The ongoing, sorry saga of recent U.S.-Israeli relations could become every American’s worst nightmare as it spins out of diplomacy’s controlled, dispassionate orbit. The recent spate of news stories underscores the likelihood of a disastrous nuclear scenario playing out in the nearer term.
Context is all important. Since May 14,1948, when President Truman, against the advice of Secretary Marshall and nearly all other senior foreign policy advisers at the time, officially recognized the new State of Israel, thereby recognizing its right to exist, our two nations have enjoyed a special relationship second only to that between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. All presidents, Republican and Democrat, no matter their residence on the political spectrum, have protected and supported the people of Israel and their rights among nations. Until this president.
There is no greater record of obsequious behavior toward Israel’s enemies—including some who have sanctioned and financed terrorist acts of war against the United States—than that compiled by the Obama Administration. There is also no record anywhere of Israel ever threatening to wipe any other nation off the face of the earth, yet the United States now seeks to become a bedfellow with those who make such a vow against Israel every day with their morning prayers.
Now, we have Josh Earnest’s latest comments suggesting that the relationship has reached a level “of deep estrangement,” according to the Wall Street Journal. It took two days for our president to make a congratulatory call to the victorious Prime Minister Netanyahu, who won a startling, clear electoral endorsement from his people.
It must have been a much easier call to make when he sought to firm up France’s Francois Hollande. One can only imagine the polite rebuff President Obama was given as French diplomats have taken a surprisingly hard stance in the negotiations of late. Indeed, the French see nothing of value in the artificial timeline imposed by the United States. Early on, if the former French prime minister was correctly quoted, America was seen to be on a fool’s errand if it thought it could be successful negotiating any agreement with Iran.
So, what does Benjamin Netanyahu think about all of this? Probably what any of us would think if our closest ally continued to tout positions vis a vis nuclear armaments in Iran that potentially gave that nation a first strike capability against us. What he must know is that the only reason Iran is negotiating at all is to have the sanctions lifted that are crippling its ability to support a guns and butter economy. What he must further know is that Iran has no intention to honor whatever accords it agrees to reluctantly accept just as the Obama bell rings.
Knowing what he knows, Netanyahu risked all by coming to the U.S. to plead his case while his ally talks to his enemy about the future of the Middle East, but not to him. And naturally, Obama-Biden and most of their party snub him. It’s as if this president takes the same view about Israel and its Arab neighbors as he apparently does about the U.S. and the rest of the world: he has taken it upon himself to even things up a bit because Israel and the U.S. have had an upper hand for far too long.
In 1973, the novelist Allen Drury wrote Come Nineveh, Come Tyre. It could have been about President Obama and Iran. Interestingly, Mr. Obama is in a position similar to that in which Mr. Truman found himself: he wants to pursue a policy involving Israel that goes against the counsel of many around him. There’s a difference, however: Mr. Truman was on the right side of history. Mr. Obama is just plain wrong.