I’m pleased to post this guest Article by Dr. Lawrence W White, a Bay Area physician, who has lectured on bioethics and writes regularly about the Jewish condition and the State of Israel (see < http://www.americanthinker.com/lawrence_w_white_md/ > ). Dr. White maintains an email community of interest among those of us who are deeply concerned abut the safety and future well being of Israel.
Jay B Gaskill
Attorney at Law
What Hath Obama Wrought?
By Lawrence W. White
“Israel has to prove it is committed to peace.”
Now let me get this straight. When Americans decide to build housing In Washington, other countries do not get involved. Ditto for London, Ottawa, Tehran. These are considered internal matters and not the occasion for responses from other nations. However, when Jews in Israel plan to construct housing in their own capitol, the Obami have a very public temper tantrum.
A disproportionate response?
As we all know, during VP Joe Biden’s recent visit, a poorly timed announcement was made regarding housing construction in East Jerusalem. Biden objected, Netanyahu apologized, and that should have been the end of it. Except that it was followed by harsh and inflammatory words that have no precedent in US-Israel relations. Indeed, no other nation has been the recipient of such language from the Obama administration.
What might be the goals of the US administration that would prompt such unusual tactics?
One goal might be to satisfy Arab entreaties.. Obama fails to understand the reality that Arab demands will only be satisfied if Israel disappears.
Might this event be used to intimidate the Prime Minister of Israel, who will fear loss of American support, and so go along with the Obama program for moving the “peace process” along? Not likely, given the consequent further erosion that has occurred in Obama’s reputation in Israel..
Another possible goal has been suggested by Jeffrey Goldberg in an article in today’s “Atlantic”. Goldberg makes the point that Obama is trying to push the Israelis toward a more leftist government, in the belief that such Israeli leadership will be more amenable to American pressure. He seems to think that Kadima and Tsipi Livni will be more likely to do his bidding. But a united Jerusalem is a position that comes as close as any to being unanimous in Israel. To expect that Obama’s anger would make Israelis give up their rights in Jerusalem, to revolt against Netanyahu, and install a more left-leaning government, is simply mistaken. Pushing on this particular issue will, in fact, solidify Netanyahu’s standing.
In his article, Goldberg refers to the Knesset members of Netanyahu’s coalition as “gangsters, messianists and medievalists”. Ami Isseroff has pointed out that in using this unfortunate language, he is parroting the views of David Axelrod and other Obama advisors, showing where his ideas are coming from. This exposes a major miscalculation by the Obama administration, but one which is continually put forth by J Street and other enemies of Israel.
The truth is that the so-called peace camp within Israel no longer has much influence, thanks to the recalcitrance of the Palestinians, and the gradual sinking in by Israeli citizens that additional concessions have not brought them closer to peace. Israel’s citizens have now been fully exposed to the dangers of the peace process. They realize that since Oslo, the process itself has paradoxically led to more, not less, violence, and made peace even more remote.
It should be clear to all, including Hillary Clinton, that Israel has repeatedly taken risks for peace For example, the government of Israel showed restraint despite months of rocket attacks by Hamas. And when she finally needed to act against Hamas to protect her citizens, she found that one consequence was that her leaders would be arrested as “war criminals” if they disembarked in London. These facts are not lost on Israelis, and given this history, it is unlikely that the left will be able to promise a greater hope of success.
Obama has never come close to using the crude language of the last few days in his dealings with the thugs in Iran, Syria, or Libya, or with the two factions of Palestinians, who conduct real acts of violence. With these, he claims to believe in diplomacy and engagement. Only in the case of Israel, does he use undiplomatic and incendiary language. This will not win him any points with Israelis or with her American friends.
Who is advising Obama? It is difficult to know how much his views on the Middle East preceded his election, and how much is the result of advice that he has received more recently. At present, he seems to be listening to persons who know little about the long conflict, persons such as David Axelrod, State Department Arabists, the wise men who believe that Israel-Palestinian peace is a key to solving all other problems in the Middle East, and of course the J Street crowd who promise Obama that “tough love” with Israel will be supported by a major part of the Jewish community
The events of recent days has had immediate results.
