Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Can Israel survive Obama?

Since when does the US Administration send condolences to a criminal's family?

It happened in Israel after an Arab hurled firebombs at passing Israeli cars in Judea & Samaria, and was killed by security forces. The Obama Administration sent official condolences to the family of this young terrorist when, as part of a violent mob, he endangering the lives of Israelis.

Any country must adopt an unquestioned zero tolerance to growing deadly violence and terrorism. But the attitude of an American Administration is troubling.  Would it, I wonder, have sent condolences to a family had the perpetrator of a firebomb attack been an Israeli, and the intended victim an Arab?

I doubt it. I suspect the Administration would have harshly condemned the act, the perpetrator, and Israel, and rightly so. So what’s the difference?

Where is this biased animus coming from? I strongly suspect it is coming from the top of the present US Administration, from Obama himself.

There is a deep motive behind Obama's animus toward Israel. It stems from his far left Socialist political upbringing both at family and at personal mentor levels. It has framed his political mindset both at home and abroad. It is this that affects his worldview. Anyone reading his autobiography, particularly the imprisonment and alleged torture of his grandfather in Kenya by the British, must take from it a sense that the American president harbors resentment to perceived colonizers, oppressors, and imperialist powers.

He looks on countries through the prism of his upbringing. Official relations may appear normal on the surface, but grievances bubble up in personal slights and gestures.

Take, for example, the little addressed issue of President Obama returning the bust of Winston Churchill that had taken pride of place in the White House to Britain on entering the presidential residence. It was nothing less than a personal gesture of grievance of a past British oppression against his Kenyan family.

There is little doubt that Obama feels a personal kinship with the Muslim world. This again is grounded in his personal life experiences in Muslim countries. A personal affinity by an important world leader is often a good thing and can make for a more peaceful world if balanced with wisdom and diplomatic skills. What Obama does not take on board is the centuries old Islamic hatred of non-believers, and a past of corrupt and primitively brutal Muslim conquest, slavery, and slaughter that continues to today. Instead, he shares their accusations that all their troubles have been caused by colonizers, oppressors, and imperial powers of which America is the modern day leader. That is why he bows to the king of Saudi Arabia but to no other king.

Once this grievance is adopted, Israel is perceived as a colonizer and occupier. His view was expounded during his formative contacts with people such as Khalid al Mansour, a vile anti-Semite and radicalized Muslim who was a high level adviser to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. He wrote a letter of recommendation to Harvard to gain acceptance for Barack Obama. His friend, and Arafat adviser, Rashid Khalidi, to whom Obama lavished praise at a Chicago farewell party when Khalidi headed off to Columbia.

Obama has exhibited a double-talk and double vision against traditional American allies, including Israel. Trapped in an establishment that conducts business as normal, his antipathy spills over in personal spats that Israel has suffered on numerous occasions.

Obama is a quintessential abusive husband. He tells Israel he loves her even as he abuses her.

The issue over Netanyahu’s address to Congress is the latest revelation of the bad chemistry between Obama and America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East.

A precious example was Obama’s and Kerry's rebuttal of Israel's Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, in Washington, which was a low point in US-Israel relations.

From an Israeli perspective, the nastiness of the Obama Administration was displayed by the State Department spokesperson dismissing with hardly a word the Mahmoud Abbas inspired incitement that led to Jerusalem terror attacks which left a 3 month old baby and others dead, yet slammed down on Jews legally buying homes in Jerusalem.

This spitefulness is seen in America denying visas to Israelis and temporarily preventing the resupply of armaments to Israel during the 2014 Gaza war inflicted on Israel by Hamas rockets and terrorists.

A headline display of spite was Obama leaving Israel’s Prime Minister to stew in the White House while he stormed off to have dinner with his wife and daughters in March 2010. Obama snubbed Netanyahu again in September 2012 over important Iranian nuclear issues.

In an October, 2013 article, “Obama gets cozy with Turkey; Snubs Israel.”  Frank Gaffney wrote; his administration has behaved toward Israel as though it were, at best, a country in which we have no interests. At worst, Obama seems to consider the Jewish State as a hostile power. He has: repeatedly demeaned its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; contributed to its international isolation (for example, by demanding at one point an end to settlement expansion as a precondition for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations); and subverted its vital interests (notably, by declaring that Israel must withdraw to the indefensible pre-1967 borders).” 

Israel was shocked at the cozy relationship between Obama and a Hamas-supporting Erdogan who adopted a strident anti-Israel policy.

Gaffney added, Barack Obama has treated Turkey as a reliable partner even though, for the better part of a decade under its Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this nation that is supposedly a NATO ally has been aligning ever more palpably with our adversaries.”

This is deeply troubling to Israel who sees an Erdogan-led Turkey slide away from secularism toward Islamism while aiding and abetting Israel’s enemies, including the Islamic State terrorists.

The world sees the US not only retreating from the region but also changing sides in the region. Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt against Mubarak. He later stopped arms supply to a newly elected President El-Sisi determined to confront the war on terror in the region. Egypt faces threats from Al-Qaida in the Sinai, Palestinian Hamas in Gaza, and the Muslim Brotherhood at home. Yet Obama turned his back on him and hosts the American Muslim Brotherhood in the White House.

During the Gaza conflict, his Administration sided with Qatar and Turkey against the wishes of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Because of regional problems including an invasive Iran, the Syrian civil war, and the horrors of Islamic State and the foreign policy failures of the Obama's Administration, we have seen an alliance of common strategic interests in the Middle East which is a fascinating new opportunity for Israel and its Arab neighbors. Yet Obama has done little to help nurture and develop this development.

Instead, Israel and its neighbors are pondering on how to get through an Obama presidency. This particularly applies to an Israel suffering from a presidential animus, which is an integral part of Obama’s personal and political DNA.

Now we hear that Israel’s Prime Minister’s address to Congress will come at a heavy price. Could this be an American refusal to veto a future UN Security Council application for a Palestinian state, or even the signing of a bad agreement with Iran over its nuclear program?

Whatever this price is, can Israel survive an Obama presidency?

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant of Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College in Israel.  He is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’ www.israelnarrative.com

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