Thursday, April 01, 2010

Israel-US dustup

A guest post by Rabba bar bar Chana

There’s been a huge fight between the US and Israel over settlements. The US President demanded that Israel halt all settlement activity, but the Prime Minister of Israel, leader of the Likud party, refused. The president put tremendous pressure on Israel. According to the New York Times,
“supporters of Israel said the Administration had indicated to them that (the president’s) angry comments… at a news conference on Thursday were only the first stage in the White House offensive.”
Right wing Jewish media outlets became hysterical and declared that the president was doing irrevocable damage to the special relationship between Israel and America. The president was called an anti-Semite in the living rooms of Flatbush and Passaic. The president even threatened to withhold badly needed loan guarantees from Israel unless she complied with his demands.

Wait – what? What do you mean? Obama hasn’t put financial pressure on Israel. All that’s come out of the administration is some strongly worded rebukes.

Oh, right. That’s because the above occurrence refers to the disagreement between George H.W. Bush and Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir in 1991. And guess what? The relationship between the US and Israel was never severed in the 18 years since then. The United States remained Israel’s steadfast ally.

And about those loan guarantees; Can any of you who are calling Obama the worst US president for Israel ever point to any sort of similar pressure Obama is putting on Israel? Can you quote a current administration official saying about Jews upset over the dustup “F--- ‘em. They didn’t vote for us anyway”? No, that was James Baker, of the Bush 41 administration.

As much as the right wing Jewish community and the Israeli populace went after Bush at the time, it pales in comparison to the hatred and scorn they’re pouring on Obama now.

So my message here is basically, chill out. Has Obama made missteps on Israel? Yes. Did Netanyahu make missteps? Yes. But this isn’t the end of the alliance between the two countries. And Obama’s actually a pretty decent friend of Israel, if you just get a little perspective and stop insisting that “Barack Hussein Obama” wants to destroy Israel.

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