Two weeks ago, President Barack
Obama opened a diplomatic war on Israel. The proximate cause of his offensive
was the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Board’s decision to approve
the future construction of 1,600 housing units in northern Jerusalem.
The goal of the assault is twofold. First,
it seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Israel’s control over Jerusalem in
order to weaken Israel’s standing among the American public. As Obama advisor
Martin Indyk mocked, Obama’s onslaught against Israel has made the Netanyahu government
“supersensitive,” about Jerusalem.
Second, as Obama’s advisors
explained to The Atlantic, through his unprecedented attacks on Israel’s
right to sovereignty over its capital city, Obama is working to topple Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government in the hopes of replacing it with a
leftist government led by Tzipi Livni and Kadima.
It is a startling turn of events.
Obama of course was elected to the presidency with the overwhelming support of
the American Jewish community. Part of that support – which netted him 78
percent of the Jewish vote — was based on his repeated assertion that he is
absolutely committed to Israel’s security.
Obama’s expressed desire to
overthrow the democratically elected government of Israel stands in contrast to
his refusal to acknowledge the basic illegitimacy of the Iranian regime he
seeks to appease. That government is founded on last June’s stolen presidential
elections which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power amidst massive opposition
from the Iranian people. And of course, the Iranian regime which Obama coddles is
publicly developing nuclear weapons with the declared purpose of destroying
Israel; serves as the leading state sponsor of terrorism; and according to the
US and British militaries is training al Qaida and Taliban fighters to kill US
and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In an interview with ABC News in
January, Obama made clear that the transformative change he pledged to bring to
America during the 2008 presidential campaign remained the goal of his
administration. Indeed, he made clear that to enact the sort of unpopular,
radical domestic and foreign policies he favors, he is willing to diminish his
prospects for reelection. As he put it, “I’d rather
be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.”
To enact his deeply
unpopular domestic agenda, Obama relies for support on labor unions, the
leftist leadership of the Democratic Party on Capitol Hill, the leftist media
and pressure organizations like MoveOn.org. These organs work to demonize
Republicans while threatening Democrats who are not leftists with defunding and
primary challenges in order to coerce them to support Obama’s radical domestic
In light of the deep and
widespread support Israel enjoys among Israelis, Obama has cobbled together a
similar coalition against the Netanyahu government specifically and against a
strong Israel generally. His coalition for weakening the US alliance with
Israel is comprised of Leftist Israelis – and particularly the Kadima Party and
the Israeli media on the one hand — and leftist pro-Palestinian American
Jewish groups on the other hand. Together, these Israeli and American Jewish
groups provide political cover for Obama’s onslaught against Israel and the US
The Jerusalem planning board’s decision was non-political. The
board is staffed by professional urban planners, representatives of the nature
reserves authority and other statutory bodies who convene to determine whether
building schemes comport with law and building regulations or not. Its meetings
never attract much attention.
As the Netanyahu government sought
to understand how a routine meeting of the board became an international story,
many officials alleged that Kadima had colluded with the Obama administration
to exploit the board’s decision to provoke a crisis in US-Israel relations.
Kadima’s purpose in this, it was argued, was to lower the public’s support for
These allegations have been
supported by the fact that a week before Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to
Israel, Livni confidante and Kadima MK Yoel Hasson told Israeli Radio, “In the
coming weeks we will see how messed up Netanyahu’s relations with the Europeans
and Americans are.”
Furthermore, Makor Rishon’s
senior columnist Amnon Lord reported last Friday that Kadima heavyweight Haim
Ramon met with one of Obama’s senior Middle East advisors ahead of Biden’s
visit. He also pointed out that Livni’s key political advisor Eyal Arad is also
an advisor to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Whether or not Kadima colluded with
the Obama administration to cook up the crisis over building in Jerusalem,
Livni and her cohorts were quick to loudly condemn Netanyahu for the decision –
about which he was uninformed and regarding which he has no legal authority to
In condemning Netanyahu, Livni and
her Kadima colleagues were energetically assisted by the Israeli media.
All the major commentators at all
the major newspapers pounced on the story as a means to attack Netanyahu and
side with the Obama administration. Prominent among these condemnations was Yediot
Ahronot’s senior commentator Shimon Shiffer. Ignoring Biden’s long record
in the Senate of rejecting every sanctions bill against Iran, and his
fair-weathered support for Israel, Shiffer declared Biden the greatest friend
Israel has ever had in the US Senate while lambasting Netanyahu for “insulting”
this great friend of Israel by not preventing a meeting he didn’t know about
and had no authority to interfere with.
With the Israeli Left actively
supporting Obama’s onslaught against Netanyahu in Israel, Obama’s Jewish
American surrogates J Street and Americans for Peace Now denounced his critics at
home. In time for AIPAC’s annual policy conference this week in Washington,
J-Street published a full page ad in The New York Times on Monday applauding
Obama’s condemnation of Israel and calling for the administration to dictate
the terms of a “peace” deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
These Jewish American and Israeli
forces provide cover not only for Obama to attack Israel, but even for
anti-Semites to gain credibility for their vicious broadsides against the
Jewish state. So it is that last week The Washington Post published an
op-ed by Prof. Steve Walt, the co-author of the anti-Semitic tome The Israel
and US Foreign Policy. In his article, Walt claimed that AIPAC, the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Anti
Defamation League are anti-Israel and that Obama, J-Street and Americans for
Peace Now are Israel’s true friends. By inference, of course, Walt asserted
that he too, is a great friend of Israel. And this is from a man who won his fame
by claiming that Israel’s Jewish American supporters operate in a
conspiratorial, underhanded manner to influence US foreign policy in a way that
harms US national security.
By proclaiming that Obama is
pro-Israel, his Jewish supporters in Israel and the US invert reality. Their
obvious intention is to use the jargon of supporting Israel to confuse,
demoralize and disenfranchise Israel’s actual supporters in the US while
demonizing the majority of Israelis who believe that Obama is hostile to Israel
and support Netanyahu in his rejection of Obama’s pressure.
The great challenge of the
overwhelming majority of Israelis, and of Israel’s actual supporters in the US
is to hold these mendacious voices in Israel and in the American Jewish
community alike accountable for their actions. Otherwise, by pretending to be
pro-Israel while attacking Israel’s sovereign rights and actual supporters these
forces will do more than simply destabilizing the democratically elected
government of Israel. They will undermine the foundations of the US-Israel
alliance and endanger the security of the Jewish state and the wellbeing of the
American Jewish community.
Originally published in The Jewish Press.