From an Israeli perspective, Pres. Barack Obama’s speech today in Cairo was deeply disturbing. Both rhetorically and programmatically, Obama’s speech was a renunciation of America’s strategic alliance with Israel.
Rhetorically, Obama’s sugar coated the pathologies of the Islamic world — from the tyranny that characterizes its regimes, to the misogyny, xenophobia, Jew hatred, and general intolerance that characterizes its societies. In so doing he made clear that his idea of pressing the restart button with the Islamic world involves erasing the moral distinctions between the Islamic world and the free world.
In contrast, Obama’s perverse characterization of Israel — of the sources of its legitimacy and of its behavior — made clear that he shares the Arab world’s view that there is something basically illegitimate about the Jewish state.
In 1922 the League of Nations mandated Great Britain to facilitate the reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan River. The international community’s decision to work towards the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in Israel owed to its recognition of the Jewish people’s legal, historic, and moral rights to our homeland.
Arab propaganda finds this basic and fundamental truth inconvenient. So for the past 60 years, the Arabs have been advancing the fiction that Israel’s existence owes solely to European guilt over the Holocaust. As far as the Arabs are concerned, the Jews have no legal, historic, or moral right to what the Arabs see as Islamic land.
In his address, while Obama admonished the Arabs for their pervasive Jew hatred and Holocaust denial, he effectively accepted and legitimized their view that Israel owes its existence to the Holocaust when he said, “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied,” and then went on to talk about the Holocaust.
Just as abominably, Obama compared Israel to Southern slave owners and Palestinians to black slaves in the antebellum south. He used the Arab euphemism “resistance” to discuss Palestinian terrorism, and generally ignored the fact that every Palestinian political faction is also a terrorist organization.
In addition to his morally outrageous characterization of Israel and factually inaccurate account of its foundations, Obama struck out at the Jewish state through the two policies he outlined in his address. His first policy involves coercing Israel into barring all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (otherwise known as the West Bank), and Jerusalem.
Obama claims that this policy will increase prospects for peace. But this is untrue. As Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas made clear in his Washington Post interview last week, Obama’s trenchant campaign against Jewish construction in these areas has convinced the Palestinians they have no reason to be flexible in their positions towards Israel. Indeed, Obama’s assault on Israeli construction and his unsubstantiated, bigoted claim that the presence of Jews in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem impedes progress towards peace ensures that there will be no agreement whatsoever between Israel and the Palestinians.
After all, why would the Palestinians make a deal with Israel when they know that Obama will blame Israel for the absence of a peace agreement?
Even more strategically devastating than his castigation of Israel as the villain in the Arab-Israel conflict is Obama’s stated policy towards Iran. In Cairo, Obama offered Iran nuclear energy in exchange for its nuclear-weapons program. This offer has been on the table since 2003 and has been repeatedly rejected by the Iranians. Indeed, they rejected it yet again last week.
Obama must know that his policy will not lead to the hoped for change in Iran’s behavior. And since he must know this, the only rational explanation for his decision to adopt a policy he knows will fail is that he is comfortable with the idea of Iran becoming a nuclear power. And this is something that Israel cannot abide by.
The only silver lining for Israelis from the president’s speech in Cairo and his general positions on the Middle East is that Obama has overplayed his hand. Far from bending to his will, a large majority of Israelis perceives Obama as a hostile force and has rallied in support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu against the administration. This public support gives Netanyahu the maneuver room he needs to take the actions that Israel needs to take to defend against the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran and to assert its national rights and to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists and other Arab and non-Arab anti-Semites who wish it ill.
— Caroline B. Glick is the senior fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Center for Security Policy and the senior contributing editor of The Jerusalem Post.Short URL:
The End of America’s Strategic Alliance with Israel?
Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 16:01:59 EDT in Hebrews