Obama and Israel: A Recipe for Disaster

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” said a senior Obama administration official in a now infamous Atlantic piece by Jeffrey Goldberg on October 28th.

The “chickenshit” affair may mark a low point in diplomatic relations between Israel and the Obama Administration but it only makes plain what the Obama administration has always felt about Israel.

In 2010, during a state visit to the White House, the Obama administration went out of its way to snub Netanyahu. Like servants, Netanyahu and his team were led inside through a side door, rather than the front, with no cameras present. When the meeting reached an impasse, Obama excused himself, saying he needed to dine with his wife and family, allegedly leaving Netanyahu and the Israeli team without food until he returned. Netanyahu is the only head of state in the world that Obama treats this way.

It is widely regarded that Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes is the senior administration official that insulted Netanyahu’s courage in dealing with Iran and at the same time implied that Netanyahu doesn’t have the guts to forge ahead in the peace process.

Netanyahu is cautious because Palestinians, when discussing a two-state solution, do not accept the idea of an Israeli Jewish State. Abu Mazen said that in the new Palestinian state, there will not be a single Jew. In other words, the Palestinians, Netanyahu’s putative partners in peace, both will not accept Israel as a Jewish State and also state that there will be no Jews in the Palestinian State. And now the Palestinian Authority is in partnership with Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish State. No wonder that Israelis are very worried about the state of affairs right now.

Netanyahu warned the US and the world that Iran’s nuclear capabilities were dangerous and Obama told Netanyahu not to make a move. Despite his deep misgivings, Netanyahu honored Obama’s wishes. Does Rhodes mean to say that Netanyahu is a chickenshit for cooperating with President Obama?

In October, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict fuels IS recruitment, putting the responsibility squarely on Israel for the growing threat of the Islamic State. Israel is the big problem in the world, according to the Obama administration.

Even Israelis who don’t like Netanyahu don’t appreciate their Prime Minister being ridiculed, being blamed for all of the world’s problems or being lectured by Obama:

The violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace.  And that’s something worthy of reflection within Israel.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Obama wasn’t speaking to the Israeli government, nor Netanyahu, but the people of Israel, questioning their sincerity in wanting peace, and asking them to reflect on that in a generalization that could only be interpreted as an insult.

Given the resurgence of anti-Semitism since the war in Gaza last summer, and the documented rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, it’s not very helpful for the Obama administration to be openly hostile to the Jewish State.

Attacks and hateful rhetoric against Jews are on the rise—and it’s not just Jews who should worry. -Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal

In the Obama White House, Bibi Derangement Syndrome is a game of demonizing Netanyahu. It means Netanyahu can do no right. Even when he is fulfilling American wishes or being cautious about going forward in a peace process without a partner, he’s a “chickenshit.”

Of course Netanyahu is not without fault; it is ludicrous to be doing any building right now during this precarious period. A building freeze would be a wise thing to do given that Netanyahu’s attention should be on Iran.

Rhodes statement about Netanyahu is not only untrue, but worse, it is an ugly byproduct of an environment in a White House in which Obama told Netanyahu to enter through the side door.

Ironically, in the 2008 election, Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote, the second largest voting bloc after the black vote. While Israelis were more cautious, American Jews had great hope for Obama.

But today, it is clear that Obama would rather be aligned with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country that openly hates the Jewish State. If Obama makes a deal with Iran, leaving them with the potential to enrich uranium, the Jewish State – and the whole world – will be endangered.

About the Author
The former Senior Producer of CNN’s Jerusalem bureau for twenty plus years, Izzy Lemberg is a veteran international television news producer and recipient of the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award. Based in Jerusalem, Izzy is currently working on a documentary film about anti-Semitism called Blame it on the Jews.
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