Obama and Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The abuse Israel's leaders suffered at the hands of the Obama administration is becoming more and more evident. There have been dozens of emails revealed from Hillary Clinton's private servers that have countless numbers of her aides and advisers attacking Israel and its elected leadership. Clinton herself has admitted in the past that she was the "designated yeller" at Netanyahu. In this upcoming last batch of emails, there was still a hope that some positive emails towards Israel would have been found. But it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Thomas Nides was a big time donor to Clinton's 2008 campaign and he was granted a top-level job in the State Department.
On September 11, 2012 (the same day the Benghazi attack happened) the Israeli embassy announced that President Barack Obama had snubbed a meeting with Netanyahu as a result of the rising tensions over Iran. Clinton, when asked the previous day if the administration would lay out sharper "red lines" or state specific consequences for Iran's noncompliance replied, "We’re not setting deadlines.”
Netanyahu stated the next day, "Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel." It was also announced by the Israeli embassy that Obama had declined to meet with Netanyahu on his upcoming trip to the US.
The Obama Administration denied that this was a snub, stating it was due to scheduling problems.
That night Obama and Netanyahu spoke for an hour (parenthetically, while the Benghazi attack was occurring).
In an email from Thomas Nides the next day, September 12, 2012, he writes to Clinton, "Did u get the readout from Potus call with BB? I asked Tom to give it to u if u decide to call. I also spoke to Oren and was very clear." We have to wonder what Nides meant that he was "very clear," though Oren's description of a past conversation with Nides might give us some insight.
In Oren's book Ally he describes a previous meeting with Nides regarding the Palestinians. Nide yelled at Oren, “You don’t want the f - - - ing UN to collapse because of your f - - - ing conflict with the Palestinians, and you don’t want the f - - - ing Palestinian Authority to fall apart either.”
Oren replied that Israel did not want the UN to collapse, “But there are plenty of Tea Party types who would, and no shortage of Congress members who are wondering why they have to keep paying Palestinians who spit in the President’s eye.” Oren writes that Nides “slumped into his Louis XVth chair." On a separate occasion former US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman chastised Oren. We know from past news reports that Feltman summoned Ambassador Oren in August of 2009 and reprimanded him for Israel's "provocative" and "unacceptable" actions with regards to Sheikh Jarrah. Clinton at the same time also publicly criticized and slandered Israel's actions as "deeply regrettable," at a press conference with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, and accused Israel of hurting the chances for peace and breaking its commitments to the road map. In the released emails, we see that Feltman writes to Clinton describing his conversation with Oren.
He writes to her on August 3, 2009, "Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren called me today to complain about our comments today on the Jerusalem housing evictions. Saying that he was calling under instructions, he made comments on three basic themes: 1) The evictions of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah were purely a legal matter. These were illegal squatters. The case went all through the Israeli court system and was decided by the Supreme Court. This was not a provocation. If there was a provocation, it was when the illegal squatters stopped paying their rent. 2) Israel objects to the suggestion that this was a violation of the roadmap. Israel requests clarification of what part of the roadmap obligations the US believes were violated. 3) Israel rejects the suggestion that the timing was connected to the Fatah Party Congress. There is no connection." Feltman ends by telling Clinton, "I undertook to convey the demarche and made our response about how this really is unhelpful, especially at this time." In other words, Feltman's answer was that regardless of the strong points Oren made, Clinton and the Obama administration had the right to excoriate Israel because Israel's completely legal actions legal action were "unhelpful." That's it. No public retraction or admitting of wrongdoing. Just accusations and attacks from what is supposed to be Israel's closest ally.
Clinton would publicly attack Israel again in January of 2011 when Israel legally demolished a derelict, empty building to build twenty new apartments in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Clinton slandered the Jewish state during a visit to Abu Dhabi saying, "This disturbing development undermines peace efforts to achieve the two-state solution. In particular, this move contradicts the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties on the status of Jerusalem." Jim Steinberg was Clinton's Deputy Secretary of State. On March 17, 2010 Philippe Reines, one of Clinton's top advisors, sent an article to her from the Atlantic that quotes Reines as saying "Jim [Steinberg] has always been an integral part of the Secretary's team…" The article also mentions, " On Friday, he [Steinberg] is said to have given a tongue-lashing to the Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, about that country's actions during a visit by Vice President Biden." Michael Oren's book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, sheds light on this "tongue-lashing." The Obama administration was enraged by the announcement that 1600 homes were to be built in East Jerusalem neighborhoods that coincided with Joe Biden's visit to Israel.
When Oren arrived in DC he learned that, "Secretary of State Clinton has excoriated Netanyahu for 45 minutes over the phone, rebuking him for humiliating the president and undermining America’s ability to deal with pressing Middle East issues." Oren was then called in for an "immediate meeting" with Steinberg.
Oren writes that his approach would be "While I would continue to adhere publicly to the ‘all’s well’ [between the United States and Israel] pose, behind the scenes I would forcibly resist this attempt to fabricate a crisis." Oren continues, “There, waiting in his not-nice American mode, was Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg, who proceeded to read me the text of Hillary’s conversation with Netanyahu. This contained a list of demands, including a total building freeze in East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank, most of which would be unacceptable to any Israeli prime minister, much less a [right-leaning] Likudnik.”
Oren describes, “Steinberg added his own furious comment—department staffers, I later heard, listened in on our conversation and cheered—about Israel’s insult to the president and the pride of the United States.”
Oren did not mince words saying, “Let me get this straight. We inadvertently slight the vice president and apologize, and I become the first foreign ambassador summoned by this administration to the State Department.”
Oren added that the People of Israel will view this as "nothing but a pretext to arm-twist us and beat up on us.”
Such are the tales of how Israel’s leaders have faired under the Administration of President Obama.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 30 books, winner of The London Times Preacher of the Year Competition, and recipient of the American Jewish Press Association’s Highest Award for Excellence in Commentary. He will shortly publish The Israel Warrior’s Handbook.