Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who campaigned for President Obama in 2008, slammed the U.S. leader’s recent treatment of Israel as “outrageous” and “hostile,” declaring he is “close” to “getting off the Obama train.”
Koch’s sentiments are significant. The former politician has long been an indicator of American Jewish liberal sentiment regarding U.S. presidents and Israel.
In a WABC radio interview with this reporter, Koch said, “I think it’s outrageous what he has done,” referring to Obama, who Koch said has called for Jews not to “build apartments anywhere they want to and can afford to in their own land in Jerusalem.”
“It’s clear that Netanyahu was treated so terribly at the White House,” he said. “It is just rude what they did to him…. I am extremely distressed with the attitude that the president has shown Israel. I consider it to be hostility.”
“I am really terrified at what is happening and I would urge Jews and Christians who support Israel to stand up and speak out,” Koch added.
“We must never again go back to the ’30s, when Jews were afraid to speak out here in the United States because they would be treated as disloyal, unpatriotic, dual loyalty and they deserted,” Koch said.
“We should insist that [Obama] treat our ally as an ally, that he not throw Israel under the bus,” he said.
When asked if he is deserting Obama, Koch declared, “I am not yet off the train, but, let me tell you, I am close to it.”
U.S. Watching Like Hawks
In recent weeks, the Obama administration has stepped up its monitoring of Jewish construction projects in eastern Jerusalem and is protesting to the highest levels of the Israeli government even small building or improvement projects, this column has learned.
Obama is calling for Israel to halt all Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem for four months as a confidence-building gesture to start talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already placed a freeze on building projects in the strategic West Bank as a confidence-building gesture.
Thiscolumn previously reported that Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, oversaw the establishment of an enhanced apparatus based in the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that closely monitors West Bank and eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and regularly tours the area.
According to both Israeli and PA sources, the consulate apparatus has stepped up its monitoring of Jewish housing in eastern Jerusalem. The Israeli sources said the U.S. government is protesting to Netanyahu’s office any sign of Jewish building, such as the sight of a bulldozer in Maale Adumim, an eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood.
Previously, under the Bush administration, the consulate kept a general eye on Jewish Jerusalem and West Bank construction, relying on nongovernmental organizations for much of the information.
Hamas Rockets Traveling
Further And Further
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip told this column they test-fired a rocket two weeks ago capable of traveling 31 miles, putting Israel’s nuclear plant within reach.
If their claim is correct, it would mark a major and dangerous escalation of Palestinian rocketing capabilities.
Members of the Islamic Jihad group said they launched a rocket two weeks ago from the northern Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Israeli town of Ashdod. The jihadists said they fired the rocket into the sea intentionally to test its range.
The Islamic Jihad members claimed the rocket traveled 50 kilometers, or 31 miles. Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant is about 50 kilometers from Gaza.
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces would only confirm that a rocket landed in the sea two weeks ago but would not comment on the distance the rocket traveled.
Hamas is known to possess 122 mm Katyusha rockets, which have a range of about 18 miles, and has fired improved 122 mm Katyusha’s, with ranges of up to 30 miles. The Egyptian intelligence official said Hamas may be saving larger, 220 mm rockets, with ranges in the vicinity of 44 miles, which would place both Dimona and Tel Aviv within range.
Israeli officials say Hamas is thought to have also acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fajr-3 missiles with an even longer range.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 77-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.