Friday, December 09, 2011

Obama Administration unreliability

Representatives of the Obama Administration spoke out last week on matters of international importance and in three cases their views sounded very tenuous, bordering on the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

The US Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, a Jew and the son of Holocaust survivors, in a speech at a conference on anti-Semitism, distinguished between "traditional" anti-Semitism and that stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said that progress in the peace process "would lead to a huge reduction of this form of labeled ‘anti-Semitism’ in Europe." Now this is precisely what the enemies of Israel have been saying for some time, its not that they are actually anti-Semitic, they really have nothing against Jews per se, but if Israel made concessions to the Palestinians and then made peace then all other problems, including supposed anti-Semitism would be resolved. This is a dangerous and perverted viewpoint that shows to what extent some well-meaning, liberal-minded Jews have accepted this canard, that anti-Semitism is due to Israel's policies and not the bias of the racists.

US Secty of State Hillary Clinton speaking at the Brooking's Institution Saban Forum in Washington, criticized Israel, specifically mentioning Knesset bills limiting funding for NGOs and the exclusion of women in the public sphere, as exemplified by gender separation on buses serving the haredi community and the controversy over women singing in public. While these have been considered relatively minor domestic issues in Israel, Clinton. by comparing the treatment of women in Israel with that in Iran, completely over-stepped the mark and exposed herself once again as an unreliable ally of Israel, who speaks out of both sides of her mouth depending on her audience. She has never publicly voiced her concern over the far more severe mistreatment of women in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. This is typical of the Obama Administration, that claims to be a strong ally of Israel but criticizes Israel before the Arab and Muslim world.

Secty of Defense Leon Panetta, also at the Saban Center think tank in Washington, said Israel must repair its relations with regional partners such as Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, thus putting the onus on Israel, and he criticized Israel specifically for the lack of progress in the so-called peace process with the Palestinians. He said in very undiplomatic language that Israel must return to the "damned table," not mentioning that the Palestinian side is stalling and has refused to negotiate, making several pre-conditions including a complete cessation of Israeli building on the West Bank, while PM Netanyahu has called for a return to negotiations numerous times without pre-conditions. This one-sided and unjustified criticism of Israel is typical of the Obama Administration. The fear is that if Obama were to be reelected for a second term, his evident animus towards Israel would once again come to the fore.

Meanwhile the Republican candidates are making the most of this apparent lack of solid Obama Administration support for Israel. Mitt Romney announced at the Republican Jewish Convention that if he is elected President his first foreign visit will be to Israel. Newt Gingrich has commited to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in his Adminstration and possibly releasing Jonathan Pollard, and he and other candidates have said that they will cooperate with Israel in making sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon that could threaten Israel, US forces in the Middle East and the Arab allies of the US. Certainly they hope to attract American Jewish voters to their side and away from their traditional Democratic support. How successful the eventual Republican candidate is in this goal could determine the outcome of the next Presidential election.


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