Is Barack Obama Anti-Israel?

by Crocker on July 2, 2009, 11:35 am

in Foreign Policy,Politics

An Israeli friend of mine just sent me this quote from columnist Burt Prelutsky:

“On a serious front, I sincerely hope that when the president goes in for his annual check-up, the doctors at Bethesda will do a brain scan.

Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than with Muslims building a nuclear bomb in Iran.”

He’s got a point. Barack Obama said that didn’t want to “meddle” in Iran’s affairs, yet he’s apparently willing to play code enforcement officer when some Israeli settler wants to builds an additional room on his house. He seems to have more affection for the PLO and Hamas – both terrorist organizations – than Israel, which is democratic and with which we have multiple points of affinity.

What gives? Particularly with American Jews who – as usual – voted overwhelmingly for the Democrat candidate. After first doing the obligatory grovel to Hope ‘n Change in today’s Wall Street Journal, Alan Dershowitz politely suggests – too politely in my opinion – that the issue of a nuclear Iran is not really linked to Israeli settlements:

The Obama administration consistently says that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. But prior to the current unrest in the Islamic Republic, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel frightened many supporters of Israel in May by appearing to link American efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons to Israeli actions with regard to the settlements.

This is a disturbing linkage that should be disavowed by the Obama administration. Opposition to a nuclear Iran — which would endanger the entire world — should not be dependent in any way on the issue of settlement expansion.

The current turmoil in Iran may strengthen the Obama administration as it seeks to use diplomacy, sanctions and other nonmilitary means to prevent the development of nuclear weapons. But if these tactics fail, the military option, undesirable and dangerous as it is, must not be taken off the table. If the Obama administration were to shift toward learning to live with a nuclear Iran and attempt to deny Israel the painful option of attacking its nuclear targets as a last resort, that would be troubling indeed. Thankfully, the Obama administration’s point man on this issue, Dennis Ross, shows no signs of weakening American opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran. . . .

There may be coming changes in the Obama administration’s policies that do weaken the security of the Jewish state. Successful presidential candidates often soften their support for Israel once they are elected. So with Iran’s burgeoning nuclear threat, it’s important to be vigilant for any signs of weakening support for Israel’s security — and to criticize forcefully any such change. But getting tough on settlement expansion should not be confused with undercutting Israel’s security.

I’m far less diplomatic than Prof. Dershowitz. I think Hope ‘n Change doesn’t like Israel very much. Just how much we’ll undoubtedly see.

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