“Enough Already”.. The American Reaction Round Up.
I gambled a bit on Sunday night Israel time, in my scathing analysis of the unwarranted weekend of fury toward Israel which poured out of the White House. I chalked it up to an artificial crisis designed to bleed out concessions, and pressure Netanyahu’s coalition for a possible topple.
It appears 3 days later this is the consensus building for these events. I pledged to see what the pro-Israel reactions might be in the USA going forward, to gage whether or not Obama’s strategy might backfire.. Judge for yourself.
Major American Jewish Organizations
[...] The controversy which has arisen regarding Israel’s planning process for future development in its capital city in the form of the construction of 1600 new housing units within the declared municipal boundaries of Jerusalem was addressed during Vice President Biden’s trip by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s apology and Vice President Biden’s statement of understanding and recognition of the importance of a continuing close relationship. The unusually harsh comments made since then by members of the Administration have resulted in increased tensions. The interests of all concerned would best be served by a prompt commencement of the proximity talks that had been previously agreed to by all parties, and all parties should act in a manner that does not undercut such talks. We urge the United States and Israel to resolve the controversy with the use of language reflecting their historic friendship [...]
[...] “Ideally, differences with allies, which do occur even between the closest of friends, should be discussed and resolved in private,” said Harris. “We urge the White House to reconsider its latest, repeated verbal assaults on the Israeli government. It is not beneficial to pummel Israel with language that has rarely been used in U.S. foreign policy. And it may, however unintentionally, send the wrong signal to Israel’s adversaries in the region, further complicating an already complex landscape.”
We are shocked and stunned at the Administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem. We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States. One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table. [...]
AIPAC (One of the 1st to react)
The Obama Administration’s recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern. AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State.
Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East. The foundation of the U.S-Israel relationship is rooted in America’s fundamental strategic interest, shared democratic values, and a long-time commitment to peace in the region. Those strategic interests, which we share with Israel, extend to every facet of American life and our relationship with the Jewish State, which enjoys vast bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people.
The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests. The escalated rhetoric of recent days only serves as a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done with regard to the urgent issue of Iran’s rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors. [...]
The Obama administration has used harsh and intentionally undiplomatic language to exacerbate tensions with our ally Israel in the wake of Vice President Biden’s visit there. The strident and unwarranted escalation of tension, which has turned a minor diplomatic embarrassment into a major international incident, has raised serious concerns about the administration’s Israel policy from a variety of mainstream voices [...]
We call on the Obama administration to halt immediately its unwarranted pressure against Israel, to take steps to heal the dangerous rift it has created between the two countries, and to return to the policy of its predecessors in supporting Israel’s security and well-being as an important strategic ally.
Plenty of consensus there. More organizations like Jstreet & Americans for Peace Now celebrated the assault (shocker huh?). The NJDC seems embarrassed more than anything, choosing to lay very low. Other than Obama’s base of hard core ultra liberal fringe, and their lovey dovey media people aren’t pleased.
“Just 90 minutes after CUFI’s action alert was distributed, more than 5,000 of our members sent e-mails to the White House asking the president to ‘end this unnecessary crisis, return to a more productive approach, and stand with our ally Israel.’ As of last count we are averaging an e-mail every second, and I see no indication that this will slow down anytime soon.” [...]
The US House & Senate
An outpouring of support for the US Israel relationship has come from senior leadership in response, most of it follows a similar theme..
Quote bits, EACH from a different US leader.
They are bi-partisan:
- “Israel is a sovereign nation and an ally, not a punching bag. Enough already.”
- “Troubling eagerness to undercut our allies and friends”
- “I am deeply concerned”
- “Rethink counterproductive rhetoric”
- “We need to disentangle bilateral relations from the peace process”
- “Now is not the time to falter in our steadfast support”
- “Verbal attacks on our staunch ally and friend”
- “An affront to the values and foundation of our long-term relationship”
- “We should be worrying about what is going on in Iran”
- “Israel is a critical ally of the United States”
- “The national security of the United States is directly tied to the strength and security of the State of Israel”
- “The Palestinians have refused to sit with the Israelis”
- “The most critical foreign policy issue facing both counties — Iran’s nuclear threat.”
- “Defuse this situation”
- “Stop this infighting and concentrate on our shared goals”
- “We should not be condemning one of America’s strongest democratic allies in the Middle East.”
- “Israel stands with the United States on the frontier of freedom”
- “The security threats that the United States and Israel face are too great and too urgent to be overwhelmed by a disagreement among friends.”
- “Sometimes silence really is golden”
- “The stakes are too high and the threats are too urgent to allow the unfortunate recent exchange between Israel and the United States.”
- “The Administration’s approach to U.S. foreign policy has, so far, been disconcerting.”
- “It is time to dial down this ugly rhetoric and gain the proper perspective on the true threats in the region.”
- “Excessive criticisms of Israel over this incident is an unnecessary distraction”
- “One has to wonder whether folks in the White House understand just how much damage this type of rhetoric is doing.”
- “It is time to put aside the rhetoric and reaffirm our bonds with Israel.”
- “Our nation’s security cannot afford a foreign policy which isolates our allies and moves toward appeasing enemies of the U.S.”
- “Any effort to cut aid would lead to fierce resistance in Congress”
Senators McCain & Lieberman also provided some interesting video from the floor..
Ill conceived animus
Clearly, whatever the reasoning, whatever the goal.. There is mounting concern over the uneven-handed treatment of Israel by this White House. There is mounting concern over the Iranian threat, there is mounting concern over this pattern of abusing allies & ingratiating America to her enemies.
With Netanyahu coming to the US next week, and so far a solid front in Israel to reject most of the Obama administration’s newly concocted demands. It remains to be seen how this artificial crisis engineered in the White House will benefit anyone really. Palestinian response thus far has been to riot, burn things, and call for a day of rage.. Go figure.
*Link Updated Above.
Worst Relations in 35 Years?
Obama has gone Rogue, declared war on America’s allies.
Confirmation begins to flow out like sewage how the President of the United States cynically drummed up an artificial crisis, with the ally his administration less than 4 days ago called – ‘The best friend America ever had’. Worse, the President was widely reported personally consulting, instructing & coordinating with Hillary Clinton before her scathing 45 minute scream fest toward Netanyahu. One gathers they were rather busy planning & effectuating this engineered crisis, and Chicago style blackmail campaign.
Don’t you worry, some of his best friends are Jewish.
All of this is clearly designed to squeeze & bleed from Israel yet MORE concessions, in order to shore up the Obama administration’s faltering policies & world view. The President of the United States is frankly endangering the State of Israel playing these games. Let’s be clear, this seems worse than Bush & Baker (Baker while in office at State famously declared “F**k the Jews”), at least then Israel wasn’t being strung up by a noose with an existential military threat.
Haaretz illuminates the insane concessions Obama is trying to leech out, the threats he is using against Israel follow just below..
- Reverse building decisions in Jerusalem and implement a freeze, despite previous agreements with the USA that building in Jerusalem would continue.
- Make appeasement gestures to the Palestinians who despite an open Israeli invitation for unconditional talks, refuse to negotiate.
- Release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, terrorists!
- Withdraw IDF defense forces from additional territory in the West Bank!! Transfer control to Palestinians (Endangering Israel is the President’s specialty it seems). All of it without ANY peace deal whatsoever.
- End the Quartet endorsed blockade of Terrorist controlled Gaza, territory we just finished having to go to war with and allow Gaza to rearm full force.
- Remove yet more security checkpoints and security implements in the West Bank, despite effusive praise from both the USA & Tony Blair over how much Israel had already done in this regard, and glowing praise over how Israel has helped the Palestinian economy flourish.
