By Barry Rubin
A reader writes to me that I don’t understand how President Barack Obama is really friendly toward Israel—didn’t he say all those nice things?–and I’m distorting his words because I don’t just like him.
Like many people (half of the U.S. population?) I desperately want to like him because it’s better to have a smart, competent president rather than someone leading toward disaster. But unlike a lot of people I’m willing to face reality. Because facing reality is the first step toward solving problems.
Let me try one more time to give an example—one among many—of the problem with Obama, his policies and his speeches.
The statements Obama makes are meant to be seen as positive toward Israel but aren’t.
Example (I’m paraphrasing) I really care about Israel but don’t you realize that by not making more concessions you are contributing to delegitimization of Israel?
OK. That’s friendly, right?
BUT if the president of the United States doesn’t know that:
Israel let 200,000 Palestinians return in 1993-2000 and gave guns to the PA and passed money to them, etc., and got more terrorism and rejectionism.
Israel withdrew from Sinai and made peace with Egypt and now the peace treaty is being torn up. In September Egypt will get a radical, perhaps Islamist, government. Today Egypt is opening the border with the Gaza Strip. Money and weapons will flow across freely to Hamas and will be fired at Israel one day.
Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, and then was attacked by Hizballah in 2006. The U.S. government and others promised that they would stop Hizballah from getting more rockets and returning to southern Lebanon. They didn’t. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates just pointed out that Hizballah now has more rockets than practically any country in the world.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and got a Hamas hostile regime that attacks it.
Israel made huge concessions and then is even MORE delegitimized in the West.
And then the president says: So now the solution is to pull out of the West Bank and then everything will be great!
And when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complains you don’t understand why he’s upset?
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/ His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.