Obama Knows Best? (I)
I marvel at the liberties President Obama takes when it comes to Israel (“Obama: ‘Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Own Best Interests Are,’ ” front page news story, Jan. 18).
He publicly embarrasses Prime Minister Netanyahu by walking out of a meeting with him to join his family for a meal. He makes a public declaration on Israel’s borders without first informing Israel’s government. He uses a photo opportunity to scowl at Netanyahu. Most recently he is quoted as saying that Israel doesn’t know its own best interests (but he does, of course).
I am afraid this lack of respect will ultimately be played out in a serious way despite all of the outward military support Obama has given Israel.
Los Angeles, CA
Obama Knows Best? (II)
I am really not surprised by President Obama’s seemingly insulting comment about Israel not knowing what its best interests are. He has said so in different ways since he was elected.
But we should keep in mind that at least half of Israel disagrees to one extent or another with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies and many if not most American Jews would agree with the president.
Therefore it ill behooves those of us on the right to mindlessly label Obama an anti-Semite or anti-Israel, as all too many of us are wont to do.
Bibi Knows Best?
As an Orthodox Jew who doesn’t feel the Torah would have us kowtow to a secular political opportunist like Bibi Netanyahu, it angers and frustrates me when so many sincerely observant Jews look to him as some sort of earthly savior.
I don’t know how well he’ll do in this week’s election, but it’s an unfortunate situation that in all of Israel the best the right and the national religious segments of the population can do is someone like Netanyahu.
Recall, please, that it was Netanyahu who gave up Hebron during his first go-round as prime minister and who was revealed to have been putting out feelers to the late Hafez Assad about giving back the Golan to Syria (using the U.S. Jewish leader Ronald Lauder as an interlocutor).
And it was Netanyahu who chose not to leave Ariel Sharon’s government in protest of the Gaza expulsion until almost the eve of the disengagement. In sharp contrast, Natan Sharansky had resigned months before over that very issue.
Finally, Netanyahu enraged Israeli rightists in May 2011 when he said Israelis should prepare for the eventuality of painful concessions in any agreement with the Palestinians. It was later that week that Obama made his speech about Israel returning to the June 1967 lines with land swaps, and Bibi seized the opportunity to deflect the criticism of his own remarks about concessions by lacing into Obama. And it worked – suddenly Bibi’s speech was forgotten as everyone focused on Obama’s words.
Tamp Down The Bickering
Re last week’s editorial on “The President and Gun Control”:
I am not one of those critics who believes Obama is a closet Muslim seeking to upend the American way of life. I think he is sincere in wanting to help and protect the less fortunate among us and revise public policy such as gun control and immigration accordingly, but is frustrated by the impediments to change he sees as being built into our system.
I am not suggesting we embrace a benevolent despot. But I do think we should understand where he is coming from and maybe tamp down the horrendous and counterproductive bickering in Washington.
Fears Change In U.S. Policy
I found last week’s op-ed columns on President Obama’s nominees for secretary of state and secretary of defense (“Beware Kerry’s Bad Case of Vietnam Syndrome” and “Obama’s Nominees Harmful to Israel, Soft on Terrorists”) very disturbing. It’s obvious that Obama is installing in those positions most likely to affect Israel individuals who strongly believe Israel has basically gotten a free ride over the years from America and that now there will be real change.
I fear the close relationship between the United States and Israel that has been nurtured over the years even by presidents critical of Israel will change drastically.