Mona Charen
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President Obama has claimed many times to be a steadfast friend of the state of Israel. He certainly found bold words to convey that impression when he addressed the AIPAC conference in 2008.

"(W)e know that we cannot relent, we cannot yield, and, as president, I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security ... not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust, not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction, not when there are maps across the Middle East that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence, and government-funded textbooks filled with hatred towards Jews, not when there are rockets raining down on Sderot, and Israeli children have to take a deep breath and summon uncommon courage every time they board a bus or walk to school."

The aspiring president went further. In the same speech, he proclaimed that "there is no room at the negotiating table for terrorist organizations." The president didn't touch on the matter of borders, but he did pledge that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

But since taking office, the president's actions have been anything but friendly. By publicly demanding in 2009 that Israel halt all settlement activity, he stepped into the role of negotiator for Mahmoud Abbas, who had not, before then, made participating in talks contingent on such a moratorium. (Afterward, he could do nothing else.)

By announcing American demands on Israel at the United Nations, seat of virulent, Israel-despising despots, the president betrayed his promise to stand by the lonely democracy in the Middle East and, in fact, contributed to the atmosphere of menace toward Israel.

The president's concept of friendship toward Israel was capacious enough to permit him to insult the nation's prime minister during a Washington visit because Netanyahu had not agreed to stop building apartments for Jews in Jerusalem, and to instruct his secretary of state to engage in a 40-minute dressing down of the PM for the same offense.

Now Obama claims to have found a new expression of friendship -- the demand that negotiations over a future Palestinian state begin with the assumption that Israel will relinquish all of the disputed territories acquired in a defensive war 44 years ago. Is the president again serving as chief negotiator for the Palestinians?

The president claims a warrant for his unprecedented demands on Israel -- pressure to withdraw to what Abba Eban called "Auschwitz borders" -- from the Arab spring and what he perceives to be the dangers of "procrastination." It's an interesting word choice, suggesting that Israel has been reluctant to make peace.

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Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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