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  • Obama and Israel

    Posted by David Foster on September 17th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Dan Senor provides a useful summary of Obama’s attitudes and policies toward that country. Excerpts:

    • February 2008: When running for president, then-Sen. Obama told an audience in Cleveland: “There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel.”

    • July 2009: Mr. Obama hosted American Jewish leaders at the White House, reportedly telling them that he sought to put “daylight” between America and Israel…In the same meeting with Jewish leaders, Mr. Obama told the group that Israel would need “to engage in serious self-reflection.” This statement stunned the Americans in attendance: Israeli society is many things, but lacking in self-reflection isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to envision the president delivering a similar lecture to Muslim leaders.

    • March 2010: During Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, a Jerusalem municipal office announced plans for new construction in a part of Jerusalem. The president launched an unprecedented weeks-long offensive against Israel. Mr. Biden very publicly departed Israel…Moments after Mr. Biden concluded his visit to the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority held a ceremony to honor Dalal Mughrabi, who led one of the deadliest Palestinian terror attacks in history: the so-called Coastal Road Massacre that killed 38, including 13 children and an American. The Obama administration was silent. But that same day, on ABC, Mr. Axelrod called Israel’s planned construction of apartments in its own capital an “insult” and an “affront” to the United States.

    • May 2011: The State Department issued a press release declaring that the department’s No. 2 official, James Steinberg, would be visiting “Israel, Jerusalem, and the West Bank.” In other words, Jerusalem is not part of Israel.

    Read the whole thing; indeed, you might want to bookmark it for future reference.

    Also: Governor/presidential candidate Rick Perry says errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take backward steps away from peace, and Caroline Glick writes about the Palestinian obsession. Both links via Stuart Schneiderman, who finds the thinking of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy team, and the establishment leftist media as represented by the New York Times, to be so bizarre as to amount to mental illness.

     

    15 Responses to “Obama and Israel”

    1. David Foster Says:

      Martin Peretz notes that when Obama talks about countries affected by terrorism, he always leaves out Israel.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      One can’t go to Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years and have a pro Israel stance…

    3. Jonathan Says:

      While Obama is clearly hostile to Israel I think the issue goes farther. I don’t think he has much use for Jews. I suspect that many Jews (and non-Jews) believe this to be true but few will say it publicly.

      The Senor column is good as far as it goes, but it overlooks the fact that Weiner’s old Congressional district has a high proportion of religious Jews as compared to NYC overall. Religious Jews tend to be more conservative politically than do non-religious Jews.

      I think it’s crazy that so many Jews continue to support Obama and will probably vote for him again. My sense is that leftist politics substitutes for religion for many Jews who identify as Reformed.

    4. Tatyana Says:

      That is a bit simplistic, Jon.
      Most of NY Jews, religious or not, vote Democrat. This election, however, was endorsed by Mayor Koch (D) and “community activist” assemblyman Dov Hikind (D).
      Here’s what new addition to a Wiki article on Koch says:
      “In 2011, Koch, a life-long Democrat, endorsed Republican Bob Turner for Congress, because Koch “wanted to send a message to Obama to take a stronger position in support of Israel.” Many Orthodox Jews joined Koch to elect the Roman-Catholic Turner, rather than his Jewish Democrat opponent David Weprin, giving Republicans their first win in the NY-9th Congressional seat since 1923″

      Besides, in the preceding years the district consisted of roughly the same ethnic/religious groups – and voted Democratic every election since 1922. The district consist of several neighborhoods, orthodox Jewish only one among them. There is heavily Catholic Rockaway and heavily atheistic Southern Brooklyn (yes, post-Soviet Jews). And everyone in between. Who made the score in Brooklyn to be 66 (pro Turner) vs 33 (pro Weprin) -while super-religious Buchara Jews neighborhoods in Queens didn’t make the score even close.

      I will repeat after Karol:
      Republicans in Brooklyn would be smart to capitalize on this. Russians in America are natural conservatives. They lived under Communism, they’ve seen liberalism taken to its natural conclusion. There has been very little outreach from the Republican party to the Russian community in Brooklyn. Yesterday should change that.

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      “I don’t think he has much use for Jews.”

      What?

      Rahm is Jewish. Axelrod is Jewish.

