Obama’s Contempt

It should come as no surprise at this late date that Barack Obama’s essential stance toward the Jewish State of Israel is one of contempt. I know that there are some people who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, will argue that this is untrue and that Obama is a strong ally of your country.

The truth is that while the United States remains a semi-reliable ally to Israel, Barack Obama harbors personal feelings of disdain and I would like to offer three bits of evidence to prove the truthfulness of this claim. Leaving other issues aside, let’s take a look at three specific remarks that Obama has made concerning Israel over the last few years and see what they might indicate. The following was widely reported early in 2011:

NEW YORK (JTA) – President Obama reportedly urged Jewish communal leaders to speak to their friends and colleagues in Israel and to “search your souls” over Israel’s seriousness about making peace.

Let me see, now. The Jewish people lived in diaspora and under persecution for 2,000 years, thus keeping our numbers artificially low. For 2,000 years we as a people were subject to pogroms and persecutions and expulsions all leading to the Shoah in which one-third of our number were brutally murdered by the Nazis. Also, of course, for thirteen centuries the the Jews of the Middle East lived as second and third class citizens under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism within the system of dhimmitude. I would therefore submit that there is no people on the entire planet more interested in peace then the Jewish people and yet this president has the chutzpah to tell Jewish leaders that they need to inform their friends and colleagues in Israel to search their souls to see if they really want peace?

I am sorry, but those are not the words of a friend or an ally or anyone who has any sort of understanding of the history of the Jewish people.

Then sometime later toward the very end of his first term, once it became clear that Obama’s demand of “total settlement freeze” had utterly ruined whatever potential that there may have been in the peace process, we got this from the president:

When asked if he felt that there was “anything you believe you failed at, not because Congress wouldn’t play ball, but that rests squarely on your shoulders?” Obama answered: “I have not been able to move the peace process forward in the Middle East the way I wanted.”


“It’s something we focused on very early. But the truth of the matter is that the parties, they’ve got to want it as well.”

The parties have to want it?

So here Obama is again suggesting that the Jews of Israel do not really want peace. For almost one hundred years the Jews of the Middle East have agreed to two-states for two peoples and were constantly rebuffed by the Arabs who turned down such offers again and again and again, as early as 1937 with the Peel Commission and as late as 2008 with Olmert’s offer to Abbas. Israel has been willing to compromise and has forked over huge chunks of land to the Arabs in the hopes of making peace. Israel even agreed to the racist demand for settlement freeze for 10 months during most of which time Abbas still refused to negotiate. Furthermore, it was Obama’s demand for “total settlement freeze” that wrecked the peace process to begin with, yet he will tell the world Jewish community that our friends and family in Israel do not want peace?

What can this possibly indicate about his feelings towards our brothers and sisters in Israel other than contempt?

Finally, just the other day, we get this from president Obama:

In the weeks after the UN vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.

Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are?

I see.

So let me get this straight. Throughout 2012 the Arabs in Gaza bombed the holy hell out of Israel culminating in a truly atrocious and sustained campaign of bombardment in November during which the Obama administration lifted not a finger to make it stop. When Israel finally decides that it better defend its people Hillary Clinton rode into town and saved Hamas from Israeli retribution. Then Abbas went to the United Nations where the world community abrogated and dissolved the Oslo Accords through recognizing the “State of Palestine.”

And when Israel therefore decides it is going to claim a bit of land directly adjacent to its capital city Barack Obama makes out like it is Israel that is standing in the way of peace and, thus, “doesn’t know what its own best interests are”? This from a president who thought that it was in the interests of the United States to support the rise of political Islam throughout the Muslim Middle East under the misnomer “Arab Spring”?

I am sorry, but this is not the behavior of a friend or an ally or anyone who has any sense of the history and suffering of the Jewish people, or even any honest understanding of the failure of Oslo or the general political conditions in the Middle East. Leaving everything else aside those three statements demonstrate contempt for, if not the Jewish people, certainly the Jewish State.

If at this late date you still cannot bring yourself to accept the fact that Obama is neither a friend, nor a true ally, then you are riding around with heavy ideological blinkers strapped to your noggin. The truth of Obama’s contempt for Israel has been to clear to many of us, and certainly for the considerable majority of Israelis, for a very long time.


Mike Lumish is the proprietor of the pro-Israel blog, Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at