web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Let’s Not Overlook Hillary’s Role In Obama’s Approach To Israel

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The Washington Post trod over some familiar territory this past weekend with a 7,000-word retrospective on the Obama administration’s Middle East peace process misadventures.

The account strives to put President Obama in a favorable light. But even the most sympathetic narrative of this period must come to grips with the president’s blundering, most of which was rooted in his determination to distance the United States from Israel in a vain attempt to score points with the Arab world.

For the first three years of Obama’s presidency, Washington was focused on pressuring Israel, a policy that alienated the Jewish state but did nothing to nudge the Palestinians to make peace.

The Post’s lengthy rehashing of the president’s Middle East follies is part of the paper’s series of pieces evaluating the history of the last four years. It is worthwhile for the way it places in perspective the administration’s election-year Jewish charm offensive that has walked back some of the previous stands.

It also makes clear that while Obama deserves the lion’s share of the blame for the way he made a bad situation worse, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also ought to be held accountable for her role in the ongoing debacle. That’s a not unimportant point considering that Clinton was in Israel this week as part of an attempt on Obama’s part to smooth over relations.

Though the president’s surrogates continue to try to portray him as Israel’s best friend ever to sit in the White House, the Post provides a reminder for those who care to remember the truth that he arrived in office determined to put an end to the closeness between Israel and the United States that had developed during the Bush administration.

The Post describes a meeting with American Jewish leaders that took place in the wake of the June 2009 president’s speech to the Muslim world and his snub of Israel during his visit to the Middle East:

“If you want Israel to take risks, then its leaders must know that the United States is right next to them,” Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the president.Obama politely but firmly disagreed.

“Look at the past eight years,” he said, referring to the George W. Bush administration’s relationship with Israel. “During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.”

Obama not only didn’t understand what had happened under Bush when the U.S. attempted to force the Palestinian Authority to eschew terror and embrace democracy, he knew nothing about the way the Arab world regarded the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Rather than interpreting his kicking Israel under the bus as an invitation to compromise and make peace, it merely convinced them they could just sit back and let Obama hammer Israel. Even when Prime Minister Netanyahu acceded to Obama’s demand for a settlement freeze in the West Bank, not only did he receive little thanks from Washington, the Palestinians continued to refuse to negotiate, secure in the belief the president would do the dirty work for them.

The same thing happened in 2011 when Obama ambushed Netanyahu before he arrived in Washington for a visit by giving a speech in which he called for the 1967 lines to be the starting point for future negotiations over borders.

Obama had, “in a single morning changed decades of U.S. policy on how the negotiations would unfold on the final borders of Israel.” Though the president tilted the diplomatic playing field in their direction, the Palestinians still wouldn’t budge and instead sought a futile end run around U.S. diplomacy at the United Nations.

Just as interesting is the Post’s account of the way Clinton helped turn what should have been dismissed as a minor kerfuffle over the announcement of a new housing start in Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Biden into a major diplomatic incident.

Though Clinton is still viewed by many American Jews as a friend of Israel, her 45-minute lecture of Netanyahu in which she treated the building of homes in 40-year-old Jewish neighborhoods of Israel’s capital as an “insult” to the United States was, in its way, just as significant as Obama’s later speech on the 1967 lines.

Rather than moderating the desire of some in the administration to bash Israel, Clinton took a delicate situation and blew it up and in the process established a U.S. position on the status of Jerusalem that went further than any of Obama’s predecessors toward undermining Israel’s hold on its capital.

Though Obama’s Jewish surrogates are beating the bushes this year portraying the president as a stalwart friend of Israel, he began his presidency pursuing policies that won the applause of the left-wing J Street group and shocked the pro-Israel community.

In the last several months, those stands have been reversed, leaving J Street isolated as the president now eschews any talk of pressure on Israel or distancing the U.S. from the Jewish state.

Optimists will view this sea change in policy as a result of Obama learning the hard way that the Palestinians are not interested in peace. Less sanguine observers will merely point to the calendar and note that the president’s conversion to more conventional pro-Israel policies coincided with the start of his reelection campaign.

Those who believe he will stick to the stances he has taken this year if he is re-elected would do well to read the Post account and ask themselves whether their trust is warranted.

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

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.

One Response to “Let’s Not Overlook Hillary’s Role In Obama’s Approach To Israel”

  1. Adam Schmidt says:

    She’s an Arab-Loving piece of ****…..any questions?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
President Obama overlaid against photo of Jonathan Pollard.
The Hidden Reason the United States Won’t Release Pollard.
Latest Indepth Stories
Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Chaim Koren presents his credentials to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, at the presidential palace in Cairo.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

Looters in Ferguson wore masks to avoid being identified -- but the kafiyehs worn by some provided a clue to possible identities.

Cries of justice for Michael Brown drowned out any call for justice for Police Officer Daryl Wilson.

got your back

Cloistered captain Obama, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt Bibi,his besieged ally

Former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly said, “the fate of Netzarim (Gush Katif) is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

“What’s a line between friends?”

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

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/lets-not-overlook-hillarys-role-in-obamas-approach-to-israel/2012/07/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: