Tag Archives: US Congress

Brace For Impact: Obama’s Politicization Of Israel A Battleground In 2010 (Video)

President Touched A Raw American Nerve

US Israeli RelationsSurrounded by high profile liberal Jewish advisers, Obama promised the world and some regarding his Israeli bonafides while campaigning. The American Jewish community extended the benefit of the doubt despite what were clear warning flags.

 

Among them:

  • Obama’s hard progressive political views, most often associated with unfriendly parts of the US democratic party.
  • Strong ties to African American Black Liberation Theology in the form of a 20 year stint under viciously anti-Israel pastor Jeremiah Wright.
  • A consistent pronounced sympathy to Palestinian and Arab narratives
  • His primary foreign policy focus, a loudly stated intention to engage with rogue & terror supporting regimes.

We all know the results.

Crisis

While American public support of Israel was peaking, the White House pursued a highly visible policy of creating daylight between America & Israel. Undermining Israel’s elected government, ratcheting up pressure, and for the 1st time ever turning the Israeli public itself against a sitting US President. All of it simply unheard of.

Obama was gambling, senior administration figures even warned him such policies could cost him dearly..

Gibbs is also a regular at foreign policy meetings. He volunteered that he attended all 33 hours of the Afghanistan briefings, though he noted that he never said a word. He did chime in during last month’s escalating tensions with Israel, if only to make sure the president understood the “conventional wisdom” promoted in the media, that Obama’s toughness with Likud hard-liners would potentially erode his domestic Jewish support. “For a lot of reasons, he would discount that,” Gibbs said, referring to the president.

Obama was wrong..

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Push back

The American Jewish community, both houses of Congress, the American public  have all voiced their anger. The GOP buttressed by poll after poll showing massive pro-Israel support among Republicans (often over 80%), in conjunction with alarming diminishing support among Obama democratic faithful; has seized Israel as a key issue and is running with it politically for the 2010 Mid-Terms. All in the hopes of luring soft democratic Jewish & independent voters to GOP candidates, based on the mounting anger with White House Israel policy and the very public blowout.

As the Obama administration tries to mend its strained ties with Israel, strategists say U.S. policy on the Jewish state could influence several battleground House and Senate races this fall.

Jewish leaders from both parties are watching Senate campaigns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Florida, and a pair of House races in President Barack Obama’s home state where they say Israel policy could loom large. [...]

There is also the matter of funding. Rumors that Jewish funding for democratic candidates, once a torrent has dwindled into a dry wadi. In reaction, a massive WH PR blitz this past month to repair the messaging as Rahm Emmanuel calls it, patch up the dyke so to speak.

In Israel

Concern mounts. An unfriendly administration, the GOP push politically which seeks to wedge American voters on the issue. All of it threatens what was once a green pasture of strong bi-partisan Israel support in America. The only consolation, many candidates will be yelling loud & proud over each other on both ends of the aisle to establish their own Pro-Israel bonafides with the American public.

Israel - So often already through no fault of its own, has become an all new battleground once again in 2010.

BlowBack: US Reactions to Obama’s Israel Assault (Video & Quotes)

“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
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Conference of Presidents of Major 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 [...]

AJC

[...] “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.”

ADL

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. [...]

RJC

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.

Christians United For Israel
Doesn’t usually wade into political waters, but lookout when they do!
Via contentions we learn that the Evangelicals can quickly mobilize an army..

“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
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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.

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*Link Updated Above.

Irresistible: F-22s Would Send a REAL Signal to Israel & Iran

Get Your Bona-Fides Obama

A lot is made of the fact that President Obama & his administration is considered somewhat unfriendly to Israel. Ya, sure Jewish Democrats deny it but they are certainly not fooling us Israelites very much. But there are ways to show the love..

 I have a bunch of posts on the F-22 here at the hash going back a while, mostly detailing our unsuccessful attempts to get some of the sexy beasts into the IAF stable before my brief period of mourning when the F-22 was canceled.

A Quartet of USAF Raptors  - Back in Blac.. er matte silver?

A Quartet of USAF Raptors - Back in Blac.. er matte silver?

I Have a Dream..

No, I’m not a famous civil rights icon but I nonetheless dream about the F-22 doing air superiority antics with a blue & white star painted on its wings. Which is why when I hear that the US Congress has not given up on the Lockheed stealthy wonder I start to get excited and my periscope goes up. JPOST’s resident military affairs journalist (and one of the best I might add) Yaakov Katz mentioned the plane this weekend, it would be hard to resist..

The Israel Air Force will review the possibility of purchasing the advanced American F-22 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet if a congressional ban is lifted, enabling it to be sold abroad, defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Referring to recent reports in the US that Congress had asked the Air Force to submit a report on the possibility of exporting the jet to Japan, Israel and other allies, a senior defense official said if this happened, “we will have to consider the option.”

“This is an advanced fighter jet of superior capabilities,” the Defense Ministry official said. “It will depend, though, on the price, availability and time frame.” Congress’s interest in continuing funding for the F-22 runs counter to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ decision to stop production of the aircrafts.

Israel is already in advanced talks with the Pentagon regarding the possible sale of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – also known as the F-35 – to Israel. Both planes are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, but Israeli defense officials said the F-22 was capable of flying at higher altitudes and could carry more weapons internally.

“A lot will depend on the outcome of the ongoing talks regarding the JSF,” the defense official said. “If the export ban on the F-22 is lifted, things may change.”

To Quote Van-Damme: “It doesn’t look too good, Lyle..”

Gates has already nixed us a potential suitor for the plane, and he’s also as mentioned already nixed the whole program. So a Congressional inquiry into exporting the aircraft to Japan & Israel is likely to be met with terse and stiff recommendations, removing us Zionists from being contenders. There’s only one way I see Israel ever getting near the F-22, the President would have to get on board. That would loosen up Gate’s recommendations and it would also please the Congress who would surely muster support to export the aircraft in my opinion.

Even better, the deployed nature of the aircraft & slow wind down pace of the lines would mean that we would be seeing it more quickly than usual as there’s not much pent up pressure for deliveries currently.

Pro-Israel or Pro-Platitudes?

If the President who maintains how great our alliance is wants to show off some of those Pro-Israel bonafides, I can’t think of a better way than this as proof of mutual affection. Currently, we can’t get access to much of anything weapons wise, the Administration and Gates himself seem to be limiting us stretching back to the Bush admin as leverage regarding Iran & strikes.

That being said, I don’t think Obama is very pro-Israel at all, and I don’t think he would approve of the F-22 going to Israel in the least. If the US wanted to send its allies a real signal, send Iran a real signal, it would embrace creating jobs and securing American interests in the region by exporting the F-22 and keeping the option open to stock up on more for US purposes as needed.

Right now, judging by the pacifist and appeasing nature we’ve seen. Judging by the hostility to Israel we’ve seen, and seeing as Obama is afraid of Iran.. We won’t be flying F-22s any time soon imho. I’d be pleased to eat my words.

Ace looks at the bird and shreds the latest junk science calling for it to be scrapped over at the HQ. The comments are excellent as well. And what about the F-35 you say? The half decade long negotiations, insulting export terms, and near tripling of purchase costs have tempered my zeal for the as of now totally untested craft. Lockheed & the Pentagon have been screwing us around – We ought to plonk the near 20 billion dollars buying something else..