I love Barack Obama’s speeches. I really do. They are filled with wonderful words that turn into pictures, dreams that would make Don Quixote proud. Even today, after three and a half years of massive failure on all fronts of his presidency, I close my eyes when he talks and think of what the world would be like if all the dreams had come true.
But then I wake up. I open my eyes. And the world is just as it was before our president began taking us on his latest voyage down the road to La Mancha. And the magnitude of his failure on all fronts, including the economy, jobs, and foreign policy, continues to grow. And the words that seemed so beautiful were just words. Or even worse, deception.
Today I want to discuss one group of dreams and one group of listeners. The dreams are the promises this president has made and makes regarding his commitment to the State of Israel. The listeners are the American Jews.
Start with his appearance before AIPAC in 2008, in the heat of his primary fight against Hillary Clinton. He stood on stage and proclaimed, “Let me be clear; Jerusalem must remain undivided.” The statement produced a roaring standing ovation. The very next day, after gauging the world reaction, his campaign decided his statement had to be “clarified.” His definition of “undivided” is not the universal meaning–i.e., that the city would not be divided. He meant to say that after the city was divided, there would be no checkpoints between the two sides. C’mon. That’s just wrong, Candidate Obama. Pure fiction.
This is not a nuanced issue. Jerusalem as the undivided (using the English-language definition of undivided) capital of Israel is a fundamental element of the existence of the State. If the world divides Israel’s capital and gives a portion to the Palestinians to be the capital of a new “terror” state, the world would question the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Any state that divides its own capital–not as a result of losing a war–is questioning its own legitimacy. Nation-state suicide, to coin a phrase.
The undivided nature of Jerusalem is supported by over 95% of Israelis. It is supported by international law. It was not on the table as a negotiating issue when Barack Obama put it on the table in the guise of supporting Israel. May 20 was Jerusalem Day in Israel–a day celebrating the unifying of the city. So fundamental is the undivided nature of the city. A national holiday.
President Obama and the Democratic Party won’t acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Something both parties have done probably since the founding of the State.
The president began his term on January 20, 2009. On June 4, 2009, Obama gave what he declared to be his most important foreign-policy speech on the Middle East, in Cairo. As he noted, his goal was to bridge a gap that he felt existed between the Muslim world and the West. “A new beginning,” he called it. He implied that the relationship between the Western world and Muslim society was horrible until June 4, 2009. And the fault was all on the West. He admitted that extremist Muslim violence was bad and should stop. But the West needs to do a whole lot more to make up for years of bad relations between the West and the Muslim world. Ridiculous.
Then he gave us some further insight into his view of Israel–he questioned the legitimacy of the State of Israel in the guise of conveying sympathy for the Jewish people and the fact that six million Jews were killed. Tricky. He tied the legitimacy of the State to the Holocaust. The Jewish survivors needed a place to go. Pure and simple. Not that Gâ€‘d gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. Not the 3,000 years of ties to the Land of Israel that had been the key factor until June 4, 2009. Only the Holocaust.
He went a step further. He compared the Holocaust experience to the Palestinian hardships in Israel. The murder of six million compared to waiting at checkpoints that were set up to stop terror attacks. What chutzpah!
We now come to his policy change with respect to the “peace process.” Obama policy says the fundamental obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the Israeli settlements. Why didn’t anyone think of that until now? Not terror. Not the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist. Not Palestinian education of their children to murder Jews. Just settlements.
So, Mr. Netanyahu, stop settlement construction and the Palestinians will come to the table to talk peace and terror would end. Bibi did. The Palestinians didn’t. Terror didn’t end. The Palestinians were given an excuse to blow up and destroy the Oslo “peace process” (to the extent it was still alive).
On May 19, 2011, President Obama actually did blow up the peace process himself. Prime Minister Netanyahu was on his way to the United States to what could have been the warmest reception in history from the U.S. Congress. As the prime minister boarded his flight, President Obama decided that was the time to take center stage from the prime minister and the Republican Congress (after giving assurances to the prime minister that this would not occur). So he gave another major foreign-policy address. In this speech, the president said that the United States would support using the pre-1967 (Six Day War) borders (with mutually agreed swaps) as the foundation of a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. For Israel, this was a giant shift in U.S. policy. Israel knows that the pre-’67 borders are not defensible. So does the U.S. This policy ran counter to prior U.S. policy, i.e., that Israel would never be forced to go back to those indefensible borders. The previous president promised this in writing to its most loyal ally, Israel. With this shift in policy, which obviously was rejected by Israel, the Palestinians took it as another invitation to leave the peace table, this time permanently.
Finally, President Obama’s personal attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu. From harsh talk about Israel being the primary obstacle to peace to the personal slights and leaked criticism to the childish chatter with the then prime minister of France, Sarkozy, about the Israeli PM being a “liar,” Obama went after Netanyahu as if he had a target on his back. The administration, the press, and the American Jewish liberal leadership made it seem as if it were a personal problem the president had with the prime minister. Because that could be easily dismissed or rationalized. Bibi was too tough, they could say, and Obama was frustrated.
To borrow a line from a man who knew, this wasn’t personal–this was business. The animosity was not an attack on the prime minister. It was an attack on Israel. It was and is an attack on the Jewish people. Prime Minister Netanyahu has the support of the people of Israel, maybe 70—80% of the Israeli public. An attack on his defense of Israel is an attack on the State of Israel.
Most recently, while Israel is looking directly into the missile launchers of Iran, our president is refusing to meet with the prime minister when he visits the UN later this month. Another first for this president–refusing to meet with the leader of our most loyal and reliable ally when he needs a friend most. The Jewish Democrats call him a friend? C’mon.
Does President Obama dislike Israel? We don’t know. But his actions and inactions have destroyed the peace process; strengthened Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran; and left Israel with the feeling that Canada is now its best friend on the world stage. As he said to a meeting with Jewish leaders, he wants to be the first president in decades to create “distance” between the United States and Israel. Not visiting Israel during his term as president despite visiting the region multiple times, and refusing to meet with Bibi when he visits this month, is just the tip of the iceberg. “Distance” is his goal. Bridge a gap with the Muslim world and create distance with Israel.
If President Obama is voted into a second term, all bets are off (as he admitted to Russian president Medvedev). He will be able to do whatever he wants on foreign policy. And to Israel.
For Israel and the Jewish people, it will mean forcing Israel to choose between existential threats–Iran having nuclear weapons with the declared intent to annihilate Israel, or Israel allowing a terror state to exist miles or yards from its cities, giving up control over the Golan Heights (from which you can see and target most of northern Israel), and, most offensive of all, dividing its own capital.
Mr. President, as goes Israel, so goes the Jewish people. Mr. President, now you can use the Holocaust for analogy. The Holocaust would not have happened if the Jews had had a state. Gâ€‘d forbid, it can happen again without the State of Israel. Mr. President, that is a lesson for you and for the American Jewish community. Jews need Israel. Pure and simple.
Mr. President, meeting with groups of rabbis and so-called Jewish leaders as part of your reelection campaign will not change the fact that you would like Israel to take existential risks so you can put another Peace Prize on your mantel. Israel will not take those risks.
Mr. President, Jews voted against Jimmy Carter in his reelection bid because they saw through him. They saw his hostility to Israel (which has been proven time and again since then). They will see through you, President Obama. They will see how you sometimes say the right thing and then reverse yourself. They will see how your “policy changes” have led to Israel negotiating from weakness rather than strength, as well as the Palestinians walking away from the negotiating table. They will see that your personal attacks on the Israeli prime minister are really attacks on the State of Israel and the people of Israel.
Mr. President, Jews are not that stupid. They will see the truth.