- Issue declarations that indirect talks with the Palestinians who only demand more & more, deal with all the conflict’s core issues including; statehood declaration, borders, refugees, Jerusalem, security, settlements. In other words, enter these indirect talks & allow our GREAT FRIEND President Obama to moderate & impose his own solution – One which will clearly be entirely drafted by the Arab League itself, and hoisted upon Israel’s democracy.
Backstabbing Obama sure to be popular fellow in Israel now..
How can we possibly take the President at his word? His credibility internationally and especially with Israel is borderline near zero. This guy keeps breaking deals with us left, right & center..
- The settlement issue (another crisis a few months ago) was the 1st deal Obama broke with us, when he disregarded pledges made by G.W. Bush to Ariel Sharon.
- The second deal broken just this week by Obama, was the acknowledgment that Jerusalem would NOT be subject to the and I quote Hillary Clinton: “Unprecedented concession by Israel” to freeze settlements in the West Bank.
- Now a third deal has been broken by the President with Israel, regarding the format & substance of the issues to be handled in indirect talks. Israel refused to negotiate core issues by US mediation for what is now obvious reasons.
The President seems to believe the word of the United States of America carries little meaning, no bearing on trust – This is truly heartbreaking for many hundreds of millions around the world who so admire American ideals. Poland learned this, the Czechs learned this, the UK, now Israel knows it too. We are under attack from our #1 ally!? It is bewildering & shocking.
The bludgeon for Obama’s threats?
Vital supplies, jet fuel, & armaments needed to defend Israel from an Iranian multi front war.. This beyond the apparent arms freeze Israel has been under since Obama took office. All of these issues, part & parcel of pledges to Israel made previously to garner our patience regarding a strike on Iran. Now, apparently even the entire American Israel relationship itself is being used as a threat judging by statements from US officials on Sunday shows.
Requests of the Palestinians? The intransigent party who refuses to negotiate? NONE.
How can we trust this President? Is he living on the same planet as the rest of us!?
There can be no trust here, these irrational demands, artificial crises, and plain and simple backstabbing behavior must be REJECTED by Israel. Obama is either trying to get our country destroyed, or bring down the government of a friendly country & ally. The majority of Israeli opinion cannot support such irrational appeasement demands just to satisfy President Obama’s Palestinian fetish, or to prop up his failing policies.
Last week the US claimed we insulted them! What was that whole Biden speech about!? Days later Obama has embarrassed Biden way more than we could have even if we had tried. Obama made Biden out to look like a liar, intent on misleading the Israeli people. I doubt that was Joe’s intentions, I believe he may have been just as blindsided as Netanyahu.
UPDATE: This gambit may not roll as ‘Chicago style’ as Obama / Axelrod want..
If we see the counter 1 , 2 punch of both Israeli domestic as well as American domestic resistance to the President’s alliance rift making games, the upper cut for Obama may be a painful one. The Administration deftly used the Friday trash cycle in the US and the Israeli shutdown Sabbath to launch their coordinated volley. But today is Monday, and Israel’s coalition has spoken..
While officials in Washington were quoted as saying that Netanyahu would have to choose between his ties with US President Barack Obama’s government and his coalition partners, ministers and MKs took steps to ensure that he would not have to make such a difficult choice.
Despite American pressure, not one of the 30 ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet has expressed support for freezing construction over the pre-1967 border in Jerusalem. A check among the five Labor ministers found that they were all in favor of continuing to build in neighborhoods like Ramat Shlomo and Gilo, where the American administration opposes building.
“The consensus in Israel supports continuing to build in Jerusalem and that’s not going to change,” a Labor minister said. [...]
AIPAC has issued a rare statement in opposition to the US administration’s actions.
On a Sunday night no less. They are not thrilled to put it mildly it would seem with the public undressing of Israel for such a politically cynical purpose, nor one coming only a week out from the annual conference to boot.
