Obama’s treatment of Israel unfair, dangerous
- Posted on Friday, April 9, 2010 at 3:48 PM EDT
- Filed under News, Op-eds
- Tagged for Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Collegian, Gaza, Hamas, Hezbollah
This week, we witnessed President Obama’s shameful treatment of the leader of one of America’s closest allies. This became clear when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hauled before a “seething” Obama and read the Riot Act behind closed doors. Netanyahu was rudely dismissed and the press was not allowed to photograph even a single handshake between the two men.
Obama has shown a willingness to bow to foreign dictators, and has entertained the notion of talks with murderous tyrants such as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuba’s Raul Castro. The democratic state whose U.N. voting record is most consistent with America’s was treated like a burden.
The flagellation of the leader of the only democracy in the Middle East that guarantees political, civil and human rights to every single one of its citizens regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, does not bode well for the promotion of American values worldwide. It exposes a dangerous and worrisome vein of Obama’s foreign policy.
There was admittedly a lack of oversight on behalf of the Israeli government when the Interior Ministry announced the construction of 1,600 new housing units in the Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden in early March. Prime Minister Netanyahu, known as Bibi in Israel, has now apologized four times for the timing of the incident, while the Obama administration has continued its verbal assault on Israel, culminating in the widely reported bullying of Bibi this past week.
While allies can disagree, it is common sense that in order to ensure the credibility of the American security guarantee, their disagreements should be discussed in private.
Further American criticism has focused on the suspected Israeli assassination of Hamas arms-smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. I ask the reader to imagine that the United States has carried out a successful assassination of Osama bin Laden in a foreign country. Who would criticize this action? The answer, simply put, is almost no state except for a small mélange of reactionary and despotic regimes under the guise of “sovereignty.”
The chorus of voices denouncing Israel’s suspected assassination of al-Mabhouh is composed not only of these rogue states, but of Western states such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. This shows the double standard to which Israel is held every day. No other country faces such intense scrutiny for its efforts to protect the security and well-being of its citizens. According to independent sources, no other country performs so ethically in the execution of necessary combat operations.
The next time you feel the need to criticize Israel because your friend has an “End the Gaza Seige” button on their backpack, or because you heard Rachel Maddow pick apart the state’s unwillingness to bend to Obama’s every whim, put yourself in its shoes:
The state of Israel, about the size of New Jersey, with 7.5 million citizens, is surrounded by hostile Arab dictatorships whose populations number almost 300 million.
If Israel’s civilian victims of terrorism are made proportionate to the American population, Israel has suffered the equivalent of 17 Sept. 11 attacks since the year 2000.
Only two Arab states recognize the existence of the state of Israel. American allies who benefit from the good will of the American taxpayer do not recognize Israel’s existence. This list includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, among others.
If Israel’s neighbors are not engaged in public attempts to delegitimize the state of Israel, through proposing and sponsoring U.N. investigations and condemnations, they are actively aiding the enemies of Israel by arming groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Both groups are considered terrorist groups by the U.S. Department of State.
Israel seeks peace and security in a dangerous and hostile neighborhood. An almost obsessive emphasis on Israel’s faults, particularly prevalent among the college campuses of America, is readily apparent today. Meanwhile, the Arab world, which lacks a single democracy, receives a free pass for flagrant and chronic human rights abuses. This blatant contradiction is often nothing more than a poorly disguised form of political anti-Semitism.
The American people are wondering why Obama has carried out such harsh treatment to the one state that stands by America without fail, and whose values are so consistent with the American worldview. The President must unequivocally reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and must do so promptly, before lasting damage affects the credibility of the American brand abroad and Israel’s existence.
Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said recently at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference, to which the author of this letter was an attendee: “If the terrorists laid down their arms tomorrow, there would be peace; if Israel laid down its arms tomorrow, there would be genocide.”
About the Author
Dan Letovsky is a student in the class of 2010 at the University of Richmond.