web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Obama’s Poorly Timed Visit

While such a visit would resolve previous criticism that Obama never visited Israel as president, it is a mistake, especially given the timing, for a number of reasons.
F080723MF14

Photo Credit: Michal Fattal/Flash90

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

President Barack Obama will visit Israel, the “West Bank,” and Jordan in the spring. I’m not against this visit but I think it is a mistake on Obama’s part. Here’s why.

While such a visit would resolve previous criticism that Obama never visited Israel as president, it is a mistake, especially given the timing, for a number of reasons.

Obama will have a new foreign policy team which won’t have much time to evaluate the situation and what it wants to do. It has just been announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit these places in the spring. Usually the way it would be handled would be to let Kerry go and then evaluate if there was a good basis for a presidential visit.

Presidential visits are supposed to mark achievements or to make achievements possible. A visit that does neither would be perceived as a failure and Obama would look bad. The “peace process” is going nowhere and Obama’s going will not jump start it at all. Afterward, people will be asking: Wasn’t this a policy failure?

The timing is dangerous because it appears to reward the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) after having gone against U.S. policy by asking the U.N. to give it recognition as a state.

No matter whether some people (albeit fewer than ever) believe in “linkage” (that is, “solving” the Israel-Palestinian conflict will benefit U.S. interests in the region and make Arabs and Muslims like it more), the visit would have no such positive effect. Arabs and Muslims would be indifferent or see it as a pro-Israel move (no matter what Obama actually says); Islamists will portray it as a conspiracy that proves how evil is America and Obama. Imagine what Hamas and the Egyptian government’s leaders and media will say.

Perhaps most problematic of all, the P.A. will turn a visit into a minefield for Obama, designing every detail to make it seem the president is visiting (and acknowledging) an independent Palestine. There will be the flag, the honor guard, the playing of the national anthem, the use of the term “Palestine” (rather than Palestinian Authority—what was agreed on at Oslo—or Palestinian National Authority—the term favored by the P.A.’s leadership). Whatever Obama says, no matter how much it might outrage Israel and its supporters, will be deemed insufficient for the Palestinians.

And no matter how much Obama talks of restarting negotiations or pushing for Israeli unilateral concessions, the P.A. won’t do it—as they refused to do in his first term–so he will look foolish. Then Obama will either blame both sides equally or just Israel. This gets him nowhere.

(The likely Israeli coalition is not going to be to Obama’s liking, so watch for his intense frown in the photographs).

I can see there being a speech at the Israeli Knesset and at the P.A.’s parliament and can imagine how every line will go. It might be perfectly fine but nothing new and no one in the region will take it seriously. I guess it will be good for domestic consumption as Obama the peacemaker but will this do anything useful for him politically or for U.S. interests?

As for Jordan, is Obama going to preach the glories of the “Arab Spring” to a country whose monarchy has been America’s most consistently faithful Arab ally and fears being overthrown by a similar movement which would only turn the country over to the Muslim Brotherhood and almost certainly lead to its embroilment in still another war against Israel?

Satirical Content: If this part offends you please don’t read it and just focus on my serious analysis and forgive me for saying a few things that are NOT part of my serious political analysis:

–Will Obama go to the Arafat museum to balance a visit to Yad ve-Shem (the Holocaust Museum in Israel) since he would then be both commemorating the last Holocaust and the man who tried to implement the next one?

–Will he lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Terrorist?

–Certain mass media outlets will run stories that since some friendly Israelis will line his route with nice signs (for example, We Love You, Barack!) that they like Barack more than Bibi and agree that he knows Israel’s interests better than its own leaders.

–There is a huge potential for terrible factual mistakes and turns of phrase by Obama that will go down in history. For example, will he say Jerusalem or al-Quds or both? Will he mention the pre-1967 boundaries? Will he speak publicly about Iran’s nuclear threat?

OF COURSE, Obama’s main goal will be to—borrowing a President Bill Clinton phrase—feel both sides pain and cajole them to make peace so that everyone will live happily ever after. This is a noble sentiment but one that’s a bit tired after fruitlessly being mouthed for a half-century.

Speaking of Clinton, let’s remember that on his main presidential visit he told the Palestine National Council to revise its National Covenant (which called for armed struggle and wiping Israel off the map), since that was one of its commitments under the Oslo agreement. They listened to him and then just pretended very cynically to revoke it but didn’t.

