The Obama administration's campaign to win back the Jews
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Laura Rozen of Politico named names: “Rahm Emanuel has met twice with a group of rabbis, the NSC’s Dennis Ross has gone up to the Hill to talk to House Democrats and Senate Dems in recent weeks, the NSC’s Dan Shapiro and Ross both spoke at the ADL conference last week, Hillary Clinton keynoted the AJC conference earlier this month, National Security Advisor Jim Jones addressed the Washington Institute for Near East Policy last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates held an honor guard for visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Obama hosted Elie Wiesel… Later this month, Obama and the First Lady host a Jewish Heritage event for the first time at the White House… (and) Obama met with some 37 House and Senate Jewish Democrats at the Old Executive Office Building yesterday.”
In parts deliberate and ideological, and in parts amateurish and unintended, friends of Israel have reason to believe the Obama Administration’s push for “reformed” relations with Arab and Muslim-dominated countries bodes ill for Israeli security and for the advancement of tolerance and democratic norms in the Middle East. Under the policies of the Obama Administration:
- Palestinian-Israeli relations have regressed 17 years back to “proximity talks”;
- Iran has advanced on multiple fronts;
- Turkey has moved away from the West and closer to Iran and Russia;
- Syria (with North Korean assistance) has progressed militarily and (with Iranian assistance) reestablished hegemony in Lebanon;
- Hezbollah (with Syrian and Iranian assistance) has moved closer to governing Lebanon;
- Lebanon has bowed to Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah ascendance;
- Iraq has found itself without American political support for the political reconciliation it needs;
- The Gulf States believe they face Iran alone;
- Egyptians believe democracy doesn’t matter; and
- Al Qaeda has advanced in Yemen, Algeria and Somalia and other parts of Africa.
In addition, the Obama Administration has rejoined the UN Human Rights Commission (and didn’t object to Iran holding a seat on the UN Committee on the Status of Women) and rejoined the UN Alliance of Civilizations, an openly anti-Israel body that claimed in 2006 that global tensions were driven primarily by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and, relating to the September 11th attacks, referred to “a perception among Muslim societies of unjust aggression stemming from the West.”
The President’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism opined that Hezbollah “is a very interesting organization” evolving from “purely a terrorist organization” to an organization interested in governing. Where has he been for the past couple of decades? Hezbollah (which until 9-11 had killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization, including 241 Marines, Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem, Marine Colonel Rich Higgins and CIA station chief William Buckley) was never purely a terrorist organization. It, like Hamas, provides social services, jobs and education while at the same time killing people and hiding its military assets amid civilian populations. Think KKK with a nursery school and a job bank.
The same official, by the way, gushed, “In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques at Mecca and Medina. [To which the estimable Andrew McCarthy wrote, 'The main way they fulfill it is by banning non-Muslims from entering, so I'm wondering how Brennan managed to see it.'] I marveled at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that pilgrimage. And, in all my travels,the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem.”
The list of growing threats to regional and global security does not only affect Jews. And not only Jews worry about Israel and the broader region. And it is inconceivable that non-Jewish Americans are happy with the administration’s Middle East policy mess.
So why court Jews? We suspect the real answer is that they want to keep Jews and Democrats (they assume those are the same) on the reservation in an election year.
The only question that remains is whether Jews, or any community courted so assiduously by any administration, will be able to maintain its perspective.
Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.
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