The Exploitation of Israel’s Vulnerability
At the Republican Jewish Coalition’s recent leadership conference, President George W. Bush recalled his first official visit to Israel:
I was also struck by Israel’s vulnerability and convinced that America must always be Israel’s closest ally. That conviction guided me through eight years in the White House. I made clear that the United States would support Israel’s right to defend itself; that no cause could justify the killing of innocent people.
What no one in the room realized was just how Bush’s words would resonate less than a week later, as the Obama administration would begin a vicious attack on Israel, upending the longstanding friendship and mutual respect between the two countries. The dichotomy between the Bush and Obama relationships with Israel is astounding and something of which every American — and in particular, every American Jew — should take notice.
While many Americans feel like they have been living through an Orwellian nightmare since Obama took office — watching him gut the Constitution and cause major decline in our stature around the world — Jews in particular are waking up to the reality of their vote. As John Bolton noted in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, “We are moving inexorably toward, and perhaps have now reached, an Israeli crisis with Mr. Obama.”
It was shocking when the administration disproportionately responded to the construction announcement with Biden’s initial accusation that Israel was undermining the peace process. The situation declined further when Biden reportedly stated that Israel’s actions were putting American troops in harm’s way. Circumstances hit rock bottom when Clinton made public a 45-minute tirade in which she admonished Netanyahu for embarrassing the administration and discrediting the peace process. But the Obama administration plummeted into an abyss with Clinton’s most bizarre statement to date, in which she demanded that Israel demonstrate its commitment to peace.
This latest comment would be laughable were the administration not serious. And how must Israel demonstrate to the Obama administration that it is committed to peace? It must release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners (aka terrorists), withdraw from the West Bank (because the withdrawals from Gaza and Southern Lebanon proved so successful), and ease up on Gaza (the Palestinian stronghold ruled by Hamas, whose major industry is smuggling weapons used to fire at innocent Israeli civilians).
The Obama administration has chosen to simply ignore the history of the peace process, the concessions by Israeli leaders in the various attempts at peace over the years, the violent nature of the Palestinian people, the fact that there can be no partner to peace on the Palestinian side as long as they refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish State, the failure of the Gaza experiment when it was ceded in 2005, and the basic fact, as concisely summarized by Bret Stephens this week, that the settlements are simply an excuse to continue a war aimed at extinguishing Israel’s very existence.
Instead, what the Obama administration has chosen to do is stoke anti-Semitism here at home, a likely result of Biden’s comments regarding American troops. And it has chosen to give the green light to more violence in Israel. The Israeli government announced the construction plans almost one week ago. However, the Palestinians did not start throwing stones until six or seven days later, after Obama escalated the rhetoric toward Israel — rhetoric typically reserved for the country’s enemies, not its friends.
It is not clear if Obama is attempting to force a regime change in Israel, as some have suggested; if he is taking this stand against an ally due to underlying anti-Semitism and an affinity to the Palestinian people and the Muslim world as a whole; or if he is simply pummeling through a peace process that he hopes will assure him a place in the history books, as he is doing with his health care entitlement plan. What is clear is that no matter what is motivating the administration, it cannot bode well for Israel.
Last fall, I had the opportunity to pose the following question to Michael Oren and Joe Lieberman on separate occasions: “If Israel is ultimately forced to go it alone in a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, what do you think the administration’s response will be? Will it support Israel militarily by granting airspace over Iraq, will it help rearm lost or damaged equipment, and will it defend Israel in the face of inevitable international backlash and proposed UN sanctions?”
Oren stated his hope that it would not come down to that. Lieberman responded that he could not speak for the White House, but he certainly could promise support from the Congress. I feel confident that the Republicans in Congress will absolutely defend Israel’s right to exist, right to defend itself, and right to make sovereign decisions.” But as John Bolton further noted in his op-ed,
But the White House likely believes that a nuclear Iran though undesirable, can be contained and will therefore not support using military force to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.What’s more, Mr. Obama is also unwilling to let anyone else, namely Israel, act instead. That means that if Israel bombs Iranian nuclear facilities, the president will likely withhold critical replenishments of destroyed Israeli aircraft and other weapons systems.
Bolton concluded that Israel’s support will come from Congress and the American people, but certainly not from the president. Yet, ironically, while American support for Israel is at a near record high, many American Jews continue to blindly support Obama at the expense of Israel. Too many American Jews who have claimed the left as their new homeland have bought into the administration’s talking points dominated by the “blame Israel mantra” that were it not for the tiny Jewish state and its 1,600 units of housing, peace would prevail in the region, Amen.
I recently watched a video of the Auschwitz Album, which memorializes the arrival of Hungarian Jews at the concentration camp and which was presented to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, by a survivor of the camp. For thousands of years, Jews have been forced to wander the globe in hopes of returning to their homeland, and sixty years ago that hope became a reality. The Israeli national anthem, which is called Hatikvah, means “hope” and describes the 2,000-year-old hope of the Jewish people to be a free and sovereign people in the Land of Israel.
American Jews need to realize that they have a responsibility to ensure that the Jewish people will never again be subjected to mass extermination and will never again be forced from the land of Canaan given to them by God. Israel needs unwavering support at a time when its very survival is severely threatened not only by the Arabs surrounding it, but by the president whom American Jews entrusted with its future. Until American Jews recognize this most important covenant and make it clear to the administration that the only “hope” they can believe in is that of their God — and not a faux Messiah hell-bent on exploiting the Jewish state — peace will be an elusive dream.