Of course, if nobody reports such things then the president doesn’t look bad so perhaps that’s the way an Obama visit will turn out.Note: last June I wrote, asking why Obama wasn’t visiting Israel before the election. At that time we didn’t know he would have a second term. In the article I made three points: he doesn’t like Israel; he feared a poor reception, and he was concerned it would undo his attempt to win support from Arabs and Muslims by distancing himself from Israel. I think all three points still are valid but presumably have been overcome by the following:

He still doesn’t like Israel but figures he has to come once during eight years and perhaps he honestly believes he can appeal to Israel’s people over the heads of its government, having said that he knows what’s best for Israel rather than do its elected representatives;

He also feels he has won enough credibility with Arabs and Muslims (as the “patron” of the Arab Spring and the man to whom the Muslim Brotherhood owes so much), and he’s been reelected so who cares if he is booed a bit. Besides, faced with four more years of Obama the Israeli leadership will be extra careful to try to keep him from being unhappy.

In short, I don’t think my past analysis was wrong, especially because my point was to ask why he didn’t go at a time when it would presumably have benefited him politically. Now he’s going at a time when it might damage the credibility of his policy.

Originally published at Rubin Reports, under the title “Breaking News: President Obama to Visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan this Spring.”

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

7 Responses to “Obama’s Poorly Timed Visit”

  1. Redhotchilli Pepper says:

    Keep the Festival of unleavened bread close to your heart and may your Passover be a blessing to God. Fast and Pray before a visit from a stranger.

  2. Ralph Konrad says:

    I'm not Jewish but I do detest Obama. Any visit to Israel is aimed at a political end for him. He has no liking whatsoever for Israel, and may, in fact, be in total accord with those who wish to destroy it. He has inferred that feeling in many ways, and I think, not 100% consciously. I think Israel should make it very clear that neither Kerry, who is a traitor to the USA, nor Obama is welcome there and they should avoid a visit.

  3. Ralph Konrad says:

    I'm not Jewish but I do detest Obama. Any visit to Israel is aimed at a political end for him. He has no liking whatsoever for Israel, and may, in fact, be in total accord with those who wish to destroy it. He has inferred that feeling in many ways, and I think, not 100% consciously. I think Israel should make it very clear that neither Kerry, who is a traitor to the USA, nor Obama is welcome there and they should avoid a visit.

  4. Ralph Konrad says:

    I'm not Jewish but I do detest Obama. Any visit to Israel is aimed at a political end for him. He has no liking whatsoever for Israel, and may, in fact, be in total accord with those who wish to destroy it. He has inferred that feeling in many ways, and I think, not 100% consciously. I think Israel should make it very clear that neither Kerry, who is a traitor to the USA, nor Obama is welcome there and they should avoid a visit.

  5. Ralph Konrad says:

    I'm not Jewish but I do detest Obama. Any visit to Israel is aimed at a political end for him. He has no liking whatsoever for Israel, and may, in fact, be in total accord with those who wish to destroy it. He has inferred that feeling in many ways, and I think, not 100% consciously. I think Israel should make it very clear that neither Kerry, who is a traitor to the USA, nor Obama is welcome there and they should avoid a visit.

  6. Ralph Konrad says:

    I'm not Jewish but I do detest Obama. Any visit to Israel is aimed at a political end for him. He has no liking whatsoever for Israel, and may, in fact, be in total accord with those who wish to destroy it. He has inferred that feeling in many ways, and I think, not 100% consciously. I think Israel should make it very clear that neither Kerry, who is a traitor to the USA, nor Obama is welcome there and they should avoid a visit.

  7. Just the opposite is true. This must be a positive public relations maneuver. Friendly gestures are needed .

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Shimon Peres and Tony Blair shake hands in Jerusalem.
Tony Blair Steps Down as Quartet Middle East Envoy but No One Cares
Latest Indepth Stories
SADNA

{Guest columnist Sarah Manning) Jenny and Sima Solomon are joining with women from all over Israel to swim across the Kinneret to raise funds for Sadnat-Shiluv, a unique program of empowerment for young adults with special needs. Hundreds of religious women are expected to gather on the Kinneret shore for the annual Swim4Sadna women-only sponsored-swim […]

Robert Wistrich (z"l)

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

J-Street

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/obamas-poorly-timed-visit/2013/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: