Obaminology

Do you remember “Kremlinology,” the study of what was actually going on behind the walls of the Soviet citadel? Experts would scrutinize photos of Soviet officials to see who was standing closest to the leaders, who had moved farther away, or, ominously, who was not present at all. Since the Soviets were not exactly transparent about their policies, a known ‘hawk’ moving closer to party chiefs might signal a threat.

A free society is expected to be more transparent. Officials should announce policies, which are more or less the policies that the government then tries to carry out.

But in the America of today — and particularly with regard to Middle East policy — this is not the case. At least the pro-Israel community finds it necessary to microscopically examine the behavior of important officials, to try to determine what the administration intends. At times like this — immediately preceding the presidential visit to Israel — speculation reaches a high pitch. We find ourselves engaged in Obaminology.

There are some simple methods that can be employed. First, what doesn’t work: it is usually a waste of time to listen to the President’s actual words. As we can see by his recent comments to “Jewish leaders” and to representatives of American Arab organizations, he will tell his audiences what they want to hear. Such statements are carefully calibrated so that they will be technically true but either vacuous or open to multiple interpretations.

One useful technique is to look at the ‘friendly’ media. For example, the New York Times often presents the official line or floats trial balloons for the administration. And the Times has run no less than four anti-Israel op-eds or stories in the past seven days: the Joseph Levine piece arguing that Israel did not have the right to exist as a Jewish state (which I commented on here); an op-ed by Columbia professor and Palestinian apologist Rashid Khalidi which claims the US has enabled Israel’s “apartheid” policies; a long story in the magazine by Ben Ehrenreich, blaming the IDF and ‘settlers’ for provoking ‘resistance’ by saintly Arab residents of Nabi Saleh; and a front-page news story by bureau chief Jodi Rudoren critical of Israel for allowing Jews to live in what she calls “Arab East Jerusalem.”

All of these articles had this in common: they are intended to reduce sympathy for Israel, to establish the ‘Palestinian’ narrative of both historical and current events, and to weaken the Jewish one.

This is nothing new for the Times, but the concentration of coverage makes one wonder. And it is not only the Times: this weekend NPR presented an interview with Khalidi making the same points as his op-ed.

If the President’s words are not useful in sniffing out his intentions, his actions are. Wednesday, President Obama will be visiting Israel, where he will snub the democratically elected Knesset by speaking at a nearby convention center, unlike Presidents Carter, Clinton and Bush, who chose to speak at Israel’s parliament. This is apparently because of the unprecedented lengths to which the Obama Administration has gone to deny Israel’s sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. To add insult to injury, students from one of Israel’s accredited universities — the one that happens to be located in Ariel, east of the armistice line — were left out of the invitations offered to students at other universities.

I believe that the administration believes that it has set all of its ducks in a row for the upcoming visit. I do not believe that it will be “merely a photo-op,” as some have suggested, because Obama has no need for a photo-op today. The visit is costly and complicated, and will have objectives that the President and his advisers think are important.

It has also been suggested that the President will concentrate on issues involving Iran and the Syrian civil war rather than the question of the Palestinian Arabs. But this is not what is implied by the media offensive and the deliberate snub of Israel’s parliament and government.

Obaminology tells us that these objectives will be related to the ongoing effort to force Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Probably there will be renewed pressure to freeze construction east of the armistice lines, including Jerusalem. It would not surprise me if support for Israel in possible future actions against Iran were conditioned on concessions in the Palestinian arena.

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5 Responses to “Obaminology”

  1. Robman says:

    Obama is the puppet and errand boy of the red/green alliance. He is their front man; who by himself is a mediocrity except for three critical qualities: good public speaking skills, excellent skills with respect to sophistry/verbal slight of hand, and when all else fails, an unsurpassed ability to simply lie outright in a most convincing manner.

    He was installed in ’08 as a result of an historic economic crisis, the timing of whcih was triggered by manipulation of oil prices by the Gulf Arabs so as to scare the American people into voting for him. Until the crash, McCain had been on a solid track to win according to the polls; dear reader, if you don’t believe me, look up the historical polling data for the three weeks after the GOP convention and prior to the crash. As to oil prices causing the crash, the inverse relationship between oil prices and the stock market is one of the best established features of the market. It doesn’t happen like turning on a light switch; it takes months to “percolate”…and the spike in oil prices began in earnest in the sprign of ’08. Amazingly, they went right back down again after the election.

    This past election was clearly rigged outright. Consider all of the advantages Romney had in ’12 versus McCain in ’08: comparable finances to Obama, Obama’s sorry record to run against, demonstrably superior understanding of economic issues – and jobs/economy was the #1 issue for voters according to exit polls – plus the full support of the Tea Party once he got the nomination. Remember everybody, the Tea Party – which bludgeoned the Democrats in the mid-term elections – didn’t even exist in ’08. Take into account all of that…and then consider that Obama “won” with less votes than even McCain got in ’08…and Romney allegedly got two and a half million votes LESS than McCain got four years earlier. Oh, and Obama won EVERY swing state, despite volatile polling right up to the election.

    If I were in charge of rigging the election for Obama, I would have tried to make it look less obvious. The depth and scope of this crime is only matched by its brazenness.

    There are very powerful forces behind this fraud we have for a president (and a lot of these very same forces are involved with the corruption of major media outlets such as the NYT and NPR; this is all very highly coordinated), who seem to very badly want him in control of the U.S. SO, what was he “installed” for?

    Obama’s policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been the most consistently pursued of all of his policies. He has focused on this issue like a laser beam, such that it seems that his entire foreign policy revolves around forcing Israel to accept a Saudi-style “peace” [surrender] plan that would lead to the certain dismemberment of Israel as a Jewish state. Obama had in fact publicly endorsed the Saudi plan as a candidate in ’08, and shortly after his election, his aides told British media that he intended to use the Saudi plan as the basis for his policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

    Obama’s last major policy speech dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict up to now was his May 19, 2011 speech. Everything he said was consistent with the Saudi plan, or was at least silent concerning all the major provisions.

    With all of the above in mind – and Vic, you forgot to mention that Rashid Khalidi was a very good friend of Obama’s, and raised $70,000 for Obama’s Senate campaign – one does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what Obama is trying to do, and what this visit is about.

    In front of the cameras, I expect the visit to me generally congenial, though I do expect Obama to make some veiled threats against the Netanyahu government if they don’t get on with seeing things his way on the Palestinian issue.

    In private, that will be another matter. Behind closed doors, I fully expect Obama to deliver a message something like the following to Netanyahu:

    “I have nearly four years left as President of the U.S., by far your most vital ally. Our relationship is of virtually existential importance to your country, given your growing isolation [which I've greatly helped manufacture, of course]. I don’t have to worry about re-election, and I now have a political eternity in which to pursue my favored policies, free from the compromising influences of electoral politics. If you don’t give me what I want with respect to the Palestinians, you and your country are through, so far as I am concerned.”

    To underscore the above points, I fully expect that in the immediate wake of the visit, anonymous Obama aides will be deliberately leaking to the media that an ultimatum of this nature was delivered to Netanyahu.

    If Obama cannot force Israel into a Saudi-style agreement with the PA, he will proceed to do his level best – and as a U.S. President not having to worry about re-election, that is a lot – to sabotage the U.S.-Israeli alliance, and with the help of his media cohorts, make it look like Israel’s fault. This is what I expect to occur going forward.

    Anyone who doubts this should consider Israel’s situation in 1964. At that time, she was receiving the last of some 70+ Mirage III fighter jets from France, her front-line fighter with which she fought and won the ’67 war. Who would have imagined at that time, that within three years, France would abandon Israel completely?

    I’m not saying that Obama will defeinitely succeed at destroying the U.S.-Israeli alliance, but I would say that the chances are better than even that he will. He is not acting alone; the forces that installed him have prepared his path to do so by arranging for him to receive nearly unanimous support from national and even international-level print and broadcast media, plus the backing of most of academia in the West. All that stands in his way are the Christian Evangelicals, the Tea Party, and national security-minded mainstream GOP types. I’d leave out the Jewish American community; people like myself and Vic are exceptions. On the matter of publicly supporting Israel, most Jewish Americans are simply cowards. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, their hearts are in the right place…but they are missing a key part of their anatomy a little further down.

    What is the overarching objective of this “red/green alliance” as represented by Obama, concerning Israel? The “red” part is best symbolized by the likes of George Soros, while the “green” part is best represented by people such as Sheik Alwaleed Bin Talal, the fifth richest man in the world, the nephew of the Saudi king…and a major stockholder in Newscorp (that’s FOX/WSJ). These are just examples; there are many other players, I’m sure.

    The “red” believes that the U.S. is the source of most of the conflict and instability in the world. Their aim is to “make America safe for the world”..by withdrawing America from the world stage as a serious player. The place where America’s “sins” are most on display, and most destabilizing, per this worldview, is in the Middle East, and most specifically, to be found in America’s support of Israel. So, the intent is to extract America from the world stage, and deliver Israel to the Islamist movement, so as to appease them and persuade them to leave us alone.

    The “green” side, of course, wants Israel gone for their well-known religiously based, bloody-minded bigoted lynch mob-style reasons. They do everything they can to promote the b.s. line here in the U.S. that the Islamists “hate America because of Israel”.

    So, Obama is going to Israel, on behalf of the forces that have installed him as president, to dictate terms. Israeli leaders are simply going to have to stand up to him.

    “Standing up to him” means two things:

    - Accept that dealing decisively with Iran is something that Israel is going to have to do on her own, without U.S. support. The price that Obama is going to ask of Israel for his support of action against Iran is simply going to be too high. Israel must act accordingly.

    - Figure out how to survive and prosper without the U.S. as an ally. As long as Iran is dealt with, Israel should be able to do this. There will be costs, but ultimately, Israel will be stronger for this. For example, China is very interested and has already made great use of Israeli technology, and beyond lip service, this observer greatly doubts that Chinese leaders give a fiddler’s fart about the Palestinians. There are real opportunities for Israel here.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    The NYTimes is disgusting. It is close to the Obama Administration but I am not sure it takes its marching orders from it. It is own idiotic JStreet type- mentality which perhaps provokes this current spate of stupidity.
    You point out a major omission by Obama, the failure to address the Knesset. I would think that the most important element of the visit would be to underline the strong connection between the two democracies in their values and world- outlook. Speaking to the Knesset would underline this. The failure to do so does hint at an unpleasant truth but there too could be other reasons for his not speaking there.
    I don’t see Obama as pressuring now for an Israeli withdrawal from anywhere. He knows it is not going to happen. He knows the other side will give nothing in return. Why to engage oneself and put one’s prestige on the line for a policy that is certain to fail.
    Despite his probably not wanting it to be the major issue will be Syria and Iran. How far he is willing to go in cooperating with Israel is the real question. We must remember how the first Bush did everything to distance himself in the First Gulf War from being seen as cooperating with Israel. Even our great friend the second Bush did not really keep his promises about Iran.
    One real question is how much Obama would take into account the needs of Israel, including defense of its civilian population should it in the end decide to take military action against Iran, or what is far less desirable, intervene more openly in Syria.
    It is once again Prime Minister Netanyahu upon whom the burden of keeping Obama honest, falls. Whether he can do it or not, is a big question.

  3. Robman says:

    Shalom Freedman:

    In answer to your first question – why Obama would pressure Israel on the Palestinian issue even though he knows it will go nowhere – you must keep in mind the major underlying goal of those who back Obama, which is not really to help the Palestinians. It is to undermine Israel. The Palestinian issue is a means to an end, but it is not the end itself.

    So, if he knows he can’t get anywhere on that issue, he goes to “plan B”, which is to “punish” Israel for her “intransigence” by isolating her as a pariah state, in the manner of Rhodesia in the 70s. But first, he has to go through the motions of “tryong to get Israel to see what is in her own best interests”.

    Along with this, one must also keep in mind two massive misconceptions that Obama & Co. are operating under.

    First, there is the idea that Israel is so dependent on the U.S., that she has no choice but to ultimately bend to the will of the U.S. If Israel is not cooperative enough, then the answer is to simply apply more pressure. At some point, so this thinking goes, Israel HAS to give in. There was more truth to this in the past, but it is not as true today. I have been predicting ever since Obama got “re-elected” that he is likely to push Israel into the arms of China, which in fact will be a huge blow to U.S. interests (more on that in a minute).

    Second is the idea that the U.S. can extricate herself from the war on Islamist terror “on the cheap” by appeasing Islamist sensibilities at the expense of Israel. So, if the U.S. can manufacture a pretext for ending the U.S.-Israeli alliance, then the Moslem world will “like” us and will leave us alone. (Just ask the Russians – historically the most anti-Israel non-Moslem country – how well this works in preventing Islamist terrorism.) But however irrational, a lot of Americans in our foreign policy establishment want to believe this nonsense, because the alternative is confronting the Moslem world, and few have the stomach for this (NONE in the Obama administration).

    Then, there is the apparent misconception that I see PM Netanyahu operating under. Shalom, as you are an Israeli, perhaps you can speak with greater authority on this matter, but here is how it looks to me over here:

    PM Netnanyahu seems to persist in believing that underneath it all, there is a rational leader inside of Obama, trying to get out. He behaves as though if he just comes up with the right argument – i.e., if he is a good enough “lawyer” for Israel – at some point, Obama will have to see reason and stop giving him such a hard time. This mindset is a pretty typical Jewish cultural trait, this belief that we can use ‘logic’ to stop people from hating us.

    What PM Netanyahu needs to realize and act upon – if he hasn’t already, and there are some encouraging signs that he has – is that there is no convincing the likes of Obama of anything. One does not “convince” someone like Obama. One has to simply defeat/outmaneuver them. The assumption in dealing with him going forward is that he is not going to change. This visit is simply another “tactic” in the service of the same end result. There is no change in fundamental policy going on here. Vic’s recent excellent columns provide ample evidence of this point.

    Besides grassroots efforts here, the only chance I see for rescuing the U.S.-Israeli alliance from Obama & Co. is that if important segments of the U.S. national security establishment start to perceive that the U.S. might really lose Israel as an ally, and with that, start to appreciate what an incredible blow this will be to the U.S. if Israel were to, for example, align with China at the expense of the U.S. Israeli know-how combined with Chinese mass and capital would be an unstoppable combination; consider this within the context of the so-called “pivot” of the U.S. to concentrate on containing China in the Asia/Pacific region. As this realization sinks in, alarm bells might go off in Washington and Obama’s campaign to undermine the U.S.-Israeli alliance might then be reined in.

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    This is a reply to Robman.
    We don’t agree on a basic point. I believe that you believe that Obama is so hostile to Israel that he truly aims to undermine us.
    I do not see it this way. The military cooperation of the past years, the aid in putting Iron Dome on the ground, the support at the U.N. and during the recent operation in Gaza all indicate that Obama is more friend than enemy.
    His view on borders on two states for two peoples is in fact the traditional view of the U.S. and is no different from that of many Israelis.
    I early on read his books and felt he is instinctively not close to Israel. I too am worried about what he will do in relation to Iran- Syria and possible future outbreak of hostilities. But I also think the demonization of the man by certain pro- Israel people is both wrong morally and a tactical mistake.
    Practically speaking his decisions have helped us in many ways. It seems to me rank ingratitude to simply ignore this.

  5. Robman says:

    Shalom Freedman:

    The “military cooperation” so touted by some observers is mostly meant to keep tabs on the Israeli military, and in this way, restrain them from independent action not to Washington’s liking (i.e., a strike on Iran).

    Iron Dome was initiated under Bush #43. Obama was simply continuing a program that was already underway, and that benefits U.S. military aerosapce firms and helps provide theater missile defense capabilities to the U.S. armed forces. This is not exactly an act of charity.

    But Obama likes Iron Dome because it is a purely defensive system. It does not in any eliminate the sources of the missile attacks. Most countries would have no use for Iron Dome; they would simply use offensive air and ground forces to eliminate the threat…as Israel has tried to do in the past, but for which she was heavily restrained by the U.S., especially Obama.

    Israel has in fact been under a partial arms embargo from the U.S. since Obama took office. Israel requested new Apache helicopter gunships to replace aging airframes that are simply wearing out, but was refused under Obama (because they ‘might be used against the Palestinians’…that was the reason given by Obama, no kidding). Israel wanted new F-15 fighters – she is still flying some F-15s that date back to the Carter administration – but Obama said no again. The only new offensive weapons approved by Obama have been a piddly 20 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which won’t enter service with U.S. forces, let alone those of Israel, until 2016 at the earliest. I expect Obama to cancel this program. (Meanwhile, Obama concluded the largest single arms deal in U.S. history – $60 billion – with Saudi Arabia, which includes Apache helicopters and F-15s.)

    Support in the UN?? You’ve got to be kidding me. What happened last fall with the Palestinian bid for limited statehood recognition in the GA was not the first time for this. They tried this before, but the U.S. under previous presidents threatened to cut off U.S. funding for the UN if they went ahead with the vote. And it worked. Obama made no such threat, so it went ahead. Obama also made no effort to dissuade others from voting for this, so far as I am aware.

    The U.S. under Obama also lobbied AGAINST Canada getting a rotating seat on the UNSC in ’11, at the time the PA submitted their statehood bid to the UNSC. This was the first time the U.S. EVER did this to Canada. Relatively anti-Israel Portugal got the seat instead. Obama’s clear intention was to make sure Israel was as isolated as possible, and totally dependent on the U.S. for a veto, so as to maximize coercive leverage for the U.S. over Israel.

    Every previous U.S. president from Johnson through Bush #43, with the possible exception of Carter, understood and respected some basic Israeli “red lines” concerning any final deal with the Palestinians: no ROR for Palestinians inside of Israel, and Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel. Obama is the first U.S. president to waffle on even these issues; and he has gone out of his way, scrubbing ALL references to Jerusalem being part of Israel from ALL U.S. official documents, to delegitimize ANY Israeli claim on Jerusalem.

    Shalom, I was born within two months of Obama. I went to schools of comparable prestige during comparable time frames to Obama. I even met his “good friend” Rashid Khalidi, who was a guest professor for one of my classes in grad school, and who was a world-class jerk (and who raised $70,000 for Obama’s Senate campaign..and who was also a fomer press agent for the PLO). Though I have never met Obama personally, I can tell you that I’ve had umpteen classmates, housemates, assistant professors, etc., who thought and talked like Obama.

    Trust me, he hates Israel. He means to undermine Israel. That doesn’t mean he will – I have faith that Israel can withstand him – but it may mean that the U.S.-Israeli strategic partnership that has been a feature of the global stage since the late 60s may soon be coming to an end.

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