If any more proof was needed that Barack Obama seriously does not like Israel, it came with the official US government reaction to the Gaza Flotilla incident. The United States voted for a Security Council resolution that condemned Israel in all but name.
Elliot Abrams explains:
“On the Gaza flotilla, the Obama administration waffled and straddled. It agreed to a statement in which the United Nations condemned the ‘acts’ that led to loss of life but did not say ‘We condemn Israel.’ Presumably White House congratulated itself on this elision, but no one is fooled: the world media keep repeating that the Security Council condemned Israel, and in this case it is hard to argue. Yet it would have been simple to stop the mob had the White House wanted to. “
The United States has veto power in the UN Security Council and has used it innumerable times in the past when proposals have arisen to condemn Israel for defending itself. But President Obama has a different approach when it comes to American relations with Israel.
Ever since President Harry Truman, on his own authority, recognized the State of Israel as it was busily being born in pain and blood in 1948, the American foreign policy establishment has regarded the Jewish state as at best inconvenient, at worst a pain in the ass. Most US Presidents, either conscious of the Jewish vote in America, or appreciating the real strategic and moral importance of Israel, have blocked their own State Departments from damaging relations with Israel by joining in the lynch mob that usually forms and consists of Muslim states, third world tyrannies, and squishy (and border like anti Semitic) European countries. Sometimes America has stood alone in protecting its ally from international condemnation.
But standing alone, whether out of principle or out of self interest, is not the way the Obama administration rolls. The Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy is to adhere to whatever the world consensus is, like an insecure adolescent following whatever is fashionable because everyone else is doing it. And if that means allowing Israel to be condemned for defending itself against a “peace flotilla” which appears to have been crewed by jihadis and terrorist sympathizers, then so be it.
Even worse, the Obama administration seems to have adopted the State Department bureaucracy’s attitude that Israel is an errant child, which occasionally has to be slapped down. Recall the treatment the Israeli Prime Minister got during his last visit to Washington. The fact that Israel is surrounded by enemies that would recreate the Nazi Holocaust in the Middle East does not enter into any of these deliberations.
This policy is very dangerous for two reasons. First, as Michael Goodwin points out, the hostile attitude on the part of the Obama administration has given permission to Israel’s enemies to start pushing the envelope. It is no accident that the Gaza Flotilla tried to run the Israeli blockade in the third year after it had been imposed on Gaza, with the support, ironically enough, of the United States and the European Union. They are assured that Obama would not shield Israel from the resulting outrage against it.
Second, Israel has been able to show restraint from time to time because it was assured that the United States would protect it. During the 1990-91 Gulf War, Israel was persuaded not to strike at Iraqi Scud missile sites that were bombarding Israeli targets because President Bush the Elder promised and then fulfilled that promise to divert American military assets to finding and destroying those Scud batteries without inflaming Arab public opinion by bringing in the Jewish state on the side of the Coalition against Saddam Hussein.
More recently, Israel has been persuaded not to strike at Iranian nuclear sites based on the promise that the United States would exert every effort to deny Iran the atomic bomb, even if it included its own military strike.
There is now reason for Israel to suspect that the Obama administration is prepared to live with a nuclear Iran. Unfortunately Israel has not that luxury. As of this writing, there is a squadron of Israel submarines capable of firing nuclear tipped missiles patrolling the Persian Gulf, likely with the tacit permission of the Arab Gulf States, which fear a nuclear Iran as much as Israel. Israel is preparing an air assault that would consist of long range F 16s and their own fleet of missile firing drones.
If Israel concludes that it cannot rely on the United States and that Iran is on the brink of getting the Bomb, it will strike, perhaps even with its own nuclear weapons. The results would be incalculable.
Sources: “Joining the Jackals,” Elliott Abrams, The Weekly Standard, June 2nd, 2010
“Why Does Obama Hate Israel?”, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, March 15th, 2010
“Anti-Israel sharks sniff O’s weakness,” Michael Goodwin, New York Post, June 2nd, 2010
“Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran,” Uzi Mahnaimi, Times of London, May 30th, 2010