Latest update: May 10th, 2013
“Mark my words,” Vice President Joe Biden told donors a few months before the election. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama…. We’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s going to need help … to stand with him. Because it’s not going to be apparent initially; it’s not going to be apparent that we’re right.”
One could easily have said the same thing about American Jews and their relationship with Israel. It is being severely tested. As it turns out, Israel is the focus of U.S. pressure and bullying. The threat to peace in the Middle East, says our current administration, emanates not from Hamas, Hizbullah, jihad or Arab nationalism, but from Israel.
The U.S. is casting Israel in the classic Jewish role of scapegoat, blaming it for all the region’s problems.
President Obama has embraced the State Department’s historical negativity toward Israel and, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading the way, is making demands about Israeli “settlements” that are harsh and uncompromising.
At the same time, the State Department ignores Arab illegal construction that is occurring on a much wider and broader scale. State conveniently ignores the fact that if land were truly the issue, Israel and its Arab neighbors would have been at peace for the last 60 years.
Even though State has always been biased against Israel, it has never had a presidency to work with that was in such complete consonance with its views as the Obama administration is today.
The resulting bullying of Israel by the U.S. is without parallel in American-Israeli relations.
Just recently an undersecretary of defense unilaterally discussed Israel’s nuclear capability, thus breaking a longstanding U.S.-Israeli agreement to publicly avoid discussion of this topic.
The Defense Department is tampering with previously agreed-upon arms deals by denying Israel the right to make adaptations on equipment that Israel deems essential. At the same time, Egypt is being offered top of the line attack helicopters from a defense department that knows Egypt’s only potential adversary for these weapons is Israel.
Meanwhile, General (ret.) Keith Dayton is training and arming a 5,000-man Fatah security force designed to secure a Palestinian state on land Israel has not yet ceded. At the UN, Susan Rice is changing U.S. policy from one of support to belligerence.
General James Jones, the president’s national security adviser, has touted presidential adviser Samantha Power’s suggestion that an armed international force including American soldiers enter Judea and Samaria to force the Israelis to make a Palestinian state happen.
Meanwhile, George Mitchell, the special envoy to the area, is picking apart previous agreements and telling Israel to conform to his selected conditions while ignoring the obligations to which Palestinians were supposed to have been bound. All of this as Fatah and Hamas fight running battles on West Bank streets.
The U.S. media note all this pressure and gleefully speculate whether it will eventually topple the recently elected Netanyahu government. Mahmoud Abbas, the nominal head of Fatah, says he is waiting for this to happen before he seriously considers negotiations. He is hoping the U.S. can get him everything he wants before he even sits down with the Israelis.
Obama pointedly omitted Israel from his recent Mideast itinerary. His meeting with Netanyahu in Washington attempted to link progress on the “peace process” and the establishment of a Palestinian state with any meaningful U.S. efforts to forestall the threat of a nuclear Iran.
And where are American Jews during all of this?
It seems they are still divided along pre-election lines. The large Jewish organizations slavishly repeat the simplistic two-state solution mantra and provide little leadership or guidance through the myriad of issues that have to be faced before a Palestinian state is feasible.
As individuals, most Jews who voted for Obama last November are content to ignore Israel’s agony in the face of U.S. pressure because they still trust the president on other issues. They ignore the threats to Israel’s safety and security and are blind to America’s infringing on Israel’s sovereignty as a free and democratic nation.
Not coincidently, Soros-funded groups have popped up promoting the scurrilous conclusions of the infamous Walt-Mearsheimer report which was rife with accusations of Jewish-Americans’ dual loyalty and Israel’s culpability for every ill in the Middle East.
If this continues – and there’s little to indicate it won’t – Jews will have to make painful and difficult choices between their support for Israel and their preference for other policies of this administration. This choosing will play out during the 2010 congressional elections. The president is leaving them little room to maneuver.
Without a strong American Jewish voice in support of Israel, much is at risk. The solid coalition for Israel in Congress is in the process of weakening as Democrats continue to find the pressures from Rahm Emanuel and others difficult to resist.
If Jews go silent now and allow apathy, fear or political preference to prevent them from speaking up for Israel, the bullying will increase and the worst and most deadly outcomes will become real possibilities.N. Richard Greenfield
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