The End of America's Strategic Alliance with Israel?
Caroline Glick Thursday, June 04, 2009
From an Israeli perspective, Pres. Barack Obama's speech today in Cairo was
deeply disturbing. Both rhetorically and programmatically, Obama's speech
was a renunciation of America's strategic alliance with Israel.
Rhetorically, Obama's sugar coated the pathologies of the Islamic world -
from the tyranny that characterizes its regimes, to the misogyny,
xenophobia, Jew hatred, and general intolerance that characterizes its
societies. In so doing he made clear that his idea of pressing the restart
button with the Islamic world involves erasing the moral distinctions
between the Islamic world and the free world.
In contrast, Obama's perverse characterization of Israel - of the sources of
its legitimacy and of its behavior - made clear that he shares the Arab
world's view that there is something basically illegitimate about the Jewish
In 1922 the League of Nations mandated Great Britain to facilitate the
reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel on both
sides of the Jordan River. The international community's decision to work
towards the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in Israel owed to its
recognition of the Jewish people's legal, historic, and moral rights to our
Arab propaganda finds this basic and fundamental truth inconvenient. So for
the past 60 years, the Arabs have been advancing the fiction that Israel's
existence owes solely to European guilt over the Holocaust. As far as the
Arabs are concerned, the Jews have no legal, historic, or moral right to
what the Arabs see as Islamic land.
In his address, while Obama admonished the Arabs for their pervasive Jew
hatred and Holocaust denial, he effectively accepted and legitimized their
view that Israel owes its existence to the Holocaust when he said, "the
aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot
be denied," and then went on to talk about the Holocaust.
Just as abominably, Obama compared Israel to Southern slave owners and
Palestinians to black slaves in the antebellum south. He used the Arab
euphemism "resistance" to discuss Palestinian terrorism, and generally
ignored the fact that every Palestinian political faction is also a
In addition to his morally outrageous characterization of Israel and
factually inaccurate account of its foundations, Obama struck out at the
Jewish state through the two policies he outlined in his address. His first
policy involves coercing Israel into barring all Jewish construction in
Judea and Samaria (otherwise known as the West Bank), and Jerusalem.
Obama claims that this policy will increase prospects for peace. But this is
untrue. As Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas made clear in his
Washington Post interview last week, Obama's trenchant campaign against
Jewish construction in these areas has convinced the Palestinians they have
no reason to be flexible in their positions towards Israel. Indeed, Obama's
assault on Israeli construction and his unsubstantiated, bigoted claim that
the presence of Jews in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem impedes progress
towards peace ensures that there will be no agreement whatsoever between
Israel and the Palestinians.
After all, why would the Palestinians make a deal with Israel when they know
that Obama will blame Israel for the absence of a peace agreement?
Even more strategically devastating than his castigation of Israel as the
villain in the Arab-Israel conflict is Obama's stated policy towards Iran.
In Cairo, Obama offered Iran nuclear energy in exchange for its
nuclear-weapons program. This offer has been on the table since 2003 and has
been repeatedly rejected by the Iranians. Indeed, they rejected it yet again
Obama must know that his policy will not lead to the hoped for change in
Iran's behavior. And since he must know this, the only rational explanation
for his decision to adopt a policy he knows will fail is that he is
comfortable with the idea of Iran becoming a nuclear power. And this is
something that Israel cannot abide by.
The only silver lining for Israelis from the president's speech in Cairo and
his general positions on the Middle East is that Obama has overplayed his
hand. Far from bending to his will, a large majority of Israelis perceives
Obama as a hostile force and has rallied in support of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu against the administration. This public support gives
Netanyahu the maneuver room he needs to take the actions that Israel needs
to take to defend against the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran and to assert
its national rights and to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists and
other Arab and non-Arab anti-Semites who wish it ill.
- Caroline B. Glick is the senior fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the
Center for Security Policy and the senior contributing editor of The