web analytics
April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Responses to US Administration Comments on Israel

By:
President Barack Obama

Photo Credit: White House

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman each sparked controversy—independently of the others—with recent comments related to Israel and the Jewish people.

The trifecta of statements, all appearing within the space of a few days last week, has spurred a large-scale debate among American Jews and Jewish organizations, many of whom are doubting the Obama administration’s support for Israel.

Clinton called Israeli democracy to task, raising concerns about two bills that could restrict foreign funding of non-profit organizations. Panetta urged Israel to get back to the “damn negotiating table” and pull itself out of its growing isolation in the region. Gutman said that Muslim hatred for Jews stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be construed as anti-Semitism.

Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense for Democracies told the Washington Post that the U.S. is pressuring Israel because it knows it can’t get results from the Palestinians, particularly from Palestinian Authority (expired-term) President Mahmoud Abbas. At the Dec. 7 Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Presidential Candidates Forum, Newt Gingrich called to reprimand Panetta and expressed shock that Clinton would “talk about discrimination against women in Israel, and then meet with Saudis.”

“This one-sided continuing pressure that says it’s always Israel’s fault, no matter how bad the other side is, has to stop,” Gingrich said.

“Panetta is a fine domestic politician, but his speech was outrageous,” he said. “How about saying to Hamas, give up violence and come to the table?”

Responding to Gingrich’s comments, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told ABC News that the U.S. has an unquestionable commitment to Israel and that Panetta “was simply noting in part of his speech that we should foster greater dialogue with the countries in the region and that Israel needs to do its part. It’s as simple as that.”

Clinton also weighed in on the ongoing controversies regarding gender segregation on several Jerusalem buses, and the demands by some Israeli rabbis that religious army troops not be forced to watch performing women. Clinton said these developments are “reminiscent of Rosa Parks.”

Israeli officials had mixed reactions to the Secretary of State’s remarks. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Clinton’s comments should serve as a wake-up call about what’s happening in the country, according to the Jerusalem Post. However, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Clinton seriously exaggerated.

“The exclusion and segregation of women is something totally unacceptable, and it needs to be stopped, but to cite this as a threat to Israel’s democracy is a big leap,” Steinitz said, according to Haaretz.

The National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA) released a press statement calling to remove Gutman from his post as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. In the wake of the controversy surrounding his comments, Gutman said that his words were taken out of context.

“Those who use the existence of the Jewish State of Israel or the ongoing deadlock in Israeli-Palestinians peace negotiations as an excuse to hate Jews are nothing more than anti-Semitic bigots… and I am pleased that (Gutman) has expressed regret for his remarks,” U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) said in a statement.

The White House also distanced itself from the comments by stating it condemns “anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

Scholar and rabbi Dr. Michael Berenbaum, however, wrote in a column for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal that while “Israel is not to blame for anti-Semitism—anti-Semites are to blame for anti-Semitism … there is a direct correlation between actions in the Middle East and an increase in manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

Berenbaum cited France as an example, where “increased anti-Semitism came in waves,” occurring in much greater intensity during the various Intifada periods in Israel. “There can be no doubt about the correlation,” he wrote, adding that the absence of negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also fuels the extremists.

At the Republican Jewish Forum, Mitt Romney criticized the Obama administration’s general Israel policy, saying the president chastises the country but has little to say about the thousands of rockets launched at southern Israel by Hamas. Romney said the president has also been weak with regard to Iran.

“These actions have emboldened Palestinian hard-liners, and they’re now poised to form a unity government with terrorist Hamas,” Romney said. “And they feel they can bypass Israel at the bargaining table.”

Jonathan Tobin of Commentary Magazine did see one silver lining to the “ominous signals” created by U.S. officials’ controversial comments on Israel, as well as the “failure of the administration’s promises to stop Iran’s nuclear program.”

“No matter what Obama, Panetta, Clinton and their underlings may think about Israel, they are keenly aware a full break with Israel is not something they can get away with,” Tobin wrote.

About the Author:


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 “Responses to US Administration Comments on Israel”

  1. Moishe Pupick says:

    W., 12/14/11 common era

    Surprise, surprise! Barack Husein Obama is anti-Israel. Whoever would have guessed such a thing? I mean, his birthplace is still contested. He got his start as a politician in C(r)ook County, Illinois. He speaks Arabic fluently. He helped Louis
    Farakkkhan, and listened to Reverend Jeremiah Wright ask G-d to curse America.
    Yup, it takes a post-doctral student to conclude that just maybe Obama hates Israel.
    (Even though some of his best friends. . .)

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Biggest Democratic Foe of Obama on Iran Indicted
Latest News Stories
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

Sen. Menendez indicted; claims charges against him tricks by political enemies.

Leonard Nimoy and Star Trek's Jewish stars, William Shatner. DeForest Kelley, who played "Bones," the ship's doctor, typically used the tricorder to examine his patients. Spock used the tricorder to collect scientific data.

Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering are in the process of bringing the iconic Star Trek “tricorder” to life.

Faience amulets depicting images of Egyptian gods.

Israeli archaeologists prove Egyptian culture was rife in Israel “for years” after the Exodus.

Two cops were hurt Wednesday and a female bomber was killed in a shootout outside Istanbul’s police headquarters.

A Gazan who sold a Bansky painted on his bombed-out doorway to a local artist for NIS 700 (about $175) says he was tricked.

Sixty-five years after a group of Arab nations signed a mutual defense treaty whose primary target was the newly-reestablished state of Israel, Arab leaders agreed Sunday to activate it by setting up a joint military force. The move comes amid spreading Islamic extremism and Iranian muscle-flexing in the region. The in-principle decision was made at […]

A table was set up in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square for all the Israelis who have gone missing.

They chatted a bit, Boehner congratulated Netanyahu on his election victory, and then the two went for lunch.

As Iranian general calls for Israel’s destruction, P5+1 talks on concessions to Iran continue.

Belgian insurance companies refuse to insure Jewish kindergartens due to the risk of anti-Semitic attacks.

France has left the US-led nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, saying it will return when it is ‘useful.’

Obama finally stops punishing Egypt for overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi

The IDF will have hard choices to make in the next war with Hezbollah.

Chaim Topol, has been awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.

The Knesset opening session was buzzing with new faces, as 39 new Members of Knesset joined their veteran colleagues in the swearing in ceremony.

More Articles from JMNS
Ministry of Transport and Road Safety Israel Katz (R) attends an inauguration ceremony for a newly built square at the entrance to the Jewish Efrat settlement, together with Abu Taleb from the nearby Arab village.

Two Arab/Jewish normalization events were canceled due to angry Palestinian protests. The protesters explained that they support the strategy of the Palestinian Authority of banning any kind of normal relations with Israel.

President Barack Obama

After sharp criticisms from three U.S. officials, Jews wondering whether Obama can be trusted on Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/responses-pour-in-to-one-sided-administration-comments-on-israel/2011/12/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: