Obama Attacks Israel; Netanyahu fights back
While President Obama faces a host of foreign-policy challenges—a resurgent al-Qaeda, a defiantRussia, a confrontational China, and a nuclear obsessed Iran—only a week before his inauguration for a second term he chose to bash his favorite foreign target, the State of Israel.
With all his foreign-policy problems, the president remains determined to maintain a full-court press against America’s strongest Middle East ally. There is simply no end to his self-righteous and condescending criticism of the only true democracy and free people in the region.
In an obvious White House leak, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in The Atlantic, delivered Obama’s latest verdict on Israel’s internal policies and a thinly veiled jab at Prime Minister Netanyahu.
According to Goldberg, Obama said that Israel’s settlement policy, and its strong defense by Netanyahu, reveal that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” Each new settlement, Obama concluded, leads Israel further down a path to near total isolation. The president believes that such isolation will make it impossible to achieve the much-lauded two state solution, the solution that he and others advocate to the long simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Campaigning for reelection, it took Netanyahu only 24 hours to reply. In a visit to defense installations near Gaza, the Prime Minister answered the president’s conclusion that Israel misunderstands its own best interests.
“I think everyone understands that only Israel’s citizens are those who will be the ones to determine who faithfully represents Israel’s vital interests,” Netanyahu said.
The Obama-Netanyahu conflict was a constant during the president’s first term. Now Obama is at it again, stoking the conflict between those who believe what is best for Israel and Israel’s right to determine the best course for the future and the best chance for peace.
What President Obama and Israel’s legions of critics fail to grasp is that Israel is not isolated by its policies; it is isolated by its enemies. Since its founding nearly 65 years ago, the State of Israel has been surrounded by a united Arab front determined to destroy the Jewish state.
In fact, the fighting started right after Israel was founded as a sovereign nation with UN blessing in May of 1948. That conflict and a series of subsequent wars were won decisively by Israel. Failing to win on the battlefield, the anti-Israel forces, ones that dominate the United Nations, are determined to win in the court of public opinion and international organizations.
The latest move came in November when the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade the status of the Palestinians. It was that vote, and Israel’s subsequent pursuit of additional settlements, that reportedly prompted Obama’s dismissal of Israel’s ability to determine its own best interests.
Truth be told, the two state solution is a myth. It will never be achieved as long as Israel’s enemies advocate destruction of the Jewish state. Israel does not and has never had a so-called peace partner willing to engage in meaningful negotiations. It has a determined enemy that will never denounce violence and the ultimate destruction of the Jewish people.
Obama has cast lot with the two-state mirage. He never misses an opportunity to criticize and even humiliate Netanyahu. He pays lip service to Israel’s defense and America’s devotion to the Jewish state, but his actions betray his rhetoric. His nomination of Chuck Hagel, the former Senator from Nebraska, as defense secretary shows his true sentiments toward Israel and his willingness to pander to Israel’s critics.
Obama has met his match in Netanyahu. The Prime Minister is poised to achieve victory in Israel’s upcoming election. His party’s success will make him the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, the most revered leader in Israel’s history as a modern nation.
Clearly the Obama-Netanyahu conflict will continue, but it will not be resolved. Netanyahu is a champion of Israeli values. He will not yield. Like many presidents before him, Obama will learn the hard lesson that Israel knows exactly what its best interests are, and will never be intimidated or forced into abject surrender to those who seek her destruction.