Obama Abandons Israel
Obama has turned his back on Israel. He has embraced Iran, ignored terrorist organizations and sucked up to Palestinians on all fronts, souring relations with Israel. No matter what Israel’s enemies do, be it firing rockets at civilians or as Muhmound Ahmadinejad demands Israel be “wiped off the map,” the Obama administration mounts a one sided continued pressure that puts the fault squarely on the shoulders of the people of Israel. The Obama administrations course of ever-more appeasement has weakened the US military and threatened existing security related commitments to its allies.
Despite the failures, Obama continues to claim he has done more to bolster Israel’s security than any other President in history, “I try not to pat myself too much on the back,”– so why does he have to repeatedly defend his abysmal record? How can he say he has done more than Richard Nixon who initiated Operation Nickel Grass to ensure Israel was well supplied through the 1973 Kippur War? What of Ronald Reagan who ensured Israel’s military was fit for purpose? And let us not forget Harry Truman who helped drive the effort to ensure the United Nations recognised Israel’s fundamental right to statehood. It is clear that Democrats have let down Israel, but there is hope for a stronger future for Israel in the Republican Party.
The Republicans and Israel
Republicans have been courting the Jewish community lately in order to gain their vital votes in the swing states, and the evidence suggests that more and more Jews are leaving the Democratic Party. As mentioned in the introduction, Republicans have traditionally been very much pro Israel and the current selection of candidates ready to oust Obama is no exception to this. Out of the four remaining candidates all of them say they support Israel unconditionally so. But there are some subtle (and not so subtle) differences that every pro Israel voter should be aware of before casting their all-important vote. This is particularly important when you consider the current turmoil in the Arab world and Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. It would be catastrophic to see what would happen if the power of balance transfers to the Muslim Brotherhood dominating the political affairs across the Arab world - a path the Obama administration is ever approaching.
Santorum has often contradicted his own understanding of Israel. He has referred to the Golan Heights as “occupied territories.” Last June, as he was referring to the Golan Heights and the West Bank, he talked about four decades of Israel “occupying that ground, and having that ground be part of Israel.” In May too, he spoke of the West Bank Palestinian Leadership.” This definitively contrasts his recent statements that “all the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians.” Hopefully he has made his mind up on this, but his repeated contradictions should be noted and taken into consideration when voting. On a more reassuring note, Santorum has recently said “The bottom line is that this is legitimately Israeli country. And they have the right to do within their country as we have a right to do within ours.” Therefore, if Israel wanted to conduct a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, they could do so without having to ask the US first under a Santorum Presidency.
Gingrich picked up a lot of media attention when he described the Palestinians as an “invented peoples,” indeed, the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson then stumped up $5million for a pro Gingrich super-PAC, Winning Our Future. Whilst the statement is accurate to a degree and has an emotional appeal to Jewish voters and Christian Zionists, it could be interpreted as a somewhat thoughtless exercise in pandering to a large bloc of American voters. Gingrich has stated that Israel cannot be expected by the international community to open up peace negotiations when the Palestinian governmental Authority joins forces with various terrorist organizations. Gingrich is of course a firm ally of Israel and no one would doubt that, what could be worrying is his erratic behaviour when it comes to dealing with delicate issues. Sometimes, a bit of well thought out diplomacy can go a long way.
Romney’s book No Apology famously accused President Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus,” showing off his sympathetic approach to Israel’s challenges, pledging his first foreign trip as President would be Israel. Romney has always argued for a two-state solution through negotiated peace. Like Santorum and Gingrich, Romney is a firm believer that Israel should be able to conduct its own affairs without the US’ say so. Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorist and Arab threats is, as Romney says, “essential for international security.” With Romney, you can expect a very similar approach to that of George W. Bush.
This one is an interesting candidate to say the least. Some would argue that his non-interventionist policies would create a power vacuum in the Middle East, Paul of course would argue differently. Weather you think his ideas are dangerous or otherwise, he does raise some unique and interesting points that other candidates fail to talk about. For instance, in 1981 when Israel attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq nearly the entire US Congress voted to condemn the action whereas Ron Paul supported Israel. In that respect, his views would follow that of the other candidates. Paul argues that Israel is dependent on the US for money, military power and permission on diplomatic fronts. Paul points out that whilst Israel receives around $3Billiion a year in aid, its Arab neighbours get $12Billion (some estimates say it’s nearer $21Billion) a year – underlining Paul’s argument that aid can damage the US and its ally’s security interests. The issue of the $3Billion in aid a year is a divisive one, some would rightly argue that it helps maintain a strong national defence for Israel. Others (including Benjamin Netanyahu) have said that Israel can defend itself and the diktats attached to the aid are not worth the money. Whatever your opinions of Paul, his views do raise some important issues that probably need further public debate.
It’s clear that if any of these candidates were to go on to win the general election, Israel would have a firm ally at its disposal. All of them believe Israel to be one of its greatest allies and would likely support Israel if the times got tough. What does differ is their approach to this and the character they bring with their ideas. Santorum’s main focus is largely directed towards the Iranian nuclear issue and would vehemently support Israel attacking Iran. On the other hand, his lack of clarity on foreign policy could be problematic should Israel want to pursue the peace process with the Palestinians. Gingrich is a hawk no doubt, but his temperament could possibly cause more harm than good. Romney is a moderate and would ideally like to see two-state solution, but his discontent for Arab dictatorships would translate into a solid backing of the US’s military assistance to Israel. Paul has likely been overly misunderstood by the establishment. His non-interventionist beliefs are a divisive issue, though he does point obvious flaws in US foreign policy such as US financial aid to Israel’s enemies.
In foreign affairs there are many issues that we simply cannot foresee, or ones that can’t be appropriated into simplistic “pro-Israel vs. anti-Israel.” When it comes to these situations, what truly matters is whether the voter trusts the candidate’s judgement and character. These are questions voters must ask themselves when deciding on the next President. Whilst it may seem easier to discuss balance transfers, local news and general chatter, it's integral to think in depth about your voting intentions so the right person for the job can really get to grips with the deepset matters and sort them out once and for all.
[Editor's Note - Mimi is our newest front pager here at Israel Thrives and, as you can see, is a very good writer. I am very much looking forward to her participation going forward and I like the idea of this blog being nonpartisan in nature. We have room here for liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans and, really, anyone outside of anti-Zionist circles or those who come here with malice on a contentious topic. Welcome, Mimi!]