web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

How Pro-Israel Is Obama?


For the past two years the hottest debate in the pro-Israel community has been over how to assess the Obama administration. Despite the tense relationship with the Israeli government, the fights picked over building in Jerusalem and the pressure for a settlement freeze, there has been a considerable body of opinion that still insisted Obama had basically changed nothing in the Israel-U.S. relationship.

Even most of those who took this position would concede that the atmospherics between Washington and Jerusalem were considerably worse than they were during the Bush administration. But they argued that when one looked coldly at the facts about the alliance, nothing had been altered.

At the very least, they would contend, Obama was no worse than Bush or any other president, since no American leader had ever fully accepted Israel’s positions on territory, settlements or borders.

Their strongest argument consisted of citing the close cooperation that has continued to exist between the U.S. Defense Department and the Israel Defense Forces. And on this point they are right, though for that to change it would have taken an overt and gratuitous effort by the White House that Obama has not made. So while he deserves credit for maintaining the close defense ties between the two allies, it is mainly for having the sense (both strategic and political) to have not tried to mess it up. Advertisement

On the surface, the veto cast last week by the United States in the UN Security Council ought to be considered more proof of Obama’s steadfastness as a friend of Israel. When all was said and done, he followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and refused to allow the UN body to brand Israel a criminal lawbreaker.

That this veto took place after an American effort to head off a vote – by proposing a “statement” by the president of Security Council rather than a formal resolution – was rejected by the Palestinians was testimony to the latter’s intransigence and not to Obama’s loyalty to his Israeli ally.

And the unnecessary explanation given after the vote that branded the Jewish state’s position on the issue of settlements as “illegitimate,” and that claimed they “threatened” peace and “devastate” trust, undermined any notion of U.S. support for Israel.

Obama apologists could argue that opposition to settlements isn’t new. But the talk of the “illegitimacy” of the homes of not only the more than quarter million Israelis who live in the West Bank but of the more than 200,000 who live in the parts of Jerusalem that were illegally occupied by Jordan between 1949 and 1967 is something different.

As with the fight Obama picked in the spring of 2010 over building houses in an existing Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, this statement escalates a longstanding disagreement into a more serious dispute. Obama’s attempt to erase the distinction between remote settlements Israel has said it would give up in a peace accord and those the Bush administration conceded in 2004 were established facts that must be respected was one thing. But Obama’s willingness to treat 40-year-old Jewish neighborhoods in Israel’s ancient capital as illegal settlements was quite another.

Agreeing with those who wrongly claim all the settlements are illegal (as opposed to unwise or worthy of surrender for the sake of peace) was bad enough. But the American declaration last Friday (repeated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on ABC News on Sunday) that the Jewish presence there was “illegitimate” again places the issue in a different light.

Things could be worse. Had the U.S. not vetoed the resolution it would have been the final signal that this administration really was determined to cut loose the Israelis. But by showing that the veto was cast reluctantly and with ill will, the effect is not much different.

So while relations could still deteriorate further, there is no doubt Obama’s negative feelings toward Israel are becoming a serious factor in Middle East diplomacy, making the already poor chances for peace worse and increasing the possibility that Israel’s foes will conclude that the Jewish state cannot count on U.S. support if new fighting breaks out along the border with Gaza or Lebanon.

The work of Obama’s pro-Israel apologists has just gotten more difficult. One suspects that by the time he leaves office, it will have gotten harder still.

Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of Commentary and a contributor to the magazine’s Contentions blog, where this originally appeared.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


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 “How Pro-Israel Is Obama?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
PM Binyamin Netanyahu lights Hanukkah candles in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu Warns Israel ‘Will Not Allow’ PA’s UN Resolution to Endanger Israelis
Latest Indepth Stories

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

Joseph Berger 
(Photo: James Estrin)

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

Israel and the strengthening of the Jewish people in faith and numbers has brought a growing light

“Can you hear what the dead are whispering? Leave Galut, escape to Eretz Israel-Lech lecha!”

3 main messages emerged from this conference: Communications, Community, and Collaboration.

In his short time with the shul, he has managed to activate a Hebrew school with now over 50 children and five teachers.

Recent headlines show escalation of the same attitudes and actions as existed during the Holocaust

The Mid-East conflict is a unidirectional campaign of Arabs murdering Jews, not the inverse.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem at the President's Residence, February 2014 (archive)

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

Bomb Shelter

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.

Palestinian leaders claim the kidnapping is an Israeli hoax or the act of Jewish criminals rather than terrorists.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/how-pro-israel-is-obama/2011/02/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: