Obama’s Israel Tantrum

Obamma-and-McDonough

The leader of the free world takes revenge on an ally

You’ll have to forgive President Obama. The leader of the free world is still having difficulty accepting that the Israeli people get to choose their own prime minister, never mind his preferences.

The latest White House tantrum in the wake of Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election last week took the form of a speech delivered Monday by Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, in which he declared that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

“Mr. Obama was counting on Mr. Netanyahu to be defeated in last week’s election, and the President did what he could to help that defeat along. But Mr. Obama’s overt hostility backfired.”

When a chief of staff speaks in public, especially as the keynote speaker at a scheduled event, the President has signed off. In this case the audience was also carefully chosen: the annual conference of J Street, a left-leaning Jewish lobbying group that has never met an Israeli concession it didn’t like. Which makes it all the more distressing that Mr. McDonough would talk about Israel in language usually associated with Palestinian terror groups.

“Instead, the President and his team seem out for revenge.”

[Read the full text here, at the Wall Street Journal]

Mr. McDonough’s remarks come amid other expressions of presidential pique—including last week’s unprecedented threat that Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election may mean an end to U.S. backing for Israel at the United Nations, and this week’s report in the Journal that the Israelis have been spying on the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. (Israel denies it, and we don’t condone such spying, but the U.S. also shouldn’t be keeping its allies and Congress in the dark.) Not to mention the more or less constant snubs and insults directed at the Israeli prime minister by unnamed Obama officials, with one calling him a “coward.”

“So desperate is the U.S. for an Iran deal, the French look like hard-liners, hardly a consoling thought.”

Mr. Obama was counting on Mr. Netanyahu to be defeated in last week’s election, and the President did what he could to help that defeat along. But Mr. Obama’s overt hostility backfired. In the normal course of things, this would be the time for the White House to soften the rhetoric and seek to restore relationships.

Instead, the President and his team seem out for revenge. So while Mr. Netanyahu has clarified his comment about his opposition to a Palestinian state (he says he supports a two-state solution but now is not the time) and apologized to Arab Israelis for his remarks about their votes during the waning hours of the election, the President and his team have been escalating.

Perhaps this is a sign that the nuclear negotiations with Iran aren’t going as well as the President had planned…(read more)

WSJ


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