Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Two Faces of Barack Obama

Mike L.

In last week's meeting with Orthodox Jewish leadership Barack Obama claimed "that he had been consistent in his support for Israel throughout his first term as president." This is, of course, nonsense. The truth is that Obama's "support" for Israel, if we can call it that, is entirely capricious and inconsistent and one need only take a gander at his most recent actions regarding the Jewish state in order to see this.

In the last few days we have two separate incidences regarding President Barack Obama and the Jewish state of Israel that I find to be illustrative. On the hand, Obama awarded Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which could indicate the president's respect for, and friendliness toward, the Jewish people and the Jewish state. On the other hand, at the insistence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

The US blocked Israel's participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum's (GCTF) first meeting in Istanbul on Friday, even though Israel has one of the most extensive experiences in counterterrorism in the world.

How friendly toward Israel can president Barack Obama be if he won't even allow Israel to participate in an international conference on counterterrorism, particularly given the fact that there is no country on the entire planet that suffers more from terrorism and, consequently, has the greatest expertise in counterterrorism? This is not the act of a friend or a close ally, but of a capricious politician who is more interested in catering to Islamic anti-Semitism than he is in promoting the normalization of a demeaned, but close ally to the United States.

The GCTF, one of the pillars of President Barack Obama's antiterrorism campaign, was established in September 2011. The White House calls the forum as a wise use of force against terrorism, and chose Turkey as the forum's joint chair, together with the US.

The White House chose Turkey as the counterterrorism forum's joint chair. Turkey? Is this the same Turkey that is turning away from the west and looking more and more in the direction of political Islam and the Islamist state of Iran? I believe it is. Is this the same Turkey that is demanding that Israel apologize for its own attack against that country? Why, yes. It is, in fact.

The GCTF sought from the outset to bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim majority nations. And it has, I think, done that quite effectively," said a top US official at the press briefing before the opening session.

Well, sure. Nothing helps to bridge the "deep divides" between Western nations and Muslim majority nations more than giving Israel a kick in the head, which is precisely what the Obama administration has been doing since it came into office. Obama's pattern has been to kick Israel in the head and then claim that the kicking was Israel's fault, usually for daring to build housing for Jewish people on historically Jewish land.  He then generally insinuates that the kick in the head is really in Israel's best interests and that the kicker, Barack Obama, is Israel's Best Friend Forever.

Many Jewish liberals buy into this lie simply because they would prefer to believe that the guy who they voted for really does hold Israel and the Jewish people with affection and respect. I voted for Barack Obama, too, but anyone not wearing ideological blinders, and who has followed this administration viz-a-viz Israel, knows that Obama is a capricious and unreliable ally to Israel, but ideology tends to trump honest assessments of reality. It is for this reason that the administration can tell Jews where we may, or may not, be allowed to live in the ancient Jewish city of Jerusalem and liberal diaspora Jews will simply yawn. They can't quite see the obvious injustice of it because widespread Jewish Stockholm Syndrome inclines them to believe that their fellow Jews in Israel are guilty of various offenses against humanity, against the Palestinians, against Jewish moral traditions, against common human decency, and are therefore in need of reigning in by the president of the United States.

Republican politicians claim that, since one third of the GCTF's members are Muslim countries, the Obama administration is trying to deepen ties with the Muslim world at Israel's expense.

Yes, what would give the Republicans any such crazy notion other than, perhaps, the actual behavior of the US president? Progressive-left diaspora Jews will tend to claim that the Republicans are making hay out of nothing in order to hurt Obama's electoral chances. They will do so despite the fact that it is a hallmark of this administration to reach out to America's enemies while disrespecting America's friends, particularly the Jewish state of Israel.

The awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres is an act of pandering. The administration still needs us (for the moment) in order to enhance Obama's reelection bid, but it is the betrayal of Israel at the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul which tells us the truth about this president and his dysfunctional, semi-hostile relationship with the state of Israel.

Giving away medals, like giving away belly rubs, is easy, effective, and almost entirely meaningless. Preventing Israel from joining with other countries in an effort to address the problem of terrorism, however, more closely represents the true modus operandi of this president.  But whether Obama wins or loses come November the American Jewish electorate needs to look at both faces of this president, not just the smiling one that gives out belly rubs, and scratches behind the ear, to a well-meaning, but often naive, liberal Jewish constituency.

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