Within hours of the public denunciations of Israel, Palestinians were rioting in the streets of Jerusalem. Since this dressing down, Palestinian leaders have started the rumor that the Hurva Synagogue in the old city is infringing on the grounds of the Al Aqsa Mosque, and that the Jews are planning to destroy the Mosque There have been calls for Palestinians to come to Jerusalem to protect the Mosque. The rioting and violence will likely get worse. A third intifada has been hinted at.
With Obama being tough on Israel, any incentive the Palestinians may have had to negotiate in good faith has collapsed. In fact, the outburst by the Obami has encouraged the impossible and irrational demands of the Palestinians.Now they expect that Obama will act as their advocate, and do their negotiations for them. All Abbas needs to do is pound on the table, make demands, refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, and Obama reacts with anger. Anger against the source of the frustration? No, against Israel.
Secondly, Israelis will not feel comfortable taking risks for peace if they know that Obama is forcing them to accept something that has been proven not to work. They believe that they are being pushed to make “concessions” by people who do not accept any Jewish rights in Jerusalem. Many of those doing the leaning do not even accept the wisdom of the existence of a Jewish state. And they surely do not understand that Israelis are the ones who will need to live with the consequences of any decisions, not the members of J Street who think that they know better.
To hector Israel, as Hillary Clinton and David Axelrod have done over the past week, is to achieve the exact opposite of their goals. These are smart people. Yet they know little about the history of the Middle East conflict, and even less about the nature of Israeli society.
One can only wonder; what are they thinking? One can only conclude that they have bought into the nonsense of the J Street crowd and of the anti-Israel left. Secretary Clinton’s comment (see quote above) is right from the playbook of those folks who mindlessly put forth the idea that Israel is not committed to peace. The same nonsense has been picked up by Palestinian propagandists. It seems that Hillary should know better. That she does not is particularly worrisome.
Further, it is not lost on Israelis that while Obama has used crude tactics in his attempts to get his version of a peace agreement, he has continued to “engage” Iran, all during a critical period in which the Iranian nuclear capability is coming dangerously closer. Israelis are beginning to suspect that Obama is prepared to live with a nuclear Iran, something which Israel cannot do.
By his recent actions, Obama has achieved the worst possible result; a worsening of relations between Israel and the US, and at the same time, a worsening of the chances of achieving any kind of useful agreement with the Palestinians. Both have happened.
What to do now? There is much support for Israel among the American people and in Congress. It is important to get word to Obama that he is making things worse and that the prudent course is to lower the volume and stop directing his frustration at the party that has been most responsive. Hillary Clinton also needs to understand that her political future is tied less to approbation from Obama and more to acting in America’s best interest. Achieving an unwise deal solely in order to help Obama’s political future is not a substitute for rational policy making. And hectoring Israel not only undermines this but makes her appear to be a hypocrite vis a vis her prior statements of support for Israel.
It is useful to examine the statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding this matter.
“The State of Israel appreciates and esteems US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warm remarks regarding the deep bond between the United States and Israel and the US commitment to Israel’s security.
“Regarding the commitment to peace – In the past year, the Government of Israel has proven its commitment to peace in both word and deed, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s June 14, 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, the dismantling of hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, and the decision to suspend new construction starts in Judea and Samaria for ten months, which Secy. of State Clinton defined as “unprecedented.”
“By contrast, the Palestinians have raised preconditions for the resumption of the diplomatic process, such as they have not done in the past 16 years. They are waging an assault to delegitimize Israel in international institutions via the Goldstone report. They are also continuing to incite towards hatred and violence; included in this is the decision to dedicate a square in Ramallah after the woman terrorist responsible for murdering 38 Israelis.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu again calls on the Palestinians to enter into the tent of peace without preconditions because this is the only way to reach an agreement that will ensure peace, security and prosperity for both peoples.”
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