Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama Refuses to Meet With Netanyahu

Via Memeorandum, The Jerusalem Post reports that "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday canceled his plans to attend the upcoming AIPAC summit, after it became clear that US President Barack Obama would not meet him during the conference. " Why will Obama seek out Hugo Chavez at a conference yet refuse to meet with our allies?

This has been brewing for a few days. Consider this excerpt from an article by Jason Koutsoukis: "Can Israel still call the United States its best international friend? Apparently not, if you believe the tone of the local media.

"Watching the drama unfold inside Israel, the increasingly tense dialogue between US President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking on all the trappings of a duel. Almost every day brings news of another sore point between the two countries, a source of yet further inflammation of their once warm relations.

"One could be forgiven for thinking that the more immediate threat to Israel's national security lay across the Atlantic rather than from closer to home. It is bad enough that President Obama uses almost every opportunity he can to set the parameters of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Now US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory.

"No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel.

"If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank. Talkback radio blazed with fury across the country the same day, as Israelis protested that no US official had the right to tell them where to live."

There is an increasing tension in relations between Israel and the United States. Benjamin Netanyahu has become increasingly outspoken in his concern over Iran's nuclear program, as well as the apparent United States reticence to do anything about it. Given that our response to North Korea's missile launch was basically, 'don't do that again!', one can understand Israel's concern.

Shmulev Boteach wrote in the Jerusalem Post "Like many Americans, I have been awed by our president's capacity to draw those who hate us near. He is a man of considerable charm and grace. But I have to admit that I am increasingly troubled by his seeming inability to call out rogue dictators." Boteach and the Israelis are not alone in that feeling; many Americans are concerned as well.

Boteach went on, "All this leads to one important question. Suppose Obama succeeds in building friendships with Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and the Taliban. What then? Does America still get to feel that it stands for something? Will we still be the beacon of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world, or will we have sold out in the name of political expediency? And do any of us seriously believe that presidential friendship is going to get a megalomaniac like Hugo Chavez to ease up on the levers of power, or are we just feeding his ego by showing him he can be a tyrant and still have a beer with the president of the United States? Will the Iranians really stop enriching uranium through diplomacy rather than economic sanctions? "

Netanyahu acknowledges that Iran threatens other countries besides Israel. He has also said that nonmilitary pressure may also work. An Atlantic article by Jeffrey Goldberg quotes Netanyahu, “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means.”

In October 2008 Jessie Jackson was quoted as saying that Obama would end "decades of putting Israel's interests first" and that“Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” will remain strong, but they’ll lose a great deal of their clout in an Obama nation."

I guess he was right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Boteach's article rings very true, and jives well with something I just posted on my own blog: http://vocalminority.typepad.com/blog/2009/04/barack-obama-is-not-only-a-bad-president-hes-a-bad-person.htmlAll the best.