Hillary Clinton, who just finished berating Bibi for 45 minutes & Netanyahu will both be there. That will likely make the Administration look even more volatile & erratic than it already appears to onlookers everywhere, if they have to scale this back!? Biden & Clinton are both going to take huge lumps to the face it would seem for his Majesty Barack before all is said & done I think.
The last key piece is American opinion, in this case fronted by their elected representatives. It is still Sunday night in America, so we will have to see how the reaction unfolds this week. I question the logic, foreign policy and thinking currently going on at the White House, in this I am most certainly not alone. Bibi, Obama, Biden, Clinton, everyone it seems comes out of this pained & bruised. Only the Palestinians benefit?? Has America become a Palestinian client state?
They call it “Smart Power” for a reason I guess, it just eludes me because I’m stupid.
The Hits Just Keep on Coming!
Not satisfied with the massive concession by Israel’s elected government to accept a two state solution and a 95% halt to all settlements President Obama has more demands. Now despite the fact that humanitarian aid is constantly flowing the newest & latest pressure gambit is to open up Gaza’s crossings. Of course it is.. Never mind that the Hamas isolation policy is Quartet policy, American policy, Israeli policy. There’s a new sherif.. er weakling in town, President Obama.
With the EU now openly seeking to legitimize Hamas, former President Carter (Obama’s ideological mentor? or mental case? you decide.) holding back tears, what else is to be expected? Sec. Clinton didn’t waste time re-stating that Israel’s concessions on these matters were not sufficient..
Clinton reiterated that the U.S. viewed a total settlement freeze as “important and essential” step toward achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
She said that special Mideast envoy George Mitchell would look at a “number of critical concerns” regarding settlements.
“There are a number of critical concerns, many of which overlap in their impact and significance, that will be explored in the coming weeks as Senator Mitchell engages more deeply into the specifics as to where the Israelis and the Palestinians are willing to go together.”
Clinton also said that Israeli leaders have in the past shifted their stance on the issue, and expected the current government to evolve in the same fashion.
The more concessions we give the worse it is going to get. FM Lieberman meanwhile who was meeting with Sec of State Clinton maintained what can now only be described after Netanyahu’s speech as clear Israeli policy. No expansion of settlements but growth inside our territory and existing community boundaries will continue. It doesn’t appear to be enough, now we need to concede a state, concede settlements, concede to the Hamas terrorists.. Soon it will be concede Jerusalem, concede to refugees. This will never end. For what!?
Clinton noted that previous Prime Ministers changed their views over the years, implying we should cave to the demands. Clearly the massive concession to accept a PA state by Netanyahu brought us nothing, but more demands.
It is time to stop worrying about what Obama thinks Or what Obama says, or what Obama does. His plan to squeeze us will proceed regardless of what we do irrespective of how much we comply. There has been total silence from Washington over the never ending statements of total rejection to his plans from the Arab world, on the total rejection for peace.. This is not about peace it is about caving to Arab demands – I’m not sure whether it is because Obama is an Arabist, or just a naive fool. But either way the strategy of clearly stating NO and demanding concessions from the other side seems to be working wonders for the Palestinians & Arabs. We should adopt it wholeheartedly.
Where are the Hamas concessions?
Has Hamas renounced violence, recognized the Jewish Israeli State? Met PA commitments? No, the PA itself, our peace partners have not even met these conditions.. Meanwhile Gilad Shalit is now 3 years in captivity with Hamas terrorists. It’s time to tell the President of the United States to go fly a kite. I don’t care any longer about over flights to Iran, or the dangling of possible future sanctions against Tehran, it’s all bull. We will be left hanging by this administration in the end. We will also be left hanging by our friends in the US Congress & Senate.
There is only one answer to all these demands from here on in. Sorry, but No. They are going to blame Israel in any case, better to be blamed and keep our concessions than to be blamed and haven given gifts that can never be reclaimed.