Israelis live in the real world, and they get Obama's hostility to themtoo kind to President Obama.
Yet there is little if any trust in Obama in Israel, even among those who self-identify as center-left or left. That’s my observation after traveling for two weeks in Israel in late May and early June.
My wife and I traveled from the Lebanese to Gaza borders, and much of what was in between. We visited with a survivor of a school bus bombing, the families of terror victims, Israeli Bedouins, faculty and staff at Israeli universities, physicians treating Syrian war wounded, the security manager in Sderot along the Gaza border, and everyday people.
For whatever the reason, almost all of the people with whom we interacted self-identified as center-left or left. In Israeli terms, that means these are people who did not support Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, or any of the religious-based parties, in last March’s election.
There was no shortage of criticism of Netanyahu from this crowd: He’s egotistical, he doesn’t keep his tough promises, he is only interested in his own political survival, he’s a liar, his pre-election comment about Arab voting was shameful, and so on.
Yet with only a couple of exceptions, the negative comments always were followed with a big BUT.
But Netanyahu is the only Israeli politician who has the stature to handle the world pressure; but I don’t envy the position he is in with so many forces against us; but opposition leader Yitzhak “Bougie” Herzog is weak and no one will fear him; and so on.
These big BUTS were consistent with the polling and the election results in March. A majority of Israelis voted for a political party other than Netanyahu’s Likud, but as a whole the electorate viewed Netanyahu as the only Israeli politician capable of standing up for Israel in a hostile world.
Dislike of Netanyahu, however, did not seem to translate into support for Obama on the Iran deal.I met with Professor Jacobson (and not for the first time). I am not Center-Left. I didn't vote in the last election because I was traveling on business (no absentee ballots in Israel), but if I had, I would have voted for Likud or a religious party. His depiction of Israelis' views of Obama is accurate... to a point.
What Professor Jacobson left out is that many of us feel that it's not just that Obama is a delusional optimist. Shimon Peres is a delusional optimist. But no Israeli (or very few Israelis) would accuse Shimon Peres of deliberately setting out to destroy the State of Israel. Many Israelis - yours truly included - believe that President Obama's goal is to destroy the State of Israel or to leave it so emasculated at the end of his term that it will remain for the Islamists to pick up the pieces.
Yes, I believe that President Obama would like to see the State of Israel destroyed (so does Michael Oren). I believe that he's an anti-Semite - as simple as that. And I believe that once he is out of office, his hostility to Jews and to Israel will come out into the open, just like Jimmy Carter's did nearly 40 years ago. As Victor Davis Hanson said in a Foreign Policy interview:
(2) Israel--democratic, capitalist, Western, pro-American--is emblematic of all the things that Obama in the past has been skeptical about, since Israel appreciates our values, history, and what we stand for. Again, this is passé for Obama--as if one in a Columbia University seminar on post-imperialism were to raise his hand and declare, "Isn't it great that Israel is a beacon of democracy and Western values in the region?"
Imagine the reaction of the professor and students to that poor fellow, and, presto, there is what bothers Obama about Israel. In domestic policy terms, Israel is like the present health care system, Wall Street, the 5% who need their taxes raised, "they" who raised the bar, the insurance companies, etc., the Palestinians more like the victimized, poor American middle and under classes.
We Israelis got Obama's hostility to Israel in 2008, we got it as soon as he came into office in 2009, and we continue to get it. I know that I told Professor Jacobson this outright. I wonder whether others did.