The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the Obama Administration for its unprecedented, biased and disgraceful condemnation of Israel for announcing a program of building Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem, while failing to condemn the Palestinian Authority (PA)s naming a public square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, who commanded the terrorists that perpetrated the 1978 coastal road bus hijacking, in which 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were slaughtered; and also failing to condemn Irans unrelenting drive to obtain nuclear weapons.
On a recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Vice-President Joseph Biden condemned Israel for the announcement of forthcoming Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem saying, I immediately condemned the action (Remarks by Vice President Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, March 10, 2010).
Bidens condemnation was followed by a harsh telephone call to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, in the words of the State Department, called the Israeli announcement a deeply negative signal about Israels approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice presidents trip (Glenn Kessler, Clinton rebukes Israel over east Jerusalem plan, cites damage to bilateral ties, Washington Post, March 15, 2010). Clinton also later described it as being not only an insult to Biden, but an insult to the United States (Moshe Dann, A blessing in disguise, Yediot Ahronot, March 15, 2010).
Israels program of Jewish construction in Jerusalem was also described by senior Obama adviser David Axelrod and as being destructive, an affront and an insult (Israeli settlement action an insult: Obama aide, Yahoo News, March 14, 2010).
According to the Washington Post, [President] Obama had approved Clintons call, sitting down with her during their weekly meeting Thursday to determine the language she would use. The secretary and the president worked through together the specific points she would be making to Prime Minister Netanyahu, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said In her call, Clinton appeared to link U.S. military support for Israel to the construction in East Jerusalem [State Department spokesman P.J.] Crowley said. She made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate, not just through words but through specific actions, that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process (Glenn Kessler, Clinton rebukes Israel over east Jerusalem plan, cites damage to bilateral ties, Washington Post, March 15, 2010).
U.S. House Republican Leader, John Boehner (R-OH), has criticized the Obama Administrations harsh condemnation of Israel saying, The Administrations decision to escalate its rhetoric following Vice President Bidens visit to Israel is not merely irresponsible, it is an affront to the values and foundation of our long-term relationship with a close friend and ally (Boehner Statement on the Obama Administrations Escalated Rhetoric Towards Israel, March 15, 2010)
House Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has also criticized the Obama Administration saying, U.S. condemnations of Israel and threats regarding our bilateral relationship undermine both our allies and the peace process, while encouraging the enemies of America and Israel alike. I am also deeply concerned about the Administrations softer approaches towards the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Iran, which are being carried out in conjunction with hard-line tactics against our key democratic ally, Israel. Our nations security cannot afford a foreign policy which isolates our allies and moves towards appeasing enemies of the U.S.
Representative Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) said, Where, I ask, was the administration’s outrage over the arrest and month long incarceration by Hamas of a British journalist who was investigating arms smuggling into Gaza Where was the outrage when the Palestinian Authority this week named a town square after a woman who helped carry out a massive terror attack against Israel? It has been the PA who has refused to participate in talks for over a year, not the government of Israel. Yet once again, no concern was lodged by the administration (Berkley, ADL push back on U.S. criticism of Israel, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 13, 2010).
Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL) said, I urge the administration to spend more time working to stop Iran from building nuclear bombs and less time concerned with zoning issues in Jerusalem As Iran accelerates its uranium enrichment, we should not be condemning one of Americas strongest democratic allies in the Middle East History teaches us that a divided Jerusalem leads to conflict while a unified Jerusalem protects the rights of all faiths (US lawmaker slams Bidens Israel remarks, Mark Kirk website, March 12, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The Obama Administration has now made it crystal clear that its allegiance and sympathies lie with the Arab Muslims, not with Americas long-term and reliable ally, the Jewish state of Israel. We now know that when President Obama last year in Cairo and Vice-President Biden last week in Tel Aviv spoke of the unbreakable bonds between Israel and the United States, they are merely words, not matched by actions and doesnt seem to be their real feelings.
President Obama, Vice-President Biden and Secretary Clinton, have never condemned Palestinian Arab actions of naming streets schools and sports teams after Jew-killers, or the Palestinian Authority (PA) refusing to arrest terrorists, or PA leaders calling Jew-killers heroes and martyrs, as they have done in recent weeks. They have never said these PA actions are destructive to peace or an insult or an affront to America on the rare occasions that they have referred to Palestinian incitement. These horrific words used by the Obama Administration were reserved only for Israel never used against the Arabs. Yet Obama promotes healthy relations between the U.S. and the Arab Muslim terrorist regimes of Syria and Libya; he has even said that we shouldnt meddle in the internal affairs of Iran. Obama said in a speech to the G-20 Summit that the U.S. will no longer dictate to other countries and will forge partnerships as opposed to merely dictating solutions. In Middle East, negotiations, he told Al-Arabbiya that the U.S. will henceforth start by listening, because all too often the U.S. starts by dictating. Apparently this doesnt apply to the human-rights loving ally Israel that is now being treated like an antagonist.
Worse, Secretary Clintons words strongly suggest that the U.S. might pressure Israel through the military and defense component of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Such a move would not only be scandalous but deeply inept, giving the PA and other anti-peace parties grounds for the belief that the U.S. is going to abandon Israel and also ensuring that they make no concession at all.
Israel never agreed to freeze Jewish construction in Jerusalem when instituting a unilateral (and unreciprocated) 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. Furthermore, Secretary Clinton herself hailed Israels unilateral concession at the time as unprecedented and expressed support for it, even though she understood that Israel would continue building in Jerusalem. In any event, why cant Jews live in eastern Jerusalem while 1.2 million Arabs live all over Israel, including in Jerusalem? Moreover, Jerusalem is Israels religious and historical capital. In contrast, it is not mentioned even once in the Quran. When the eastern half of the city was under Jordanian Arab control from 1948 to 1967, it languished and became a backwater in which Jewish religious shrines and rights were violated. No Arab ruler other than Jordans King Hussein even visited the city during that period.
Perhaps we should not be surprised by this unprecedented, unwarranted, hysterical attack against Israel, given President Obamas close association for some twenty years with anti-Israel black racist pastor Jeremiah Wright (whom he called his mentor and a great man) and viciously anti-Israel activists like Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah; his association with Louis Farrakhans million man march and his statements that Hamas and Hizballah have legitimate claims.
The ZOA urges the Administration to rescind its condemnation of Israel and to start condemning Palestinian terrorism, incitement to hatred and murder and glorification of terrorists, in clear language and without delay. We also urge all American Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, and indeed all people of goodwill, to condemn the approach of the Obama Administration and to call upon it to focus on genuine Palestinian anti-peace acts, not false Israeli ones. People should call, email and fax the White House, the State Department and their members of Congress to protest the Obama Administrations conduct.