How they see us: Would President Obama be good for Israel?
It’s become fashionable in Israel to “smear” Barack Obama, said Tel Aviv’s Ha’aretz in an editorial. A former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Danny Ayalon, has dropped all kinds of innuendo to the effect that Obama has been “not entirely forthright” about his views on Palestinian rights. Ugly, anonymous e-mails slamming Obama have circulated in Israel as well as in Jewish-American circles. “Since it is hard to find so much as a single anti-Jewish statement in Obama’s political record, or even support for anti-Israel policies, his defamers base their arguments on the fact that his positions on the Middle East conflict are leftist”—by which, presumably, they mean not extreme right. Such hysteria is unworthy of Israelis. We can be confident that Obama is sensitive to Israel’s security needs. He has proved it “through his Senate votes, his visit to northern Israel during the Second Lebanon War, and his unequivocal statements against” Hezbollah and Hamas.
Not all of his statements are quite so clear, said the Tel Aviv Israel Insider. In a particularly “stunning comment,” Obama indicated that “he supported the division of Israel into at least two parts by a Palestinian state.” The Palestinians, he claimed, “have a legitimate concern” that their state be contiguous—that is, that there be some kind of territorial corridor connecting the Gaza Strip with the West Bank. That such a corridor would effectively chop Israel in two, rendering it noncontiguous, evidently did not bother him. Perhaps that’s not surprising. Obama has constantly tried to “gloss over” the fact that he was “raised in his childhood by a devout Muslim” and was, in fact, “considered a Muslim as a child.”
Let’s not go there, said Caroline Glick in The Jerusalem Post. We needn’t falsely paint Obama as a Muslim to justify opposing him—his true religious affiliation is bad enough. Obama belongs to Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, a church whose minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., is both “anti-Jewish and anti-white.” Wright has called for divestment from Israel “and refers to Israel as a racist state.” He has long-standing ties to the notoriously anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, led by fellow Chicagoan Louis Farrakhan. And Wright isn’t the only Obama backer hostile to Israel. The billionaire George Soros, who has “devoted himself” to funding “politicians who support appeasing jihadists and dumping Israel,” is a prominent and generous Obama supporter.
As a Jewish American, I can assure Israelis that Obama is on their side, said Mel Levine, a former member of the board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also in The Jerusalem Post. Addressing AIPAC last year, Obama spoke movingly of his travels in Israel and said, “I start with the premise that Israel is a stalwart ally of ours and their security cannot be compromised.” In the Senate, Obama has consistently supported tougher sanctions against Iran, “a high priority of the pro-Israel community.” If he is elected U.S. president, there is no doubt that Obama would be a trustworthy “friend of Israel.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why insects are the future of food
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week