Some Obama critics point to his personal ties to Islam -- he is the son of a Muslim father, was raised, for a time, by a Muslim stepfather in Muslim Indonesia, and has an understanding and affinity for Muslim culture not common among many Americans. But I believe the problem is more politically than culturally driven. Obama is a man of the Left -- and the Left is now, and has been since the '60s, reflexively anti-Israel.
President Obama has precipitated a crisis with our staunchest ally in the Middle East and will do nothing to further the prospects for peace. Why should the Palestinians, whose internecine conflicts are a huge impediment to peace, make any concessions of their own when Obama is willing to decide what territory Israel must give up before the talks even begin?
The president's slap at Israel and its leader couldn't come at a worse time. Arab leaders will be meeting this weekend in Libya with promises to set aside their differences so that they can unite against Israel. Syria's Bashar al-Assad has called on his fellow Arabs to "rescue Jerusalem," a bellicose statement given Syria's attack on Israel in 1973. And the Arab League is making overtures to Iran as well, pushing for closer ties with a country that has traditionally been viewed as a threat to many of its Arab neighbors as well as Israel and the U.S.
President Obama's hostility to Israel will embolden not only Israel's enemies but our own. Thankfully, Congress remains steadfastly supportive of Israel, as do the American people. But other nations look to our president to judge U.S. sympathies -- and President Obama is sending the wrong message to friends and foes alike.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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