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Two Views: Obama and Israel 1
August 31st, 2012
The following is an assessment of President Barack Obama’s record regarding Israel.
It illustrates that, despite his claims of being a stalwart supporter of this ally, the combination of his mentors, Middle East advisors, honorees, statements, policies, financial assistance, and military assistance prove the opposite.
The primary mentors in Obama's life have been anti-Israel, starting with poet and activist Frank Marshall Davis in Hawaii through Reverend Jeremiah Wright in Chicago. All Obama’s friends and colleagues in Chicago were anti-Israel including historian Rashid Khalidi, Syrian white-collar criminal Tony Rezko, and former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
Whilecampaigningforpresident in 2008, Obama assembled a group of advisors to assist him in developing his foreign policy. There was not a single pro-Israel advisor among them. They included:
• Palestinian advocate Robert Malley and former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, both of whom blamed Israel rather than Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat for the failure of the 2000 Camp David talks.
• Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who defended the Stephen Walt-John Meersheimer thesis that U.S. Middle East policy is a product of the “Israel lobby.”
• Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), the biggest supporter of the anti-Israel Arab lobby in Congress.
In office, Obama appointed as Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who authored a 2001 report blaming the conflict on “settlement activity” and said nothing about Arab terrorism and Arab refusal to accept Israel’s existence.
Obama appointed to head the National Intelligence Council Chas Freeman, who had been president of Middle East Policy Council, an Arab-funded think tank.
Obama appointed as Senior Foreign Policy advisor Samantha Power, author of “A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide” (2003). In a 2002 interview with Harry Kreisler, director of the Institute for International Studies at Berkeley, Power called for military intervention in Israel to secure the creation of a Palestinian state and named one of the top U.S. foreign policy problems “support for Israel.”
Obama did not appoint one pro-Israel person to a foreign policy position.
Obama in August 2009 gave the U.S. Medal of Freedom Award to Mary Robinson, the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, who was secretary general of the Durban Conference in 2001 that equated Zionism with racism.
Obama has made many anti-Israel statements, but the most significant and disturbing were in his speech in Cairo June 4, 2009. He compared the suffering of Arabs in “occupation” to Jews in the Holocaust, equating Israel with the Nazis.
He decried the “dislocation” of Arabs due to “occupation,” but put the blame totally on Israel, and failed to acknowledge the refusal of Arabs to accept Israel.
Obama refused to admit that 750,000 Jews were dislocated from Arab countries at the same time as Arab dislocation and refused to acknowledge that great majority of Arabs left on their own accord.
He deplored “continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” but failed to acknowledge the daily truckloads of medicine and supplies Israel allows in.
Obama confirmed the Arab view that Jews were given Israel because of the Holocaust, denying 3,500 years of history. Obama never called on Arabs to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Obama stated that Islam has a proud tradition of religious “tolerance,” denying centuries of persecution of Jews and Christians in Muslim lands.
Elsewhere,Obama has demanded complete halt to construction in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, and supported final borders to be the pre-1967 borders and an end to all “settlements.” Therefore, Obama supports the expulsion of all Jews from the new Arab state and a divided Jerusalem.
Obama has pressured Israel to allow Arabs to build illegally thousands of homes in Jerusalem and requested Congress to allow financial aid to any Arab government even if it is or includes Hamas.
The U.S. under Obama has given $3 billion in aid to Israel, but according to the Congressional Research Service report “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel” by Jeremy M. Sharp this amount was formulated, promised, and set in motion by Bush in 2007.
To his credit, Obama did not veto this aid, but this was not his idea nor was it his program. Furthermore, Bush had wanted to double this to $6 billion. Does Obama?
Obama has agreed to sell about $100 billion in offensive weaponry including helicopters, F-16s, missiles, boats, and bombs to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt, but has refused all similar requests by Israel except for F-35s (about $10 billion).
The CRS report notes that the Bush administration sold to Israel or co-developed bunker buster bombs, as well as a series of short, medium, and long range missile defense systems including Iron Dome that were to be delivered in 2007 and 2008. Of the above systems, Obama has so far only followed through and provided $275 million for the Iron Dome batteries.
On the other hand, Obama attempted to cut the U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation appropriations every year by about 10-20 million, but Congress restored these funds.
The ratio of weapons sold to Israel’s enemies relative to Israel by Obama is 10 to 1, and all of the weapons destined for Israel under Obama, except the F-35, are defensive and were planned and initiated by Bush, not Obama.
Ralph Peters, former deputy chief of staff for intelligence, summarizes this record when he said in an April 1, 2010, interview published on the Arutz Sheva website: “This is our first anti-Israeli President; it’s bewildering and astonishing.”
Ivan M. Lang D.V.M., Ph.D., is professor of medicine and director of the Dysphagia Research Laboratory of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Nancy Weiss-McQuide is a Milwaukee-area actor, choreographer, writer, dance instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, volunteer at several Milwaukee Jewish organizations, and a devotee of Yiddish. Both are active in the Committee for Truth and Justice, a Milwaukee Israel advocacy group.