The Obama administration is often considered the most hostile administration to Israel since its inception in 1948. President Obama compared Palestinian suffering to the murder of six million Jews during the holocaust in his infamous Cairo speech. He also publicly humiliated Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously berated Netanyahu on the phone for 45 minutes and once called on Israel to show “respect.” The administration’s demands from Israel have often shocked the world; from its requirement for more Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, to the ridiculous order of returning to the 1967 indefensible borders, to the insistence that Israel stops building homes in disputable territories as a precondition.
Indeed, John Bolton, the former US envoy to the UN said: “President Barack Obama is “the most anti-Israel president in the history of the state, without any question.” Additionally, New York Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, called on the Obama administration to stop the “counter-productive” policy regarding Israel. Furthermore, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset yesterday, Netanyahu signaled that he is bracing for another cold shoulder from the President.
The prospective Republican presidential candidates also took the President to task. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney slammed President Obama for disrespecting Israel and throwing it “under the bus,” Rep. Michele Bachmann blamed Obama for siding with the Palestinians over Israel,” and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich charged that “Obama is endangering Israel.”
However, Texas Governor Rick Perry took it a step further. At a speech he delivered in New York yesterday, as the United Nations General Assembly convened with a vote on a Palestinian state looming, Perry accused Obama’s “naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous” foreign policy as “isolating and undermining Israel.” He elaborately outlined his vision for peace and demonstrated unwavering support for Israel.
Nevertheless, what was intriguing with Perry’s speech was not the policy he outlined or the words he chose; it was the backdrop. Perry is a long-time friend of Israel. He has been to Israel more than any other candidate and often compared Texas’ struggles to those of Israel, Yet, amongst the American and Israeli flags that propped the stage, were a dozen or so Orthodox-Jews that stood alongside him. They are known community activists that came out to show their support for the current front-runner in the race; yet, the things they did and said were startling.
Jacob Javits wrote: “The reluctance to challenge the president is founded in an awareness that he holds, in large degree, the fate of the nation in his hands. We all wish to assist and sustain the presidency. But I have come to the conclusion that the awesome nature of the power over war in our time should require us to withhold, in relevant cases, that unquestioning support of the presidency.”
Israel is facing a diplomatic tsunami, and only the United States will spare it some shame. Whether or not the President is to blame for this debacle, Orthodox-Jews must not scold and chastise the President in-his-face during a period when he will undeniably stretch out his neck for the Jewish State. We shall not be ungrateful after the President got involved saving Israelis that were trapped at the Israeli embassy in Egypt. Yes, we can send a message by electing conservative candidates to Congress or deny him a second term; but for now, we should leave the attacks regarding Israel to his political rivals and talk-show hosts. During trying times, we must unite behind the President to thank him for his efforts on our behalf and urge his assistance; we should not engage in risky political ploys just to get photo-ops or political clout on the expense of Israel and the people.
Dave Hirsch is a political analyst and columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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