Monday, December 24, 2012

Has Obama Become A Kinder, Gentler Friend Of Israel?

Obama's second term has not even officially started, but already there are claims that a new, more positive, relationship between Obama and Israel has begun.

In response, Barry Rubin debunks The Useful Myth that Obama Now Likes Israel. He notes the 2 basic events that are offered as proof of Obama's new attitude towards Israel:
  • The U.S. government issued routine statements of support for Israel's battle in Gaza while apparently urging it not go on too long and not include a ground attack. It didn’t go out of its way much on the issue, however, for example not rethinking the president’s love affair with the Turkish Islamist regime despite the fact that its prime minister froths at the mouth with hatred of Israel.

  • The U.S. government opposed as it always has the UN’s upgrading the PA's status. The American government realizes that such behavior is a torpedoing of the Oslo accords and peace process of which is was a guarantor.
But Rubin also notes that at the same time:
  1. It certainly didn't seem to put any real pressure on European allies who supposedly adore Obama and would be willing to listen to him to vote against the proposal and...

  2. b) There are stories which are not completely confirmed but seem authentic that the White House urged European countries and Canada to give Israel a hard time over the new construction. American officials certainly didn’t assert the absurdity of a situation in which the Palestinian Authority can reject a two-state solution repeatedly and break all of its commitments but Israel is said to destroy peace because of approving some future apartment construction.
When you get right down to it, the basis for claiming that Obama has changed and is now a friend of Israel is that the Obama administration has stopped his public attacks on Israel and is maintaining its routine positions.

But according to Rubin, this ignores a basic question:
How is it possible when U.S. policy not only loses the backing of every single European ally on an issue but on an issue of importance to the president and in which they don’t have urgent interests involved? In any other case and with any other president, the mass media and debate would be setting off alarm bells about the tremendous defeat, speaking of incompetence and a terribly weak American position.

After all, America’s allies just threw out twenty-years of a diplomatic process sponsored by the United States.
Read the whole thing.

Rubin points out that Obama stated back in 2010 that he realized that peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs was not going to be as easy as he had thought -- making his lack of pressure on Israeli concessions more an issue of pragmatism than of new-found respect.

For that matter, one would think that a real friend of Israel would not be supportive of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and would be more supportive of sanctions on Iran and enforcing them more consistently.

In the meantime,

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Empress Trudy said...

Look at it this way. IF Hagel gets the SecDef job, the US will give weapons to Hamas. Period. And it won't be limited to small arms. It will be missiles.

Daled Amos said...

My scenario is that after Hagel has drawn every possible objection, Obama withdraws Hagel's name and then gives the name of the candidate he wanted all along -- the candidate that actually looks good in comparison, despite his anti-Israel creds, simply because he doesn't have all of the extra baggage that Hagel has:

John Mearsheimer.

And then I wake up.