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Monday, June 01, 2009

Obama may abandon Israel at the UN

The New York Times reports on Monday that the Obama administration may abandon Israel at the United Nations in a bid to pressure the Jewish state on the 'settlement' issue (Hat Tip for the image: IOwnTheWorld.com via The American Thinker).
The measures under discussion — all largely symbolic — include stepping back from America’s near-uniform support for Israel in the United Nations if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel does not agree to a settlement freeze, administration officials said.

Other measures include refraining from the instant Security Council veto of United Nations resolutions that Israel opposes and making use of Mr. Obama’s bully pulpit to criticize the settlements, officials said. Placing conditions on loan guarantees to Israel, as the first President Bush did nearly 20 years ago, is not under discussion, officials said.

Still, talk of even symbolic actions that would publicly show the United States’ ire with Israel, its longtime ally, would be a sharp departure from the previous administration, which limited its distaste with Israel’s settlement expansions to carefully worded diplomatic statements that called them “unhelpful.”

Mr. Obama is to give a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world from Egypt on Thursday. “There are things that could get the attention of the Israeli public,” a senior administration official said, touching on the widespread belief within the administration that any Israeli prime minister risks political peril if the Israeli electorate views him as endangering the country’s relationship with the United States.

But, the official added, “Israel is a critical United States ally, and no one in this administration expects that not to continue.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
At the American Thinker, Rick Moran believes that Obama is misreading the Israeli public.
On matters of national security - which most Israelis see the settlement issue - the public is supportive. The idea that the US-Israeli relationship is more important to the Israeli people than the security that the settlements give the Jewish state is almost certainly wrong. This is especially true if Netanyahu can paint the administration's demands on a settlement freeze as unreasonable and unachievable - as indeed they are. Obama's "no growth" demand is laughable. Not only has the Obama administration demanded that Israel stop construction but that there should be no allowance for "natural growth" of the settlements.
Rick is correct. The idea that Israelis who live over the 1949 armistice line would have to eschew having children to avoid 'natural growth' is so ridiculous that almost no Israeli Jews take it seriously. This is especially true in Jerusalem (which, as noted, the Obama administration includes as part of the 'settlement freeze'), which the vast majority of Israelis believe should remain united under Israeli rule in any final settlement with the 'Palestinians.'

How strong is the consensus among Israeli Jews that we should be allowed to continue to build without limitation, at least in Jerusalem and in the 'settlement blocs'? Consider this: The arrangement with the Bush administration, regarding where Israel could build beyond the 1949 armistice line and under what circumstances, was made by Ariel Sharon and continued by Ehud Olmert. When Condoleezza Rice tried to get Olmert to agree to a building freeze toward the end of Bush's second term, even Olmert refused.

While Abu Mazen may be waiting for Obama to topple the Netanyahu government and bring Tzipi Livni to power, Livni is less likely to agree to a freeze than Olmert might have been, and it's doubtful Livni could form a coalition in the current Knesset that would not be dependent on parties that would resist a freeze.

Rick Moran is correct when he argues that, as important as our relationship with the United States is, Israelis will not sacrifice their security for it. If anything, the kind of tactics discussed in the Times article are likely to make Israeli Jews (who are around 80% of the country's voters) rally around the flag and support Netanyahu even more.

Unless Obama is willing to follow Samantha Power's advice and send troops to fight us, he won't get away with treating us like the Chrysler bondholders.


At 5:17 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

And the liberal Jews who were silent 65 years ago will still donate and support hussein obama.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

There is a good op-ed in JPost by Sarah Honig here:


which chastises Bibi for failing to capitalize on his meeting and press conference with Obama to call attention to the value and legitimacy of the settlements. I strongly agree with Honig. Successive Israeli governments have failed miserably to make the historical, legal, and security case for Jewish communities in J&S nor have they recounted the tragic history of Jerusalem (for Jews and Christians) while under Arab control.

The Israel-hating global media, i.e., Reuters, BBC, NYT, offer almost nil column space to Israeli officials to make their case to a worldwide audience. Imagine if during his press conference with Obama, Bibi had calmly asserted that while other issues were negotiable, Jerusalem would under no circumstances be divided. Sure, Obama would probably have had an aneurism, but that would have been that. During the campaign, Obama himself stated that Jerusalem was and always would be the undivided capital of Israel (before reversing himself the next day) and following Bibi's pronouncement, the issue would for all intents and purposes, be off the table.

I would love to see the headline on the front page of the NYT.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The US could cut off aid to Israel but Israel is strong enough to do without it and the US would be foolish to throw away its only real leverage with Jerusalem on a peripheral matter. Yet it seems that is what Obama wants to do. He seems to think Israelis value their relationship with Washington to such an extent they are willing to compromise on their national security to preserve it. I believe his reading in that regard is almost certainly wrong. The relationship exists in the first place to help protect Israel's security. That is the reason any country has allies and no country will sacrifice what it perceives to be its national interest. To be sure, the US is a superpower but while Israelis respect America, that respect ends when the US is viewed as pushing Israel around. If the US seeks to push ahead with this needless confrontation, it will lose and peace will not be brought any closer. Punishing Israel is guaranteed to produce the opposite of what America would like to see happen in the Middle East.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

Norman, I agree that Israel must do what is in her best interests but the real leverage America wields is not the $3 billion in financial assistance but her veto in the UN without which the Arab League and OIC would have a field day introducing anti-Israel resolutions -- including calls for boycotts.

Normally, Israel would be able to rely on Congress to act as a counterweight to such an anti-Israel president and his agenda but as evidenced by recent statements from Ackerman and Wexler, that buttress may no longer be operative.

At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm shocked by this; we are supposed to be allies! I'm hoping H'S will take care of BHO.


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