No! – Its your policies!
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Barack Obama for inaccurate remarks he made in his first interview with the Israeli media since campaigning for the presidency in July 2008, when he stated that Israelis do not support him because my middle name is Hussein and because I have actively reached out to Muslims. President Obama refused to acknowledge that his policies, hostile to Israel, are the reason for his unpopularity in Israel.
In his interview on Israel TV, when asked by interviewer Yonit Levi about the anxiety about his policies among the Israeli public, President Obama said, I think what this arises from — some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion. Some of it may have to do with the fact that I have actively reached out to the Muslim community, and I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy (Interview of the President by Yonit Levi, Israeli TV, July 8, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, This is a clear failure of the president seeking fanciful explanations for problems when the answer is staring him in the mirror: Israelis distrust Obama, not because of his middle name and Muslim origins or outreach, but because he has proved in office to be a deeply hostile, unsympathetic president. Israelis have not formed their view of President Obama on the basis of his ethnicity or religious origin, but on the basis of facts and developments on Obamas watch.
The record shows that Israelis like American Jews, who voted 78% for Obama did not initially dislike or suspect Obama of hostility to Israel (though Obamas record of associations with an anti-Israel pastor and church as well as anti-Israel activists and academics would have given them good grounds for unease).
As recently as May 2009, 31% of Israelis were found to regard Obama as pro-Israel, as opposed to merely 14% who regarded him as pro-Palestinian and 40% who regarded him as neutral. However, by the end of June 2009, Obamas popularity had fallen to 6%, while 50% of Israelis regarded him as pro-Palestinian. By August 2009, Obamas popularity had eroded further to an unprecedented 4%.
There is no mystery why this happened. In Obamas June 4 Cairo speech, the right of Jews to their own country in their biblical, religious and legal homeland was written off as a consolation prize for the Holocaust; Palestinian suffering was compared to Jewish suffering under Nazism; and Muslims were lauded in all sorts of inaccurate ways. This deeply concerned Israelis. So too has Obamas continuing focus on and opposition to Jews moving to and building in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem; his manufacturing a crisis over Israel merely announcing a building project in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem in which his Administration condemned Israel, and called its action an insult and an affront; Obamas telling TIME magazine that Israel has made no serious concessions, despite it agreeing to a 10 month freeze on Jewish construction; his ignoring of Palestinian incitement to hatred and murder while increasing aid to the PA to $900 million, then adding another $400 million last month; his support for the Arab so-called Arab Peace Initiative, which demands Israels return to the pre-1967 borders, give up half of Jerusalem and permit Arab refugees and their millions of descendants to move to Israel; and his insistence of creating what will be another Arab terror state on the pre-1967 borders.
Obamas hostile policies and statements towards Israel account for his unpopularity in Israel, not his Muslim middle name of Hussein. This is an especially absurd Obama allegation, given that Israelis had affection for Jordans King Hussein. Obamas allegation even falsely implies that Israelis show bigotry towards Muslims. In fact, the only concern Israelis have with Muslims is not about the fact that they are Muslims, but because of their actions and attitudes towards Israel.