Netanyahu And Obama’s Public Pleasantries Have Little Meaning
July 6, 2010

By Morton A Klein, President

Zionist Organization of America


Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama met in Washington.  They both praised each other claiming the US-Israel relationship remains friendly and strong.  But both had political reasons for making this claim.  Prime Minister Netanyahu will suffer support at home if Israelis believe relations with America have deteriorated.  President Obama is worried that pro-Israel Jews and Christians will punish the Democrats at the polls in November if they continue to see Obama as hostile to Israel, favoring the Palestinian Arabs.  Recent polls show almost 70% of American Jews support criticizing President Obama’s relentless pressure on Israel. 


But, in spite of the positive public face Obama and Netanyahu portrayed, senior Israeli officials have told me privately that the pressure being exerted on Israel by Obama is unprecedented in their experience.  Very recently, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, spoke of relations with America as worse than a crisis – instead it is a major “tectonic shift.”


And no wonder.  President Obama has compared Palestinian suffering as equivalent to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust and said that Israel was created due to the Holocaust, ignoring 3000 years of Jewish history.  At the UN, in what former US Ambassador John Bolton called “the most radical anti-Israel speech ever given by a President,” Obama “coupled” American commitment to Israel security with Israeli fulfillment of the “claims and rights of the Palestinians.”  His Vice President Joe Biden  “condemned” Israel for merely announcing the legal building of Jewish homes in a major Jewish section of northern Jerusalem. Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior staffer David Axelrod, publicly proclaimed this was an “insult” and an “affront” to America.  Never has such belligerent language been used towards an ally, especially when Israel’s Jerusalem building violated no agreement.  Yet when Turkey violated a serious American interest by voting against Iran sanctions in the UN, Obama merely said he was “disappointed.”


President Obama’s hostile treatment of Israel is in stark contrast to his friendly embrace of the Palestinian Authority (PA), to whom he has just bestowed another $400M in U.S. aid on top of $900M he awarded them this past year (double the amount George Bush allotted).  This astonishing largesse is despite the fact the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses direct negotiations with the Israelis, promotes violence and hatred against Israel in their schools, media, and sermons.  They have allowed official PA TV shows featuring sermons stating “The Jews are an enemy of G-d and humanity and must be fought and killed,” others stating that Israelis must leave and go back to Europe and Ethiopia.


To make matters worse, the PA has permanently glorified killers of Jews by naming over a hundred streets, schools, and sports teams after them.  Last month a new song was performed by a Palestinian children’s choir about the glory attached to “martyrdom” – dying a violent death while waging war and terrorism on infidels, in this case, Jews, has become a hit on Arabic websites.  Not to mention that no map in the PA shows Israel – only Palestine.”  The PA’s  President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayaad visit the homes of murderers of Jews and publicly call them martyrs.


Fatah/PA officials from Abbas down declare that they do not accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Abbas has openly stated “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah … to recognize Israel.” Senior Fatah figure Nabil Shaath recently asserted that Hamas need not end terrorism or recognize Israel to be part of a Palestinian unity government.


And this incitement has consequences.  Polls have shown that 75% of Palestinians deny Israel’s right to exist. In April, an An-Najah University poll found that more than-two thirds of Palestinians rejected a peace encompassing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In January 2009, a Jerusalem Media & Communications Center poll found that Palestinian support terror attacks on Israelis by 55% to 38%.


Tragically, because of the actions of the PA and the attitudes toward Israel of its citizens, peace remains an illusion.  Israel has already given away all of Gaza and one-half of the West Bank.  Yet the Palestinians continue their incitement, refusal to arrest terrorists, and to truly accept Israel’s right to exist.


Until the actions of the Palestinian Authority change to promote a real peace, and until President Obama seriously pressures the PA to make those changes, no amount of friendly photo-ops and friendly public words will change the reality that peace is not yet at hand.

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