Nov 3, 2009

Train Wreck: Netanyahu Heading for U.S. as Israeli Trust in President Obama Plummets

Joel C. RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

Jerusalem, Israel — If I had to rank the most pro-Israel leaders in the Western alliance right now, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would top the list. President Obama wouldn’t even be on the list.

Last Friday night, I gave an address to the Christian Embassy banquet in northern Virginia. The title of my talk was, “Train Wreck: The Coming Collision of U.S.-Israeli Relations.” With deep concern and regret, I noted that just as the Iranian nuclear threat is worsening, we are currently witnessing the worst strains in U.S.-Israel relations in memory.

  • Before January, polls showed 88% of Israelis believed President Bush was pro-Israel.
  • In May, a Jerusalem Post poll found that only 31% of Israelis believed President Obama was pro-Israel.
  • By August, a Jerusalem Post poll found only 4% of Israelis believed President Obama was pro-Israel.
Israel’s plummeting confidence that the White House truly understands their security needs and will stand with them as a faithful ally is the results of numerous actions and statements by the President and his senior advisors.
  • During the primaries, then-Senator Obama described Iran as a tiny country that didn’t pose much of a threat, and vowed to enter direct talks with Iranian leader Ahmadinejad and senior Iranian officials without preconditions. He later said Iran was a “grave threat,” but his initial analysis raised real doubts about his understanding of the situation.
  • As President, Mr. Obama seems determined to pursue a policy of “direct engagement” with Iran in the absence of any evidence that Iran’s Radical Islamic leadership wants a better relationship with the U.S. and the West — to the contrary, Iran is accelerating its nuclear and ballistic missile development programs and becoming more belligerent towards the U.S. and Israel.
  • President Obama refuses to impose crippling economic sanctions on Iran, despite the revelation of a third secret Iranian nuclear facility, this one located on a military base near the religious city of Qom.
  • In May, Gen. James Jones — the President’s national security advisor — appeared on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopolous and referred “Israel’s preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat” — preoccupation? That’s like pooh-poohing Jewish “preoccupation” with Hitler in the late-1930s.
  • In May, CIA chief Leon Panetta was sent to Israel reportedly to warn Israeli leaders not to launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities without permission from the U.S., though he offered no proof the U.S. had an effective strategy to stop Iran from getting the Bomb.
  • In the summer of 2009, President Obama did precious little to support the Reformers on the streets of Tehran after a rigged “re-election” of Ahmadinejad, and said he refused to “meddle” in other countries’ affairs.
  • Yet the Obama administration seems perfectly willing to “meddle” in Israeli affairs.
  • Gen. Jones told a European diplomat in May that President Obama “will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.”
  • Since then, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special Mideast envoy George Mitchell has applied intense pressure on Israel to stop building, improving and expanding Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
  • President Obama has also called for a comprehensive final peace treaty in which Israel returns to the 1967 borders, a requirement that would force Israel to divide its capital city of Jerusalem and give up the strategically vital Jordan Valley.
  • In the fall of 2009, the Obama administration reneged on security commitments the U.S. had made to Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defenses, causing many in the U.S. and Israel to wonder if other security commitments to American allies would be respected or rescinded in the future.
  • The Obama administration is doing precious little to persuade the world to denounce and then ignore the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, which essentially charges Israel with war crimes for defending her citizens from thousands of rocket, missile and mortar attacks emanating from Gaza.
These are just a few reasons for the meltdown in Israeli confidence in White House support for the Jewish State. But such trends have real-world effects. How could the Israeli people be expected to postpone a preemptive strike against Iran much longer if they don’t believe the White House has a serious and effective plan to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them? How could Israeli people be expected to make major concessions in return for peace with the Palestinians if they don’t fundamentally believe Israel’s most faithful historic ally will truly be there for them if the going gets rough?

On April 14th of this year, I said on the Glenn Beck show that I believed we were witnessing a coming “train wreck” in U.S.-Israeli relations over the Iran and Palestinian issues. The situation has only worsened since then.

That’s why I’m in Israel for the next few weeks, leading a Joshua Fund “prayer & vision trip” — to better understand the dynamic that’s underway, and to mobilize evangelical Christians in the U.S., Israel and around the world to bless Israel in real and practical ways, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray for wisdom for Israeli leaders, and pray for a change of heart in the Obama administration. The tour begins Friday. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, and would be grateful for your faithful and continued prayers for these issues as well.

Related Links

Egypt-Israel frictions complicate US peace efforts - AP
Obama appoints anti-Israel senator to head intel team - Israel Today
Obama Continues Promoting his Anti-Israel Policy; Appoints Chuck Hagel - Yeshiva World News
White House Seeks Short-Term Fixes in Mideast - New York Times
Inside the Revolution - Joel C. Rosenberg (Book)