On May 14, 1948, the day the state of Israel was declared, President Harry S. Truman extended de facto recognition to the Jewish government, making the US the first country to recognize Israel.
Over the years the relationship has waxed and waned, but it’s safe to say that since 1967 the US has been Israel’s closest ally, the address that Israel has turned to in times of trouble. And Israel has done plenty for the US as well, much of it not generally known.
Despite what the antisemites say, US policy has not always been aligned with Israel’s. But until recently it was true that US policy honestly favored Israel’s survival as a Jewish state. Now I’m not sure it’s still possible to say that.
President Obama has supported the Palestinian Arabs in their drive for unilateral statehood. Yes, I know he says he opposes it, but he torpedoed negotiations with Israel twice — once by introducing construction freezes in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as preconditions, and now by doing the same for the pre-1967 lines. He’s blamed Israel for the lack of negotiations, thus clearing the unilateral path for the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian authority.
His administration has indicated that it does not plan to keep the promises made by the previous administration in regard to settlement blocs and Arab refugees. These promises were made in order to encourage Ariel Sharon to withdraw from Gaza. Israel withdrew in 2005, and in 2009 war followed. The incoming Obama Administration ordered Israel to exit Gaza before the inauguration.
Obama helped push out the Mubarak regime, which while not exactly pro-Israel was certainly an enemy of Israel’s enemies. At the same time he is reticent about applying pressure against Syrian dictator Assad, an ally of Iran and deadly enemy of Israel. The US also stood aside as the Iranian proxy Hizballah took almost complete control of Lebanon, and went easy on the vicious Iranian regime itself.
Obama makes no effort to hide his dislike for Israel’s Prime Minister, once deliberately humiliating him by making him wait while he went to dinner. His recent policy initiative was only disclosed to Netanyahu hours before he was about to get on a plane to come to the US. This is not the way to treat a close ally.
Obama visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2009 — he made his notorious ‘Cairo speech’ then, in which he compared the Holocaust to Palestinian suffering “in pursuit of a homeland” — but has not visited Israel as President.
Many of Obama’s closest advisers, like Samantha Power, hold anti-Israel positions, and are allowed to float disturbingly hostile trial balloons in friendly places like the New York Times.
In his relations with the Jewish community, he’s elevated the phony ‘pro-Israel’ lobby J Street, which almost invariably takes positions against the Jewish state while — like Obama — proclaiming its pro-Israelness. One of his first actions as President was to hold a meeting at the White House for “Jewish leaders” — naturally he invited Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street while snubbing the oldest pro-Israel group of all, the Zionist Organization of America, as well as the Orthodox and Zionist National Council of Young Israel.
Time and again it’s been demonstrated that the American people and the Congress that represents them support Israel far more than the President and his advisers. The 29 standing ovations PM Netanyahu received during his recent speech (more than Obama got in his State of the Union) are evidence of this.
Obama often sugar-coats his poison pills for Israel by saying that the US commitment to Israel’s security in ‘unshakeable’. But we know that in 2008 he spoke at a dinner for his friend, Palestinian academic Rashid Khalidi, and — although a videotape of that talk is locked up in the vaults of the LA Times — his actual position may not be as pro-Israel as he says:
The extraordinary thing about [the LA Times story about the event] “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama” is that in it, Obama’s supporters say that in claiming to be pro-Israel, he is hiding his true views from the public. Having observed his personal associations, his open political alliances, his public statements, and his private remarks, Obama’s Palestinian allies steadfastly maintain that Obama’s private views are far more pro-Palestinian than he lets on.
I’ll bet that the editors of the LA Times could talk all day about ‘the public’s right to know’. And if, as Obama says, he’s a true friend of Israel, he has nothing to hide.
This is far more important than a birth certificate — come on, LA Times, let’s see that tape.