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  • Obama, the Democrats, and Israel

    Posted by David Foster on October 15th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Speaking in France, Jesse Jackson expanded on the ways in which American foreign policy will change in an Obama administration:

    Prepare for a new America: That’s the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week.

    He promised “fundamental changes” in US foreign policy – saying America must “heal wounds” it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the “arrogance of the Bush administration.”

    The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end.

    Jackson believes that, although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

    While predicting that the Obama administration will implement drastic changes in domestic policy as well, Jackson declined to be specific about what might be done. He was more willing to be concrete with regard to foreign policy, specifically the Middle East:

    Jackson is especially critical of President Bush’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    “Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss,” Jackson says. “Barack will change that,” because, as long as the Palestinians haven’t seen justice, the Middle East will “remain a source of danger to us all.”

    More at Power Line.

    Jackson doesn’t have authority to speak for Obama, of course. But the attitudes he expresses here are disturbingly common in the higher reaches of the Democratic Party.

    Anyone who cares about the survival and well-being of Israel needs to consider very carefully before voting for any Democratic candidate. Because American diplomatic and military support for Israel has a clear inverse relationship with the power and influence of the Democratic Party as it stands today.

    And Israel’s safety is something all Americans should care about, for the same reasons Europeans and Americans should have been concerned about the safety of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

    UPDATE: See this analysis, which was published yesterday in the Israeli internet publication ynet.

     

    22 Responses to “Obama, the Democrats, and Israel”

    1. ToddK Says:

      Jackson doesn’t speak for Obama, but all of Obama’s circle and hardcore supporters know where he comes down on any issue dealing with Israel.
      They’re just not supposed to voice it.
      Any Jew voting Obama is suicidal.

    2. Helen Says:

      Oh dear, not Czechoslovakia and 1938 again. Let me remind you that the Czech government did not give the order to fight for Sudetenland. Besides, America is not asked to send troops to support Israel.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Lex and I were discussing this issue by email. Here’s what I wrote:

      —-

      That Jewish liberals are idiots goes without saying.

      But never mind. Look at Jackson.

      He lost the contest for leadership of the American black Left. Obama won.

      Now, with Obama on the edge of national power, Jesse appears to be selling access. It looks like he is up to his old tricks.

      The question is, does Jesse really have anything to sell? It’s not as though Obama needs him anymore.

      It could be that Obama really will do the things that Jackson claims he will do. Or it could be that Obama conned Jackson, just as Obama has conned many other people, of diverse ideological persuasions.

      We will learn the truth about Obama soon enough if he wins.

    4. Jay Manifold Says:

      So assuming an Obama victory, what actions does Israel acquire a strong incentive to carry out between November 4th and January 20th?

    5. Jonathan Says:

      I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think Israel is likely to attack Iran soon. The current Israeli govt is unprecedentedly wrongheaded, weak and indecisive.

    6. Mrs. Davis Says:

      I liked the option I read elsewhere this morning. Israel drops a ship or two going into or out of Iran. Insurance rates for ships headed to Iran skyrockets and imports and export cease. The Iranian people do the rest.

    7. Shannon Love Says:

      I think we can safely say that Obama supports the “Palestinians as the hapless victims of evil Israel” model of the conflict in which it logically follows that Israel must make all the concrete concessions whereas Palestinians just have to give verbal assurances to “try” to make things better on their end.

      Fortunately, I believe that institutional inertia will protect Israel for some time. In the long run, Israel probably doesn’t need America anyway. They have nukes.

    8. david foster Says:

      Israel needs America, at a minimum, as a source of military and dual-use technology.

      I can easily imagine a Democratic administration giving Israel the following choice: either you agree to (some unwise and possibly-suicidal policy) or you will get no more JDAMs, Patriot missiles, high-performance signal processing chips, etc etc etc.

      Remember, “boycott Israel” movements are already very common among the American and European Left.

    9. Bradley Says:

      Has the security of Israel benefitted from the current administration’s support of Israel? Hamas was democatically elected under the Bush Admin. It is difficult to see our foreign policy get much worse.

      Obama has already denouced Jackson’s remarks.

      Has Obama ever taken an anti-Israel stance as an elected official?
      Or is this another post where facts do not matter.

    10. Jay Manifold Says:

      Psst, Bradley: Iraq. Libya.

