On Monday, April 19, 2010, the state of Israel celebrated her 62nd birthday, a tiny nation reborn out of the ashes of the Holocaust. I could not help but recall that President Harry S. Truman was courageous enough to acknowledge the revival. He said, “I had faith in Israel even before it was established. I knew it was based on the love of freedom, which has been the guiding star of the Jewish people since the days of Moses.”
For 62 years, Israel has been America’s one true friend and strategic ally in the Middle East. With recent developments, the actions of President Obama and his administration have clouded the relationship between the two nations. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was stiff-armed during his recent visit to Washington, D.C. In the words of one reporter, Obama “treated [Netanyahu] like some third-world, tin-pot dictator,” and even denied him the customary state dinner.
Obama’s arrogant and cavalier treatment of the prime minister of Israel callously accelerated the housing dispute into a full-fledged tragedy. He has endangered the long-standing alliance between Israel and the United States – one that dates back to Truman’s presidency.
It was Truman who courageously led the world in being the first country to recognize Israel on May 14, 1948. A year or so after the Jewish state came into being, its chief rabbi paid an official call on Truman. The Israeli dignitary blessed the president with the words: “God put you in your mother’s womb so you would be the instrument to bring about Israel’s rebirth after 2,000 years.” Tears began flowing down Truman’s face.
Since Harry Truman, all U.S. presidents have considered the support of Israel a moral imperative, believing that a secure and strong Israel is in America’s self-interest – until now.
In his attempts to look like an Arab, Obama has joined the “kick-a-Jew” club. The president is linking housing projects to the safety of American soldiers by stating that the U.S. often gets involved in conflicts that cost “American blood and treasure.” Surely, Mr. Obama is not trying to cast blame on Israel for U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It sounds suspiciously like other U.S. politicians who have failed to take seriously Israel’s repeated overtures to the Palestinians. Mr. Obama should also read the history of the rejection by Palestinian leaders of Israel’s olive branches.
In a much-touted speech delivered from Cairo, Egypt, on June 4, 2009, Barack Obama outlined what he saw as the first and second greatest sources of tension between the Muslim world and the United States. Al-Qaida topped his list, but the Israeli/Palestinian conflict came in as the second-greatest source of tension. The president said, “Israel has been depriving the Palestinians of their homeland for 60 years.” It did not go unnoticed that no mention was made of centuries-old Jewish claims to the land.
Arab neighbors who stand threateningly on its borders have long singled out Israel for pariah status. Not only does the tiny nation live in the crosshairs of Hamas and Hezbollah, but Iran, which funds and arms these enemies, blatantly and vocally calls for the decimation of Israel. The rhetoric has grown even stronger since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “… we are not planning anything other than going for sanctions.”
Working through leaders such as Hamas’ Khalid Mashai, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah and Iraq’s Muqtada al-Sadr, Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East. It provides funds and arms to Hezbollah and Hamas and ships weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is particularly disturbing to Israel because of Iran’s threats to “wipe it off the map.”
The Jews are regularly demonized by the Arab media, and now seemingly by the president of the country that has heretofore been a trusted ally.
I am reminded of the old saw, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”