The Obama Administration insistently reiterated its support for Israel this weekend after a Jerusalem Post poll found that only 6 percent of Jewish Israelis now consider Barack Obama’s presidency to be pro-Israel…
Fifty percent of those sampled consider the policies of Obama’s administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36% said the policies were neutral. The remaining 8% did not express an opinion.
What worries Israelis about Obama?
Iran. It seems that the administration has already decided that Iran will be a nuclear power. Israelis see this as an existential threat.
Linkage. No Israeli in his or her right mind, right-wing or left-wing, believes that “solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” will help deal with Iran, or reduce the threat of Islamic fundamentalism in general. This is seen as an excuse to pressure Israel so as to curry favor with the Arabs.
Settlements. Most Israelis, except for the extreme Left, think that any practical agreement with the Palestinians would include Israel keeping the large settlement blocks and parts of East Jerusalem. Most believe that Israel should evacuate illegal outposts. Obama’s saying “it’s time for these settlements to stop” doesn’t inspire confidence that he knows the difference.
Unilateral concessions. The US is now pressing Israel to open crossings and allow strategic materials into Gaza, but rejecting Israeli demands that this be linked to the release of Gilad Shalit. Huh? The administration seems to be prepared to pressure Israel but not the murderous Hamas.
Acceptance of Arab narrative. Obama compared the Palestinian ‘plight’ with the Holocaust, and suggested that Israel’s legitimacy was based on historical persecution of Jews, especially the Holocaust. This is seen as accepting the Palestinian point of view that the Jews are illegitimately punishing the Palestinians for what Europeans did to them, and in a similar way.
Jerusalem. As I’ve written before, there is no legitimate excuse for not moving the US embassy to West Jerusalem. The fact that Obama has chosen to continue to support the anti-Israel State Department in this doesn’t inspire confidence. Although even the pro-Israel President Bush was unable or unwilling to do this, it would have been a welcome declaration of independence on the part of this administration.
What he doesn’t say. Israelis would be happy to hear Obama agree with PM Netanyahu that Palestinians should recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people and that the Palestinian refugee problem will need to be solved outside Israel’s borders. These are only reasonable requests of someone who insists over and over that he supports Israel and is committed to her security.
Polls have shown that most American Jews continue to support Obama. But most American Jews are not very connected to Israel and are not thinking very deeply about the issues. Those who are concerned should ask themselves whether they ought to simply accept blanket statements about support for Israel or pay attention to more specific policies.