Far from backing down, Obama doubles down....
WSJ pundit Bret Stephens dubs this the "Orwellian presidency":
There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.
He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.
He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working.
To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.
NY Post columnist Michael Goodwin details Obama's crusade against top Mideast ally Israel:
His visceral dislike for Netanyahu is genuine, but also serves as a convenient fig leaf for his visceral dislike of Israel. The fact that it’s personal with Netanyahu doesn’t explain six years of trying to bully Israelis into signing a suicide pact with Muslims bent on destroying them. Netanyahu’s only sin is that he puts his nation’s security first and refuses to knuckle under to Obama’s endless demands for unilateral concessions.
That refusal is now the excuse to act against Israel. Consider that, for all the upheaval around the world, the president rarely has a cross word for, let alone an open dispute with, any other foreign leader. He calls Great Britain’s David Cameron “bro” and praised Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, who had called Zionists, “the descendants of apes and pigs.”
Obama asked Vladimir Putin for patience, promising “more flexibility” after the 2012 election, a genuflection that earned him Russian aggression. His Asian pivot was a head fake, and China is exploiting the vacuum. None of those leaders has gotten the Netanyahu treatment, which included his being forced to use the White House back door on one trip, and the cold shoulder on another.
Elliott Abrams wonders if Democrats will check Obama's campaign to abandon Israel:
Obama’s lecturing Israel, the region’s only real democracy, two days after a totally free election, is quite amazing — considering that in June 2009, for example, he stayed dead silent while the ayatollahs crushed the Green Movement and its demands for democracy in Iran. Many people consider Netanyahu’s remark unwise or offensive for various reasons, but the Obama interpretation is illogical and indefensible. . . .
What’s happening here is not a reasonable U.S. reaction to what Netanyahu said, but an effort by Obama to find some excuse, any excuse, to change our policy toward Israel. Republicans will fight such a change. But the coming weeks and months may be a test of Israel’s self-proclaimed supporters in the Democratic party, among them Hillary Clinton. Will they let Obama get away with abandoning Israel like this?
NRO's Rich Lowry ups the ante, saying that Obama hates Israel with "a burning passion." Symptomatic of this is how Obama has exploited Netanyahu's unwise comments re Arab voters. CBlog's Jonathan Tobin explains what Obama partisans ignore--the poisonous coalition that comprises the Arab List, united in one thing: antipathy towards the idea of a Jewish Israel:
Whatever one may think about Netanyahu and his overheated campaign rhetoric, his comments about Arab votes simply reflected the reality of a democratic system that remains under assault from both within and without. No one in the government attempted to obstruct the efforts of Israeli Arabs to vote. Nor were their votes stolen. The rights of those Arab voters who backed the Joint Arab List that won 13 seats last week (many Arabs vote for mainstream Israeli parties, some of whom including the Likud have Arab Knesset members) were not violated. If they are marginalized, as some claim, it is not because Netanyahu and his voters are racist but because they support the Palestinian war on the Jewish state. The goals of those elected on that list have somehow not penetrated to the consciousness of many Americans that are so concerned about them. The list is an alliance of three parties, one Communist, one Islamist and radical Arab nationalist, that differ on just about everything but not the destruction of Israel. That is something they all support. The Islamists and the nationalists also support terrorism against the state they are elected to serve in the Knesset. Is it any wonder that Israelis worry about the rise of such a list or that Netanyahu would urge them not to let it determine the outcome of the elections by themselves turning out in big numbers as they did?
Marco Rubio's recent Senate floor speech (15:27) combines compelling facts, clarity & passion, in support of Israel & opposition to the administration's behavior. He asked how much better the Mideast would be if the region looked more like Israel, and less like Iraq, Syria, etc. MR noted that there has not been "a single, unconditional condemnation of Palestinian terror." He noted that Obama declined to comment on Iran's patently fraudulent 2009 presidential contest, justifying silence by asserting that saying anything would amount to "infringing on Israeli sovereignty." He noted that Obama quickly congratulated sundry dictators who won, including Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi's 2012 victory in Egypt. He noted that the Palestine Authority spends six percent of its funds on aid to terrorist prisoners. In all, the senator unleashed a devastating indictment of Team Obama and the Palestinians. MR lambasted Obama's policies as "outrageous, irresponsible and dangerous."
Now, Noah Pollak recounts how Bill Clinton dealt with a far harder line speech by Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin:
The prime minister rejected full Palestinian statehood, instead saying that "we would like this to be an entity which is less than a state." He rejected withdrawing to the 1967 lines, declaring that "the borders of the State of Israel...will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines."
The prime minister said more. He rejected any division of Jerusalem or creation of a Palestinian capital there. He called for a "united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev—as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty." He also demanded that other major communities over the 1967 lines, some quite far over the 1967 lines, be retained as part of Israel, including Gush Etzion, Efrat, and Beitar.
He even rejected an eventual Israeli military withdrawal from the West Bank, insisting on retaining a presence in the Jordan Valley, which forms the border between the West Bank and Jordan. "The security border of the State of Israel," he declared, "will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term."
Clinton, NP notes, did not respond to Rabin's departure from US policy with the streams of invective--"fury," "fuming," "enraged," "loathsome," "racism"--that have greeted Netanyahu's merely speaking the elementary truth, i.e., that current Mideast conditions militate against establishing a Palestinian state:
Thus the crisis we are witnessing is nothing more than the contrivance of a president who has a very personal and very intense animosity toward the Jewish state and the leader Israelis have elected four times as their prime minister. There is a sliver of strategic logic to Obama's assault: He prefers Netanyahu in a defensive crouch as he attempts to conclude negotiations that will legitimize the Iranian nuclear program. But the obsessiveness of the attacks and the obvious satisfaction the president and his advisors take in making them suggest there is little strategic thinking at work. They attack Israel constantly because they enjoy attacking Israel.
Worse, Obama's people perpetuate the utter fiction that Rabin would have gone along with Obama's policies.
Bottom Line. President Obama's escalating animus towards Israel promises to do real, permanent damage to the special relationship between the two countries. Israeli voters now know that an anti-Israel president can not only be elected, but re-elected. Thus American voters' support for Israel does not determine for whom they vote for president.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, National Security, Conservative Politics