Reports and editorials from around the world state that President Obama treated Prime Minister Netanyahu of the Jewish state of Israel in a disgraceful and unwarranted manner.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly condemns President Obama for his behavior toward the Jewish state. We consider Obamas actions an affront and an insult to all Jews in America and throughout all the world. Obama apparently also made new and substantial demands of Israel while making no demands of the anti-peace regime of Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Authority.
The ZOA concurs with the words of Commentary Magazines Jennifer Rubin who wrote, the Obami are sticking with their modus operandi preconditions and ultimatums for the Israelis, and water-carrying for the Palestinians;
Netanyahu reportedly wanted to know where the reciprocity was and why he was the one making all the concessions. (Netanyahu, according to senior officials, said that while the US held him responsible for the timing of the announcement to build 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo, rather than holding Interior Minister Eli Yishai responsible, Abbas was not held responsible when it came to the PA which recently presided over the naming of a square in Ramallah for the terrorist responsible for the Coastal Road massacre.)
It is not that the Obami fear daylight between the U.S. and Israel; it is that they flaunt it. It is not credibility as an honest broker that the Obami are establishing but rather fidelity to the Palestinian negotiating stance. And after all this, and the revelation that the proposed sanctions will be pinpricks at best, would any reasonable Israeli leader believe this administration will do everything (or even anything too strenuous) to remove the existential threat to the Jewish state?
The low point in the history of U.S.-Israel relations has come about not because of a housing permit but because we have a president fundamentally uninterested in retaining the robust, close relationship between the two countries that other administrations of both parties have cultivated. The Obami set out to separate the U.S. from Israel, to pressure and cajole the Jewish state, and to remake the U.S. into an eager suitor to the Muslim World. In the process, anti-Israel delegitimizing efforts have been unleashed as Israels enemies (and our own allies) sense that we have downgraded the relationship with the Jewish state, the Israeli public has come to distrust the administration, the American Jewish electorate is somewhere between stunned and horrified, and Israel is less secure and more isolated than ever before.
If mainstream Jewish organizations are serious about their stated mission, it is incumbent upon them to protest this state of affairs clearly and loudly and make their support for this president and his congressional enablers conditional, based on a change of policy in regard to Israel. Otherwise, they are enabling a potentially fatal assault on the security of the Jewish state. Silence is acquiescence, meekness is shameful. A generation from now, Jews will be asking those who led key American Jewish organizations, what did you do to protect Israel? What did you do to protest the creep toward a containment policy for a nuclear-armed Iran? They better have a good answer.
Following is a selected sample of articles discussing the Netanyahu-Obama White House meeting —
Washington Post Jackson Diehl March 24, 2010
for the second time in a year, the Middle East peace process has been stalled by a U.S.-engineered deadlock .
Obama has added more poison to a U.S.-Israeli relationship that already was at its lowest point in two decades. Tuesday night the White House refused to allow non-official photographers record the presidents meeting with Netanyahu; no statement was issued afterward. Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length. That is something the rest of the world will be quick to notice and respond to. Just like the Palestinians, European governments cannot be more friendly to an Israeli leader than the United States. Would Britain have expelled a senior Israeli diplomat Tuesday because of a flap over forged passports if there were no daylight between Obama and Netanyahu? Maybe not
Obama chose to challenge Netanyahu on a point that is not material to the creation of a Palestinian state. As the Israeli leader has pointed out, previous U.S. administrations and the Palestinians themselves have already accepted that Jewish Neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem will be annexed to Israel in exchange for territory elsewhere
A new administration can be excused for making such a mistake in the treacherous and complex theater of Middle East diplomacy. Thats why Obama was given a pass by many when he made exactly the same mistake last year. The second time around, the president doesnt look naïve. He appears ideological and vindictive.
Jerusalem Post blog Mayor Ed Koch March 23, 2010
I consider the Obama administrations recent actions against the Israeli government to be outrageous and a breach of trust.
What is most disturbing about the truly harsh and inflammatory rhetoric of both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton directed at the government of Israel, is that it is speculated President Obama himself may have ordered Biden and Clinton to make the statements they made. The Times of March 16 reported, Mr. Obama was deeply involved in the strategy and planning for Mr. Bidens visit and orchestrated the response from Mr. Biden and Mrs. Clinton after it went awry, these officials said. President Obama and his administrations overly harsh public reaction to the construction in east Jerusalem appears to have emboldened Israels enemies and provided a cover for their extremist views. It has also created a serious crisis of confidence among the Israeli public that it can depend on this administration for its security.
the relations will never be the same again. Humpty Dumpty has been broken and the absolute trust needed between allies is no longer there. How sad it is for the supporters of Israel who put their trust in President Obama.
