULD be allowed to live anywhere in Jerusalem, as should Arabs. Yet Israelis announce that Jewish housing will be added in Jerusalem and it provokes the biggest crisis in American-Israeli relations in recent memory. Meanwhile the Palestinians, led by Mahmoud Abbas, dedicate a square to Dalal Mughrabi, the 19-year-old female terrorist who helped carry out the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history, and the Obama administration barely utters a protest. It’s enough to leave you scratching your head.

During Obama’s presidential campaign, I was asked to serve as a national co-chairman of Rabbis for Obama. I turned it down. First of all, I was amazed that the candidate wasn’t going to be on any calls with the rabbis who signed up, with the campaign saying he was too busy. Using the rabbis for their names and support without so much as having a single conversation with them seemed highly disrespectful. Second and more importantly, I turned down the position because I had a strong inkling that Obama would treat Israel this way – bullying it, pushing it and pressuring it into peace deals that compromise its security.

And make no mistake about it, dividing Jerusalem, as it had been split until the Six Day War, is the single gravest risk to Israel’s security. Just imagine a Palestinian capital, with Palestinian forces, only miles from Israel’s Knesset. The Palestinian Authority has little control over its own people, a majority of whom support Hamas. Would Israel really sign a suicide pact to put all the organs of its government within easy striking range of Palestinian rockets?

Haven’t we seen this happen before with Sderot and Gaza?

AND WITH Abbas presiding over the ceremony to lionize a mass-murderer of Jews, one might be forgiven if he was to conclude that pandering to extremists is a greater priority for the PA president than peace.

But all this is beside the point. Israel is a sovereign nation. For Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to treat it with such disdain, and handle its elected officials as if they are naughty children, is shocking. I would like to see a single other example of a national leader subjected to this kind of public berating.

And please don’t give me the tired argument about how much America does for Israel. America gives Egypt billions in aid each year, yet Obama showed Hosni Mubarak every courtesy when he visited Cairo, even though Mubarak is a dictator who has for decades rejected America’s call for democratic reforms.

And what of Iraq? We spent hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives to liberate the Iraqis. Did anyone hear even a ‘thank you’ from Iraqi politicians two weeks ago as they went to their second free elections since the liberation? Many Iraqi leaders still speak of the Americans as unwelcome intruders, even after the incalculable American investment of blood and treasure. Yet their leaders are treated with utmost respect by the Obama administration and Secretary Clinton.

Mr. President, stop treating Israel with contempt. By putting all the burden on Israel to make peace, and making no demands on the Arabs to democratize, you not only undermine America’s commitment to liberty but scuttle your own efforts at peace. War between the Arabs and Israelis has raged for six decades because the former have always sought to destroy the latter. Israel has made endless concessions only to see its citizens die.

I don’t see you making peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mr. President. So why do you insist that Israel  reach an accord with a Palestinian Authority that won’t even control the terrorist organization Hamas, whose stated goal is the annihilation of the Jewish state?

One hopes that before the Israeli prime minister capitulates to American demands to make certain parts of Judaism’s greatest city Judenrein, he will keep in mind that the US president has watched his approval rating drop to below 50 percent in just over a year because Americans believe he is out of touch with the core problems facing our nation. It would seem that the same may be true of the president’s conviction that settlements are the source of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The writer is founder of This World: The Values Network. He has just published The Blessing of Enough.

Follow him on twitter @RabbiShmuley

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