    11. david foster Says:

      See this analysis from the Israeli Internet publication Ynet.

    12. Jay Manifold Says:

      David – Link doesn’t work.

    13. david foster Says:

      Jay–This link should work.

    14. Bradley Says:

      I forgot I uusually have to spell things out. I will type this slowly.

      What specific anti-Israel vote, action, or statement has Obama made.

      We can argue about inuendo or world view which is one thing and legitimate for debate. For example, I think the Bush Admin Israel policy has made it more dangerous because it has give Hamas more legitimacy.

      But above there are serious accusations which are innuendo and are contrary to Obamas actions. I know it is tough for you guys but lets just try to talk about a thing called facts.

    15. Bradley Says:

      By the way, Eventhough I have only been to Israel twice, I am very strong supporter of Israel and, in the original sense, would consider myself a zionist.

    16. Jonathan Says:

      Some of us may interpret the facts differently than you do.

      Obama is a leftist. Leftists tend to be hostile to Israel. Leftists who aren’t overtly hostile to Israel often believe that Israel should be conciliatory to its enemies, and/or that robust self-defense by Israel is undesirable. IOW, even leftists who like Israel favor policies that harm Israel (Bill Clinton is a good example).

      Obama is on record as supporting ineffectual measures against our enemies who are also Israel’s enemies, notably Iran. Our talking to Iran (about what?) encourages Iranian aggression.

      Obama has allied himself politically with people who are hostile to Israel, notably Wright, Farrakhan and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

      Yes, now that he is running for president Obama says that he supports Israel. Given his history of saying whatever he needs to say to get elected, I don’t believe him.

    17. Bradley Says:

      Jonathan,

      I am sorry but in my mind, a fact is a fact! You have not given any direct example that have contradict his actiions. You mention alliance with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. But what about his alliance with Joe Biden, who has history on record of being very supportive of Israel.

      Again, all of your exampmles are innuendo. Whether you feel getting into talks with Iran (agree with Kisinger, Baker, Powell, etc) is detrimental to Israel is a reasonable debate. But you still have not provided a direct example. And they call Liberals touchy-feel.

    18. Ginny Says:

      Sites you may not feel sufficient citation, but, then, I would generally assume that a spokesman speaks for “the man.” That has not always been Obama’s position, of course. But here are two Commentary discussions:
      Samantha
      Powers

      Max Boot argues she is not anti-Israel; Powerline wrestles

      (Not a lot of help Jonathan, but a stealth candidate doesn’t leave as many “facts” as one who has been actively engaged for the last forty years. To me, this doesn’t seem too different than what disturbs my friend – that his “pro-life” friends can even consider, let alone campaign for, Obama. Neither of these are my issues, but they add up to someone like me who has some sympathy for both these causes.)

    19. david foster Says:

      Ginny…your first link (the one that goes with “Samantha”)doesn’t work.

      Another Obama advisor who raises concerns is Merrill McPeak, his national campaign co-chair. This 2003 interview suggests that McPeak regards American supports of Israel as a primary obstacle–maybe THE primary obstacle–to Middle East peace.

    20. david foster Says:

      That last comment was supposed to say “McPeak regards American SUPPORTERS of Israel as a primary obstacle”

    21. Ginny Says:

      Here it is: (hope it works this time)

      http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people2/Power/power-con5.html

      Discussion in The New Republic of Obama’s foreign policy advisors:

      http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_spine/archive/2007/12/30/obama-and-race.aspx

      Peretz is more disturbed by Malley:

      It is true that Malley was on Bill Clinton’s staff at Camp David when Ehud Barak had all the juice squeezed out of him to satisfy Yassir Arafat. But he was the only American in attendance to blame the failure of the negotiations on Israel, not least in The New York Review of Books, whose prior experts on the conflict were Noam Chomsky and I.F. Stone. . . . Malley also showed his colors with his attempt to coin a new nomenclature for the Israeli villages and towns in the West Bank, from “settlements” to “colonies.” Why would Obama name Malley to his team? You ask me. I ask him.

    22. Vince P Says:

      Considering that Obama has spent his entire life around Post-Colonialist Far left Anti America Radicals it’s safe to say he’s Anti-Israel and Anti-Zionist.

      American security is linked with Israel’s security. If one is destroyed, so goes the other.

      Look up “First Comes Saturday then comes Sunday” in google or search engine if you don’t believe me.