New York Times Ethan Bronner March 26, 2010
news coverage of his Washington trip, describing his treatment at the White House as deeply humiliating because neither photographs or ceremony mark his visit.
There is little doubt that Obama administration officials thought it was appropriate to reciprocate the embarrassment felt by Mr. Biden here and to send a tough message .
Commentary Magazine Jonathan S. Tobin blogs 03.25.2010
No Denying White House Animus Toward Israel
But the cold reception of the Dalai Lama now seems like a wild party compared to the way Obama received Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House this week .it was an excuse for the administration to renew its war on Netanyahu
But never has the leader of Americas ally Israel been treated with such open contempt as shown by Obama to Netanyahu. The Israelis visit to the White House was closed to the press with not even one photo released of their encounter. The fact is that Obama didnt even want his picture taken with Netanyahu. Thats particularly strange since the president has never any qualms about getting snapped next to a wide variety of international leaders on his travels .Coming from a president that has spent his time in office making non-stop efforts to reach out to and engage Americas enemies around the world, this open hostility to Israel is breathtaking in its brazenness.
Something that not even the elder Bush and James Baker ever tried to shove down Shamirs throat. There was no joint statement released after the talks ended but the White House let it be known that they expected the Israelis to make further concessions as in indication of their willingness to build confidence .the Palestinians, who have refused to even negotiate directly with Israel and who refused only a year and a half ago to accept an Israeli offer of an independent state that would have included part of Jerusalem, have not been asked by Obama to make any gestures of their own to enhance the non-existent chances of peace.
This White Houses cold shoulder to Netanyahu even the most shameless Obama apologist can pretend that it was anything but an indication of the presidents hostility The question for Jewish Democrats and other liberal friends of Israel is whether they are prepared to hold Barack Obama accountable in the same fashion.
Jerusalem Post Caroline Glick 03/22/2010
This is the behavior of an adversary.
U.S. President treating Israel like an enemy
Obama has made clear that he is not Israels ally .he will do everything he can to downgrade US relations with Israel while maintaining his constant genuflection to the likes of Iran, Syria, the Palestinians and Turkey.
The Times of the United Kingdom March 26, 2010
Binyamin Netanyahu humiliated after Barack Obama dumped him for dinner
For a head of government to visit the White House and not pose for photographers is rare. For a key ally to be left to his own devices while the President withdraws to have dinner in private was, until this week, unheard of. Yet that is how Binyamin Netanyahu was treated by President Obama on Tuesday night, according to Israeli reports on a trip viewed in Jerusalem as a humiliation.
It was awful, the congressman said. One Israeli newspaper called the meeting a hazing in stages, Another said that the Prime Minister had received the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea.
He [Netanyahu] returned to Israel yesterday isolated after what Israeli media have called a White House ambush
The Prime Minister leaves America disgraced, isolated and altogether weaker than when he came, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz said .
Newspaper reports recounted how Mr. Netanyahu looked excessively concerned and upset
Commentary Magazine Jennifer Rubin 03/26/2010
As Jonathan has noted, we dont know exactly how shabby the Obamis behavior toward Bibi Netanyahu was. It is cause for alarm if it was remotely like this:
the projected air of chilliness and the ensuing deadlines that we have learned have been imposed on the Israeli government are enough to confirm that the relationship between the two countries is anything but rock solid
Victor Davis Hanson on Israel
Some strong supporters of both Obama and Israel are disappointed in the latest hysterical Biden-Clinton-Obama smack-down over the settlement issue. But why, I dont know this is a logical, not an aberrant, development from President Obama.
Once it was thought to be unprincipled guilt-by-association for pro-Israeli, anti-Obama groups to question candidate Obamas dubious associations; after all, Reverend Wright, Rashid Khalidi, Samantha Power, et al. were all on record as hostile to the Jewish state. Few likewise seemed to take note when a key Obama campaign foreign policy advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in September 2009 suggested that the U.S. might, and perhaps should, shoot down Israeli planes over Iraq on their way to Iran; e.g., If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse. Then there was the nomination of Charles Freeman. And of course the present outreach to the two most terrorist-friendly regimes in the Middle East, theocratic Iran and authoritarian Syria. Someone from Mars might conclude that the United States has spent far more effort in courting Ahmadinejad and Assad than Netanyahu.
in aggregate they paint a pretty clear picture that for this administration the benefits of supporting Israel are far outweighed by the downside.
Israels multiple enemies now are almost giddy in sensing that America is not all that into protecting the Jewish state, intellectually or morally .
