Monday, September 19, 2011

Obama's Continuing Jewish Problem

How bad is Barack Obama’s Jewish problem?

So bad that New York magazine is running an interminable cover story this morning claiming that Obama is: “The First Jewish President.”

Of course, John Heilemann is entitled to his opinion, but let’s be clear that this story is campaign propaganda. Intended as a counterpoint to last week’s election in New York’s 9th Congressional district, the one where many Jews voted Republican, it attempts to provide talking points for those Jews who want to stay on the plantation.

Unfortunately, Heilemann’s evidence for Obama’s Jewishness is thin. It amounts to: some of his best friends are Jewish.

Heilemann mentions in passing Obama’s longtime friend and Palestinian activist, Rashid Khalidi, but fails to add that the very same Khalidi signed on to a flotilla of ships that is going to try to break the Israeli embargo on Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Heilemann has nothing to say about Obama’s close, intimate, personal association with Jeremiah Wright.  For twenty years Obama sat in Wright’s pews. He made the virulently anti-Semitic Wright  his personal mentor.

Countering this with the statement that some of Obama’s best friends are Jewish is insulting to a community that has ample reason to question Obama’s commitment to Israel.

Predictably, Heilemann takes up the cudgel that Tom Friedman and other administration apologists have been weilding: he blames it all on Benjamin Netanyahu.

He explains that Obama had to emphasize the settlement issue because the Palestinians and other Arab governments told him that if Netanyahu had conceded the point on settlements all would be well, relations would be normalized, trade would flow, and peace would break out in the Middle East.

Does any sane individual believe that Israelis and Palestinians would live happily ever after if only Israel had a more compliant prime minister? Does any sane individual believe that it is a good idea to take the Palestinians at their word?

Since Heilemann’s real purpose is to manipulate Jewish voters let’s give him a little credit. Probably, he does not really believe what he is saying.

It is worth keeping in mind that the settlement issue is part of a larger issue: who owns the land on which Israel currently sits? It's not a question of who was there first. It's a question of Muslim conquest. Muslim governments believe that land once conquered in the name of Allah must always belong to Allah. They also believe that all Jews must be expelled from it. A Palestinian official said last week that the new state of Palestine would be free of Jews.

Obama wanted to pressure Israel in the name of people who want to eliminate all Jews from Palestine. Who’s kidding whom?

With the Jews all vestiges of Western values and principles and practices will also be eliminated from the Middle East.

People who do not see this are either on the Obama campaign payroll or wish they were.

Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal explains with clarity the true stakes in the Palestinian statehood issue.

In its words: “Why, then, are the Palestinians intent on winning the sort of symbolic trinket with which their cupboards are already full? The charitable explanation is that they are using the statehood bid as a gambit to get Israel to agree to various demands, including a halt in settlement construction.

“But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered a hint of his real ambition when he wrote, in the New York Times in May, that ‘Palestine's admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Criminal Court.’

“That means not the usual feckless resolutions at the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, but travel bans and international arrest warrants for Israeli soldiers involved in the ’occupation’ of a supposedly sovereign state.

“In other words, what Palestinians seek out of a U.N. vote isn't an affirmation of their right to a state, but rather another tool in their perpetual campaign to harass, delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel. ‘We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years,’ Mr. Abbas said the other day. That's another way of saying that the ‘occupation,’ in Mr. Abbas's view, began with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and not with Israel's takeover of the West Bank and Gaza after a war that threatened Israel's existence in 1967.”

We have all heard that Barack Obama would really, in his heart of hearts, love to allow the Palestinians to have a state. Were it not for Jewish voters he might well abstain in the Security Council? Does this make him a good friend of Israel or someone who is so inexperienced in foreign policy matters that he is working out of the mindset imposed by Jeremiah Wright?

If Obama were really friend to Israel, he would do as the Journal suggests: “The Obama Administration, which has wasted six months begging the Palestinians to change course, might instead announce that a declaration of Palestinian statehood in New York would lead to the closure of the Palestinian representative's office in Washington. Congress could also enact Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's bill to cut funding to the U.N. if it endorses a Palestinian state. This worked wonders the last time the Palestinians sought to have the U.N. declare their state during the George H.W. Bush Administration.

“Perhaps it's also time to rethink the fundamental desirability of a Palestinian state so long as the Palestinians remain more interested in tearing down their neighbor than in building a decent political culture of their own.”


Anonymous said...

And it is only to get worse as Turkey and Egypt, two previously reliable allies in this region, undergo fundamental changes in their position and support of Israel. While Turkey has not participated in the so-called "Arab Spring", it is becoming more and more bellicose with respect to Israel. I fear that significant concessions were made to Turkey as enticement to host a U.S. forward-based missile defense radar. Could those concessions include an agreement to not interfere with Turkey's planned blockade-running? This will be a diplomatic fiasco for all but I would not put it past the State Department.

The Ghost said...

Turkey and Egypt are spoiling for a war with Israel ... under Obama they may yet get one ...

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I agree with both of you. Have you seen David Goldman's column on the situation in Turkey: