The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) was appalled that while the Obama administration condemned Israels announcement of building homes in eastern Jerusalem as an insult and affront to the U.S., it soft pedaled and barely criticized Afghan President Hamid Karzai after he threatened to join the Taliban, and warmly welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a personal meeting at his palace. And Karzai action came while U.S. soldiers continue to fight and die to ensure Karzais ability to continue to hold power in Afghanistan. This is sheer chutzpah.
President Karzai has made delusional criticism of the United States and its allies regarding the rigged Afghan elections that returned him to power (Joel Brinkley, Karzai a problem for U.S. and Afghans, San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2010). Karzai recently hosted in Kabul Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust, continues to seek a nuclear weapons capability, calls for the obliteration of Israel and the U.S. and has contributed resources to those attacking U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Karzai hosted Ahmadinejad at his presidential palace and said that Iran and Afghanistan were brother nations that shared the same national interests (Karzai cozies up to Ahamadinejad as Iran accuses US of playing double game in Afghanistan, Daily Mail [London], March 10, 2010).
In contrast, the Israeli construction decision in Jerusalem violated no U.S.-Israel agreement, endangered no U.S. forces and was in accord with Israels unilateral concession last year, under pressure from the Obama Administration, to initiate a 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, which explicitly allowed construction in all of Jerusalem. This is a concession which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised and accurately described at the time as unprecedented.
Yet, last month, the Obama Administration was publicly, harshly and repeatedly critical of Israel for announcing the building project. Vice-President Joseph Biden immediately condemned the action (Remarks by Vice President Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, March 10, 2010); Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wondered publicly if Israel is serious about peace and described the announcement as not only an insult to Biden, but an insult to the United States (Moshe Dann, A blessing in disguise, Yediot Ahronot, March 15, 2010); while senior Obama adviser David Axelrod called it destructive, an affront and an insult (Israeli settlement action an insult: Obama aide, Yahoo News, March 14, 2010).
In contrast, in response to President Karzais criticism and threat to join the Taliban if it pressures him, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did not say that Karzais statements were destructive, or an affront or an insult, but merely troubling and frustrating.
Gibbs told reporters on April 5, On behalf of the American people, were frustrated with the remarks (Mark Memmott, White House Frustrated With Karzai After Hearing He Mused About Joining Taliban, National Public Radio, April 5, 2010). Gibbs also said in a press briefing on April 6, There are times in which the actions that he takes are constructive to governance. I would say that the remarks hes made — I cant imagine that anybody in this country found them anything other than troubling. Gibbs also said that a scheduled visit by Karzai to Washington on May 12 is still on track (Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, April 6, 2010).
In contrast to criticism of Karzai by UN officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Karzai should be treated with respect because he is the representative of the people of Afghanistan and their sovereignty, a view Secretary of State Clinton affirmed (This Week Transcript: Secretaries Gates and Clinton, ABC News, April 11, 2010). Clinton has described Karzai as a reliable partner (Paul Wiseman, U.S. officials defend Afghan leader, USA Today, April 11, 2010) while State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, Hes the president of Afghanistan. And he is a figure that we respect (Michele Kelemen, Relationship Between Karzai, U.S. Deteriorates, National Public Radio, April 8, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA is deeply concerned at the remarkable asymmetry of the Obama Administrations attitude towards Israels understandable and appropriate statements on one hand and Karzais pro-terror, pro-Iran and anti-American statements on the other.
The Obama Administration has been repeatedly and harshly condemnatory of a building project that falls within the terms of the unilateral concession Israel made last year in imposing a ten-month moratorium on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. Yet when Hamid Karzai publicly threatens to join the Taliban, no less, which has taken the lives of hundreds of American servicemen, the Administration makes mild and weak statements and no condemnation.
Are we to conclude that building homes for Jews in Jerusalem is hostile and endangering to world peace and American interests, while the prospect of the Afghan government making common cause with the Taliban is not? It is now crystal clear that the Obama Administration, including Secretary Clinton, and Vice-President Biden, has one set standards for the democratic, Jewish state of Israel and another set of standards for the corrupt Afghan regime of Hamid Karzai.
The Obama Administration has reserved an exceptional, harsh and confrontational tone when dealing with Americas long-standing, stable and only reliable democratic Middle Eastern ally, but has been indulgent of the genuine threat to American interests posed by other Middle Eastern regimes, both those which describe themselves as American allies, and those that do not.
This policy is not only unjust, unwise and counter-productive, but contributes to a dangerous perception among Americas enemies that America is abandoning allies in a bid to appease them. That is bound in turn to encourage our enemies to defy and attack America, not to fear it and come to terms with it, something no American government can want or need.