Associated Press Tom Raum 03/25/10
Analysis: Obama risks alienating Jewish voters
And in a break from tradition that many U.S. lawmakers saw as a snub, the White House accorded Netanyahus visit none of the trappings usually extended to an important ally.
The news media were not allowed into any part of the initial 90-minute Tuesday evening meeting between the two leaders, or a follow-up 35-minute session. There was no joint news conference afterward, no statements about what transpired, not even a White House-produced photograph .
Since Obama took office, his relations with Israel have been tense. He has visited the Middle East twice as president but has yet to schedule an Israeli visit .
Netanyahus reception at the White House was frosty .
The Jerusalem Post Herb Keinon & Khaled Abu Toameh 01/25/2010
Nevertheless, the administrations treatment of Netanyahu during his meeting with Obama created the impression of a deep crisis in relations .
Politico Laura Rozen & Ben Smith March 23, 2010
After meeting, deafening silence
The Obama administration shifted this week from red hot anger at Benjamin Netanyahu to an icier suspicion toward the Israeli Prime Minister
made sure to reward Netanyahu with a series of small snubs: There were no photographs released from the meeting, and no briefing for the press.
And as of late Tuesday evening, neither side had released the usual readout of the meetings content a likely indicator of the distance between the sides.
Haaretz Aluf Benn 03/26/10
Netanyahu Leaves US in Disgrace
The visit only highlighted the deep rift between the American and Israeli administrations.
The Prime Minister leaves America disgraced, isolated, and altogether weaker than when he came.
But then calamity struck. At their White House meeting, Obama made clear to his guest that the letter Netanyahu had sent was insufficient and returned it for further corrections. Instead of a reception as a guest of honor, Netanyahu was treated as a problem child, an army private ordered to do laps around the base for slipping up at roll call.
The revolution in the Americans behavior is clear to all
The moment the bill was passed, however, a victorious Obama was free to deal with his unruly guest.
The Americans made every effort to downplay the visit. As during this last visit in November, Netanyahu was invited to the White House at a late hour, without media coverage or a press conference. If that were not enough, the White House spokesman challenged Netanyahus observation at AIPAC that Jerusalem is not a settlement.
It was not the behavior Washington shows an ally,, but the kind it shows an annoyance.
Haaretz Yossi Verter 03/26/2010
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from the United States Thursday with egg all over his face but also with a painfully sharp insight gone are the days when the White House was considerate about the intricacies of Israeli domestic politics.
Obama is not making any effort to show sensitivity to Netanyahus distress and worse hes ignoring it as though he intends to wreck some political chaos here.
Obama isnt only sticking the knife in, a minister said, hes twisting it and enjoying it.
Shock treatment, a senior Likud figure said Thursday about Netanyahus experience in Washington.
The New Republic blog Marty Peretz March, 2010
Hillary Clinton, addressed AIPAC with the emptiest reassurances that Israels real security will be assured in any American design for a peace agreement .
And the president didnt allow even a formal goodbye today. I dont think there was even a photo op .
An American source close to the administration said that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have decided to test Netanyahu and see whether he will carry out his promised gestures of good will toward the Palestinians.
So am I crazy?
Obama and Clinton are going to test Bibis bona fides? What about the bona fides of Abu Mazen? What about his capacity to make an agreement, let alone his will?
Obama and Clinton seem to trust the Palestinians more than they trust the government of Israel. And they trust them without the Palestinian Authority uttering anything other than demands.
The administrations capitulation to proximity talks as a formula for the negotiations is a very bad sign that it will accept anything from the Palestinians, including their and their Arab cousins nearly hundred years design for failed talks .
Arutz 7 Gil Ronen March 24, 2010
Obama Dresses Down Netanyahu: No photo Ops or Statements
President Barack Obama appeared to carry on a policy of intentionally humiliating Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week by ignoring custom and abstaining from any public appearance with him during Netanyahus visit to the White House.
In a particularly unusual step, no press coverage or photographs of Netanyahus meeting Tuesday with Obama at the White House were permitted.
,,,Mark Toner, the deputy State Department spokesman, said that the US made clear it is looking for steps to increase confidence and show commitment to the process.
A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said the White House continues to believe that Israel building in eastern Jerusalem is destructive to the Middle East peace process .
Haaretz Bradley Burston 03/18/2010
Israels Titanic moment: Does Obama want Bibis head?
To the delight of Mahmoud Zabar and Mahmoud Ahmdinejad, Israels homemade weapons of mass destruction pro-settlement bureaucrats with conflicts of financial and ideological interest have done in one meeting what Israels foes have sought for generations: driving a stake through the heart of Israels relationship with the White House