Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Israeli Jews wake up to Obama's plan to abandon Israel

President Obama's approval rating here at home has sunk into negative territory, largely due to his Obamacare "healthcare reform" plans to socialize America's health insurance industry.

But there's one part of the world where his approval rating is down to single digits, nearing zero, in the nation which has been America's only faithful ally in the Middle East, Israel. There Obama has also managed to vastly improve the popularity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who Israelis now see as a hero for standing up to Obama's demand that growth be immediately halted in all Jewish settlements under dispute by Palestinian Arabs.

Aluf Benn, editor at large of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, pens an op-ed in the Noo Yawk Times to ask the question: Why Won't Obama Talk to Israel?
A Jerusalem Post poll of Israeli Jews last month indicated that only 6 percent of those surveyed considered the Obama administration to be pro-Israel, while 50 percent said that its policies are more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli. Less scientifically: Israeli rightists have — in columns, articles and public statements — taken to calling the president by his middle name, Hussein, as proof of his pro-Arab tendencies.

What went wrong? Several explanations come to mind.

First, in the 16 rosy years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Israelis became spoiled by unfettered presidential attention. Memories of State Department “Arabists” leading American policy in the Middle East were erased. The White House coordinated its policy with Jerusalem, and stayed out of the way when Israel embarked on controversial military offensives in Lebanon and Gaza. This approach infuriated America’s Arab and European allies, which blamed Washington for one-sidedness — something they were willing to forgive of Bill Clinton but not of George W. Bush.

Mr. Obama came to office determined to repair America’s broken alliances in Europe and the Middle East. One way to do this — to prove that he was the opposite of his predecessor — was to place some distance between Israel and himself.

Second, Mr. Obama’s quest for diplomacy has appeared to Israelis as dangerous American naïveté. The president offered a hand to the Iranians, and got nothing, merely giving them more time to advance their nuclear program. In Israeli eyes, he was humiliated by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests. And he failed to move Arab governments to take steps to normalize relations with Israel. Conclusion: Mr. Obama is a softie, eager to please his listeners and avoid confrontation with anyone who is not Mr. Netanyahu.

Third, Mr. Obama seems to have confused American Jews with Israelis. We are close emotionally and politically, but we are different. We speak Hebrew and not English, we live in the Middle East and have separate historical narratives. Mr. Obama’s stop at Buchenwald and his strong rejection of Holocaust denial, immediately after his Cairo speech, appealed to American Jews but fell flat in Israel. Here we are taught that Zionist determination and struggle — not guilt over the Holocaust — brought Jews a homeland. Mr. Obama’s speech, which linked Israel’s existence to the Jewish tragedy, infuriated many Israelis who sensed its closeness to the narrative of enemies like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Fourth, as far as most Israelis are concerned, Mr. Obama has made a mistake in focusing on a settlement freeze. For starters, mainstream Israelis rarely have anything to do with the settlements; many have no idea where they are, even when they’re a half-hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.

More important: in the past decade, repeated peace negotiations and diplomatic statements have indicated that larger, closer-to-home settlements (the “settlement blocs”) will remain in Israeli hands under any two-state solution. Why, then, insist on a total freeze everywhere? And why deny with such force — as the administration did — the existence of previous understandings between the United States and Israel over limited settlement construction? There is simply too much evidence proving that such an understanding existed. To Israelis, the claim undermined Mr. Obama’s credibility — and strengthened Mr. Netanyahu’s position.
I fear we're seeing the beginning of the end of America's future. As an evangelical Christian and a fundamental believer in the Bible, I firmly believe what the Bible says is true about the nation of Israel, whoever is a friend of Israel will be blessed by God. And the reverse, the nation that abandons Israel will be abandoned by God. The Israeli people have woke up and seen their abandonment coming. I pray the American people will realize the consequences of Obama's coming abandonment of Israel and speak out before it's too late.

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