The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed deep concern over disturbing reports that President Barack Obama has pressured Israel by withholding military shipments to Israel in the midst of its war with Hamas over his opposition to Israel continuing its military operations. Reports, citing an unnamed senior Israeli official confirmed to Israeli media that the U.S. had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel on the grounds of what the official reportedly described as “increased diplomatic tension … the Obama administration, perturbed that much of the ammunition was used by the IDF in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, revised the review process in a move that is likely to limit or at least delay Israel’s requests for weapons” (Marissa Newman, ‘Israeli official confirms US nixed arms shipment; pols argue over who’s to blame,’ Times of Israel, August 14, 2014).
A report in the Wall Street Journal claimed the White House and State Department had been angered by a transfer of arms to Israel by the Pentagon and had ordered greater oversight into future sales. Yet, a Defense Department official has confirmed that weapons transfer was unexceptional and that “The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have.” The same report notes that a “particularly combative phone call” is said to have taken place yesterday between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Adam Entous, ‘Gaza Crisis: Israel Outflanks the White House on Strategy,’ Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2014).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We find these reports deeply disturbing. If these reports are true, it means that President Obama has been withholding arms to Israel in the middle of a war Israel is waging in protection of its citizens from Hamas terrorists who are continuously assaulting Israel with over 3,000 missiles in an attempt to murder as many Jews as possible. They are targeting major civilian population areas. If not for the Iron Dome missile defense system, thousands of Israelis would have ben killed by these missiles.
“Allies cannot always precisely agree on policy. But it is inexcusable for the American President to withhold urgent requests for arms, especially in the middle of a war.
“It is no secret –– indeed, the ZOA has drawn attention to the fact –– President Obama has publicly supported Israel’s right to deal with Hamas assaults and threats while simultaneously pressuring Israel to agree to an immediate ceasefire, which would amount to a negation of that publicly-expressed support. Now, it appears he is pressuring Israel by means of withholding weaponry during the actual fighting.
“If these reports are true, it makes a mockery of President Obama’s repeated, public statements in defense of Israel’s right to defend itself. When pressure is exerted to curtail the exercise of that right and arms requests in the middle of a war are delayed or denied, such public statements become empty and false.
“Many of President Obama’s defenders have repeatedly asserted that, even if the language he uses and the atmospherics with Israel are not good, the defense/security aspect of the U.S./Israel relationship between Israel is excellent. If these reports are true, then this assertion is greatly undermined.
“If these reports are untrue, then President Obama should say so. But if they are true, President Obama deserves stern criticism from American Jewry, the U.S. Congress and indeed all Americans who care about the safety and well-being of Israel and the strength and credibility of the U.S./Israeli relationship. The delay in granting Israel weaponry as previously agreed must be rescinded.”