      Mr. Obama has lots of Jewish supporters and Jews in his inner circle.

      He is hostile to Israel, but to American Jews? I see no basis to say this.

    6. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Lex: He can dislike Jews and still use them. Lots of southerners hated blacks, but they still used them as servants.

      That said, I would not recur to emotion to explain anything Hussein has done. His policies and actions are those of a leftist and his leftism is the most parsimonious explanation for him and his administration.

    7. Tatyana Says:

      An afterthought:

      I looked at Bob Turner’s election site. His goals are stated on the header this way:
      *Create Jobs
      *Support Small Business
      *Lower Taxes
      *Protect Social Security and Medicare
      *Secure America

      Maybe it was not such a difficult decision for Koch and Hikind and all those [traditionally voting Dem] Jews in 9th District to support him after all.

    8. David Foster Says:

      Outreach to Russian immigrants, especially Russian Jews, would make sense for the Republican party….more generally, there are dozens of demographic and interest groups that should be targeted with relevant communications. For example: the threat to the installed GPS systems represented by the Lightspeed affair should be of interest to everyone who has spent significant money on a GPS system….this includes many boaters and private pilots. Most of these people are by now probably vaguely aware of the issue, but not of the Obama administration’s role in it. Maybe they should be.

      Similarly, all homecrafters should be aware of the threat to their businesses represented by the insane “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act” and of the Democrats’ role in this. There are dozens of similar examples.

      The concept of market segmentation does not seem to be well understood by most political marketers.

    9. Tatyana Says:

      David, that proposal is close to rationale from the thread I linked to above, i.e. “people will vote their narrow group interest”, as if men are so simple and unable to differentiate between priorities. It is suprisingly popular, but still wrong. Like that “Russian American” who said that we “vote against our own interest”, because he’s convinced that Russians receive more handouts than native Americans.

      Consider this: “Russian”* Jews could belong to homecrafters or to GPS subcathegory – or they might be government employees, Medicare patients, religious zealots or cooks from a “greasy spoon” restaurant. But men are complex creatures. If someone works for Transportation Authority (or signed contract with the Army, etc) doesn’t mean that he automatically represents and agrees with everything that organization is associated with. It might just mean that in this particular point in his life he can’t find any other job – or one of a thousand other reasons.

      It is more reasonable method, I think, to judge and categorize people by their attitude to guiding principles than by minute temporary associations. In this case – post-Soviet immigrant Americans are more natural constituency for Republican Party than “homecrafters” or even “small business owners”.

      *I keep reminding people that “Russian” is a wrong unifier when speaking of post-Soviet immigrants to US. At most, we are “Russian-speaking”. When biggest chunk of us emigrated Soviet Union exactly by reason of ethnic/racial persecution by title ethnic group for NOT being Russians that qualifier is shocking, if not downright insulting.

    10. David Foster Says:

      Tatyana…the approaches aren’t mutually exclusive. Generally people will better understand the impact of a policy if it’s put in the context of something they have personal experience with. If you talk to a homecrafter about what the CPSIA has done to others in that field, and then go on to point out that similar regulatory overreach is also harming industries from manufacturing to farming to mining, it will generally have more impact than a generalized statement about the dangers of big government and overregulation.

    11. Tatyana Says:

      David, but that approach implies that if only this particular government overreach was removed, or that particular tax canceled, or another intrusive policy successfully fought off – the people who suffered under that condition were “made whole” and as a voters have nothing, no issues to tie them to libertarian platform.
      I am for wider net, not for endless fractioning. Generalized statement of principles is what we have in common.

    12. David Foster Says:

      Speaking of Lightspeed (which I mentioned a couple of comments up)…it seems that Obama was an early investor in this company.

      Not clear if he still has a position in it.

    13. Alan K. Henderson Says:

      “Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now.”

      http://nymag.com/print/?/news/politics/israel-2011-9/

    14. David Foster Says:

      “Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now.”

      Stuart Schneiderman responds.

      Barack Obama has spent his life surrounded by members of the “progressive” Left, which has since the 1960s been increasingly anti-Israel. He spent 20 years sitting in Reverend Wright’s church. What are the odds that he would have positive feelings toward Israel?

    15. David Foster Says:

      Sorry, Stuart’s response is here