Updated Dec. 24, 2016 –
For many supporters in the two terms of President Obama, his administration’s Middle East policy and treatment of Israel seemed well-balanced and positive.
After all, Israel has been the only friend of America in the Middle East.
Indeed, a highly respected journalist once praised President Obama in his column, Israel’s Best Friend.
Thomas Friedman wrote: “The only question I have when it comes to President Obama and Israel is whether he is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the most.”
Mr. Friedman added that the president’s pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal was in Israel’s best interests.
Likewise, for eight years many Democrats claimed Mr. Obama was a true friend of Israel. Undoubtedly, many Jewish Americans were excessively influenced to agree, which helped Democrats and Mr. Obama win elections.
But I found such thinking to be innately impaired. The thought that Mr. Obama was friendly to Israel was an unjustifiable thesis – naïve and fallacious, and obviously a detriment to peace in the Middle East.
My sense was that the discord between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was exacerbated by the former’s disdain of Israel.
The truth can’t be ignored any longer. Now it’s obvious at the worst possible time for religious Jews and Christians.
On the eve of an important Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, and less than a month before leaving office, President Obama, who was not facing any more elections and likely voter outrage – the truth of his betrayal of Israel rears its ugly head.
His betrayal of Israel also shocks Christians, who all support Israel, just before the all-important Christmas celebration.
Most emphatically, Mr. Obama shows he is not a friend of Israel.
Instead of vetoing an anti-Israel condemnation, the Obama Administration abstained from voting and allowed a venomous resolution to pass the United Nations Security Council.
In breaking with nearly four decades of U.S. policy in defending Israel, the administration paved the way for the United Nations to censure it.
The resolution condemns Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements. It calls for a boycott of Israeli products.
In effect, it gives the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem to the state of Palestine.
To ensure these developments, the resolution tells the U.N. secretary-general to report to the Security Council every 90 days on the results of the resolution and whether Israel is in compliance.
But a statement from the Israeli prime minister readily condemned the resolution and vowed not to comply with it.
Israel asks Trump for help
Just days before the vote, Israel pleaded with President-elect Donald Trump to exert his influence to protect Israel. And Mr. Trump responded.
He and his transition associates met with Israeli officials and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. The latter agreed to draw up a resolution favoring Israel’s position.
And Mr. Trump also tweeted his opposition to any censorship of Israel.
But Egypt abruptly rescinded its resolution. Instead, the security council voted 14-0 on a despicable resolution co-sponsored by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela.
In following Mr. Obama’s instructions to abstain from the vote on the resolution, Ambassador Samantha Power disingenuously claimed it was “in line with the bipartisan history of how American presidents have approached the issue…”
She also cited a 1982 statement by then-President Reagan saying he wouldn’t support any new expansion by Israel.
However, before and after Mr. Reagan’s statement, on dozens of occasions spanning about four decades, American’s U.N. Ambassador vetoed moves against Israel.
After the vote, a statement by Mr. Netanyahu pointed out the Obama Administration “colluded” with Israel’s opponents to enable the resolution to pass. The administration angrily denied the charge.
And Mr. Trump tweeted again: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”
I agree with the president-elect’s tweet. Things will be different. Thanks to Mr. Trump’s election and other developments.
Here are multiple likely scenarios:
“There is wall-to-wall agreement within Israeli society that this is a dangerous and harmful step and won’t promote peace in any way,” said Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party to Mr. Netanyahu.
Indeed, the Obama abstention won’t encourage negotiations. It will lead to more terror against Israel. Peace will be harder to achieve.
U.N. rules stipulate that any country that stops paying dues would lose voting privileges, but billions of dollars in U.S. funding of the U.N. may be in doubt. The U.S. underwrites 22 percent of the U.N. budget.
Some U.S. Senators, including John McCain (R-AZ) ,Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) have publicly discussed defunding the U.N.
Sen. Graham, who chairs the Senate committee overseeing American U.N. payments, also indicated the countries that receive U.S. foreign aid might lose the funds because they voted against Israel.
Israel might take further action.
Already, Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal were recalled. Prime Minister Netanyahu canceled a January visit to Israel by the west African country’s foreign minister. He also cut off Israel’s aid to Senegal.
Look for more hemorrhaging of the Democrats’ influence. President Obama was elected twice, in part, by hiding his malice of Israel. But soon after his initial election in 2008, the Democrats’ decline began.
For instance, Mr. Obama’s margin of victory was smaller in his 2012 re-election. That had not occurred in previous presidential elections. Never before – the margins for winning incumbents had always been stronger.
The president’s coat tails have been nonexistent. During his tenure, Democrats lost major ground.
Republicans now dominate the House of Representatives, the Senate, an overwhelming number of state legislative office holders, and the GOP has more than 60 percent of the governorships.
The result: It amounts to a significant infrastructure favoring Republicans in future elections.
Yet, as President Obama leaves office, his sneak attack on Israel will further leave the Democrat party in shambles. Democrats, such as incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), begged Mr. Obama to veto the harmful resolution.
Jewish voters who traditionally vote for Democrats and liberal issues might change their political preferences following Mr. Obama’s betrayal of Israel. Plus, I would think Mr. Obama will infuriate Democrat donors who are pro-Israel.
Mr. Obama’s behavior is likely to guarantee that a President Trump will fulfill his vow to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. A move long sought by Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Trump will also take other measures in support of Israel.
Many Americans are likely to agree. Israel deserves better.
As Americas’s only friend in the Middle East and as the region’s sole democracy, Israel deserves generosity from Mr. Obama at Hanukkah time — not a back-stabbing.
It’s past-time for America to once again be loyal to Israel.
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“True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.”
-Henry David Thoreau