web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Clinton And Panetta Put Israel In The Cross Hairs


Both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta raised some eyebrows last week in their addresses at the Saban Forum in Washington.

 

Speaking to a closed session , Secretary Clinton spent most of her time talking about Iran’s nuclear program and the need for Israel and the Palestinians to go back to negotiating their differences. But in her final three minutes – responding to the question “What does Israel need to do in order to help the U.S. help it?” – she seemed to question whether the U.S. and Israel actually share democratic values.

 

In her response she said she was astonished by certain legislative proposals in Israel that would restrict left-wing NGOs, as well as by restrictions placed on women in certain public facilities and the military. She said that at a time when the U.S. is trying to get countries around the world to develop their civil organizations and structures and facilitate greater participation in public affairs, Israel seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

 

She noted that the day before she had read an article in the Washington Post called “In Israel, Women’s Rights Come Under Siege,” which described IDF religious soldiers boycotting events in which women singers performed as well as the segregation of women on some bus routes.

 

She even claimed to have been reminded of Rosa Parks, the black woman whose refusal to move to the back of the bus in the Jim Crow South sparked the U.S. civil rights movement.

 

The secretary also said the boycott of  female IDF singers reminded  her of Iran and other extremist regimes.

 

Whether or not Secretary Clinton really believes everything she said, it was outrageous that the U.S. secretary of state would make any analogy between Israel’s vibrant democracy and the U.S. in one of its darkest and  most lamentable  hours, or to even imply any similarity between the Israeli government and the murderous thugs in control of certain countries who rule by terror and violent suppression of dissent.

 

There is no national agenda in Israel to suppress free speech. But no modern country fails to regulate foreign influences on its body politic and even domestic activities thought to create a clear and present danger to its security. Indeed, that debate is going full force raging in the United States. And Israel, of course, does not have the margin for error the U.S. enjoys.

 

Are members of Israeli NGOs denied the right to vote? Are they prevented from running for office? Can Secretary Clinton be serious when she says she sees parallels between Israel and extremist regimes? Does Israel jail or “disappear” dissidents? Does it practice torture in order to persuade its citizens of the error of their ways?

 

Can anyone say Israel does not have as robust a free press as can be found anywhere in the world? Would anyone in his or her right mind even remotely equate the rights of free speech and press in Israel with what now obtains in any country in the Arab world or what will likely obtain for decades despite U.S. efforts to nurture civil freedoms in some of those countries?

 

Are women an oppressed minority in Israel? Are they denied the right to vote, run for office or enter the professions? Does the fact that, in a handful of predominantly religious neighborhoods, efforts are made to accommodate the religious desire of men and women to sit separately on public transport mean Israeli women are the equivalent of blacks in the old Deep South? Or to hapless women in Arab countries who are imprisoned or put to death for the crime of having been raped or who cannot vote or drive or even go out in public without being accompanied by a male relative?

 

Is an effort to accommodate IDF personnel who adhere to religious prohibitions concerning males listening to female voices a bow to extremism? Is anyone saying women IDF members should not be allowed to sing? Is it appropriate to criticize the haredi community for not encouraging their young to join  the military and at the same time condemn any efforts to allow the accommodation of their religious needs?

 

To be sure, over time there will doubtless be some fine tuning on both sides  regarding the NGO controversy and women’s issues in Israel. It is a democracy and that’s how things get done in a free system. And Secretary Clinton knows that full well.

 

So the overriding question for us is what exactly was the secretary of state talking about? More important, was there a message the Obama administration wanted her to put out there?

 

Secretary Panetta’s remarks were equally remarkable. What got most public attention was his admonition to Israel that Israel must now take “bold action”:

 

Ultimately, the dream of a secure, prosperous Jewish democratic Israel can only be achieved through two states living side by side in peace and security. With full confidence that the United States is willing and capable of ensuring that Israel can safeguard its security as it takes the risks needed to pursue peace, now is the time for Israel to take bold action and to move towards a negotiated two-state solution.

 

Nothing new there. But when asked what Israel must do right away, Secretary Panetta replied, “Get to the damn table.” This remark made headlines because it suggests he believes that whether negotiations get restarted is something entirely within Israel’s control.

 

Referring to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, he went on to call on Israel “to reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability.”

 

One wonders what part of Israel’s offers to return unconditionally to talks with the Palestinians Mr. Panetta missed. Or whether Israel really can do anything to repair ties with a Turkey that aggressively seeks to ascend to leadership in the Muslim world or with an Egypt in the throes of violent upheaval or with a Jordan afraid to buck the Arab hostility toward Israel.

 

But it was Mr. Panetta’s remarks on Iran that were most disturbing. He started by noting that “No greater threat exists to the security and prosperity of the Middle East than a nuclear-armed Iran” and that a “pillar of our approach to the region is our determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.” He described it as “a ‘redline’ for the United States.” He went on to note “when it comes to the threat posed by Iran, the president has made it very clear that we have not taken any options off the table.”

 

Yet he also went to some length to describe the downsides to possible military action. In reading his caveats – including concerns about logistics, cost to Western economies in the throes of an economic crisis, Iranian military reaction around the world, the probability that the effect would be only transitory – one gets the distinct notion that Mr. Panetta was in fact removing a military strike as an option.

 

The Clinton/Panetta monologues left us wondering why key officials of an administration that lately had gone out of its way to burnish its pro-Israel credentials suddenly seemed to have Israel once more in the cross hairs.

About the Author:


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.

No Responses to “Clinton And Panetta Put Israel In The Cross Hairs”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jordan's King Abdullah II, a licensed helicopter pilot, is rumored to have personally taken part in air strikes against ISIS.
Jordanian King Warns Global Battle With ISIS Has Launched World War III
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressing Congress.

Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.

Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem, founded by Yemenite Jews in 1881

Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.

Hur and Aharon holding up Moshe's hands as Joshua battled Amalek.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt-how undeterred by fear of G-d”

Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them

Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.

The University of Georgia Student Government Association called for more investment in Israel.

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

More Articles from Editorial Board

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

Gone are the days when an anchorman sitting in a New York studio could, after sharing 22 minutes of carefully selected and edited news items, trumpet in stentorian tones, “And that’s the way it is.” No it wasn’t. It never was.

President Obama has frequently cautioned that Americans should take great care to avoid fomenting anti-Muslim passions in our reaction to the murderous activities regularly being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam. One wonders why, though, he seems to have no concern with the potential for anti-Semitic fallout from his full-court press against Israeli […]

Typical of the administration’s milquetoast approach is the lack of any call for a substantial increase in military resources in order to crush ISIL, only a tepid mention of the need to “ultimately defeat” it.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

According to Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, France was the largest source of Jewish emigration to Israel last year and he believes as many as 15,000 French Jews may make aliyah in 2015.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/clinton-and-panetta-put-israel-in-the-cross-hairs/2011/12/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: