Israel’s Perilous Position

At the present time, Israel is in the most perilous position it has ever been. That includes 1948 when it first came into statehood. Like now, in 1948 it was surrounded by enemies who wanted to destroy it. However, in 1948 it had at least one strong supporter, the United States. Now, Israel is still surrounded by enemies who want to destroy it. The difference is that its one strong, unwavering ally, the US, has not been so dependable. I firmly believe that this change in attitude, after over 60 years of staunch support, has occurred either at the direction of or with the concurrence of President Obama. No other explanation makes any sense.

Consider:

1. President Obama has allowed his personal dislike for Benjamin Netanyahu to impact his foreign policy toward Israel. Seasoned politicians and diplomats know that regardless of your personal feelings toward the other person, you conduct your business with him in a professional manner without insults or snide remarks. Apparently, Mr. Obama doesn’t subscribe to that tenant. Over the past six years he has repeatedly ignored, “dissed” and criticized Mr. Netanyahu. For example, he was “too busy” to meet with Mr. Netanyahu at the White House or in NY when Mr. Netanyahu addressed the UN a few years ago. (As I recall, he was either playing golf or attending a fund raiser.) In addition, he overreacted, like a petulant child, when Mr. Netanyahu accepted an invitation to address Congress on the Iran nuke negotiations recently.
2. While treating Israel in this manner, the US has been placating Arab terrorists and militant leaders at every turn. To quote the “Wall Street Journal” in a recent article, Mr. Obama has the “capacity to ‘wish away’ some terrible realities, not the least of which is the Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the West.” Mr. Obama famously apologized to the Egyptians for past actions, whatever they might have been; during a visit to Saudi Arabia, he bowed down to the King; he declared a “red line” to Syrian President Assad, which he then ignored when Assad failed to comply; he first ignored, then soft peddled the (“JV”) ISIS terrorists, which have proceeded to take over much of Iraq and Syria and have demonstrated an unlimited capacity for terror and savagery; and he has entered into negotiations with Iran, an untrustworthy, unrepentant sponsor of terrorism, which will likely result in the US’s tacit or explicit concurrence with Iran’s possessing nuclear weapons with the capacity to deliver them.
3. Last, but not least, he has strongly hinted that the US will support a two-state solution to the Palestinian situation. The proposed two-state solution would place a Hamas-controlled entity just a few miles from Israel, which would threaten the very viability of the country.

There have been many other examples, but I think you get the point.

CONCLUSION

In 1948 President Truman took all of eleven hours after the UN vote to recognize Israel, which set the tone for the rest of the Western world. Whatever you may have thought of Truman, he was decisive, and he invariably did the right thing. Can you just imagine the scenario if Obama would have been President back then? Probably, there would be no State of Israel today.

The US and Israel have had their minor differences through the years, but the US has always been there to support it, and Israel knew it would do so when “the chips were down.” Now, things are not so certain. Make no mistake about it, Obama’s actions and inactions toward aggressive, terrorist-sponsoring countries and his attitude toward Israel and its leader, Mr. Netanyahu, have provided loud and clear signals to the Arab states and the rest of the world as well. In diplomatic circles even subtleties carry significant meaning, and Mr. Obama has been anything but subtle.

His diplomatic policy in the Middle East purports to be even-handed. Many people doubt that, but even if one were to accept that as the case, what is the rationale and justification. On the one hand, we have a staunch, loyal ally for over 60 years and the only democracy in the region; on the other hand, we have countries that finance, support and harbor terrorism against the US and the rest of the Western world. It seems pretty clear what our policy should be and where our support should lie.

Compounding this situation is the fact that formerly outspoken supporters, such as Chuck Schumer and Steve Israel, have been strangely silent. (Perhaps, Schumer is lying low because he has designs on replacing Harry Reid as minority leader, and he feels that if he speaks out he will lose Obama’s and Reid’s support. Many people subscribe to that analysis.) I urge supporters of Israel to lobby their Congressmen or women to put pressure on the Administration. If not, I fear that (1) the US will agree to a “sweetheart” nuke deal with Iran the result of which will threaten not just Israel, but the whole Western world, and (2) the two-state solution will pass in the UN, which will destabilize the Middle East further and threaten Israel’s very viability as a nation.

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NETANYAHU AND OBAMA

Clearly, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama have a problem with each other. They disagree on most political issues, which is not surprising. After all, Netanyahu has a military background and is a staunch conservative. Also, his country is surrounded, in close proximity, by States that despise it and have sworn to “wipe [it] off the face of the earth.” On the other hand, Obama is strongly liberal and more pacifist, in nature. Furthermore, his country is further removed from the violence of the Middle East. The issues in the Middle East are serious to the US, but, for Israel, they are literally a matter of life and death. That said, there is much evidence that they also dislike each other personally. This is more problematic, because it has hindered their ability to work in concert to resolve issues of mutual importance.

For example, recently, they quarreled over Netanyahu’s addressing Congress regarding the US-Iran nuclear negotiations. Obama retaliated by delaying congratulating Netanyahu on his re-election for a couple of days. Additionally, he appointed Rob Malley, a reputed Hamas sympathizer, to a key post as special assistant to the President on Middle East affairs. Now, Obama has threatened to withdraw its support of Israel in the Security Council over the two-state Palestinian issue, which would be devastating. Presumably, this is just a bluff, but the way Obama has been acting since his re-election, you never know. Since his re-election Obama has demonstrated time and again that he’ll say and do anything. It’s like he is not afraid of any consequences or thinks he is immune to them. One thing for sure is that without the US’s veto the measure would likely pass in the Security Council and the UN. These retaliatory actions seem spiteful and petty, if not downright childish, but they are merely the latest manifestations of this mutual antipathy. This has been going on for years. Jennifer Rubin, writing in the Washington Post, has opined that the “gross pettiness and rudeness [regarding Obama’s latest actions] are there for all to see.”

In my opinion, whether or not Obama agrees with Netanyahu’s reservations regarding Iran’s nuclear program or the establishment of a Palestinian state, it would be mutually advantageous for them to discuss it, not in the press but privately and respectfully. The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu has voiced valid concerns regarding Iran, which need to be addressed. Furthermore, regarding a Palestinian state on his border, he has denoted that the geopolitical situation has changed significantly since it was first proposed and agreed to, in principal. The Palestinians have now aligned themselves with Hamas. Therefore, Netanyahu feels a Palestinian state on Israel’s border would, in reality, mean a state controlled by Hamas. This, he feels, would be intolerable for Israel’s security and would threaten its very viability as a nation.

CONCLUSION

Netanyahu and Obama are trading insults and “dissing” each other like they are in the first grade. “He started it. No, he did. No, it was him.” Someone has to be the proverbial adult in the room. They both need to take a breath. It’s time they both grew up and realized the harsh reality of the current situation, which is that Israel and the US have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other’s support. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is our staunchest ally in that extremely volatile region. Conversely, the US has always supported Israel. It is Israel’s only friend in the world, and Israel needs its continued support to continue to exist.

Let’s not lose site of the greater picture. It should not be Obama vs. Netanyahu. It should be Israel and the US working in concert as they always have. The issues facing the two countries are much bigger than any individual person. Netanyahu and Obama will be gone from the political scene soon enough. Iran, with its extremist and unstable leadership, must not be allowed to obtain nuclear capability. It’s as simple as that. At stake is not just the survival of Israel and peace in the Middle East, but the safety and security of the entire world.

TUNNELS OF TERROR

Imagine waking up suddenly out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night to the blaring sound of sirens. You are confused and disoriented. Your first thought is, what’s going on? Is that my alarm clock? Is it morning already? Then, you quickly realize it is not a dream; it is not morning; it is an air raid; and you have 15 seconds to get to the shelter. Or, you are 5 years old and in kindergarten class or the playground, and you have to find a shelter in the same 15 seconds. 15 seconds! That’s all the time you have. 15 seconds possibly separating you from life or death. That is how Israelis live every day. Israel is being attacked with approximately 300 rockets per day, day after day. The attacks are unrelenting.

Some young Israelis who were interviewed on television stated matter-of-factly that they have lived that way all their lives. They pointed out that whenever one goes to a particular location one immediately scopes out the location of the nearest shelter much like some of us might scope out the nearest bathroom. Of course, they don’t like living like that, but they are used to it. I’m sure most objective people would agree that is unacceptable. I’m sure that most Americans, if faced with such rocket attacks from, say, Canada, would advocate strong and swift retaliation.

But, that is not the worst of the situation that Israel faces. Recently, the world has learned that the Hamas terrorists have, over several years, constructed a massive network of tunnels from Gaza into Israel. Some fun facts about these tunnels:

1. They reach several miles into Israel.
2. They are more than 50 feet below ground.
3. They are very sophisticated and well-constructed. They are reinforced with concrete. They are large enough so that an average-sized man can walk upright through them. They have tracks so they can accommodate heavy machinery.
4. There are believed to be in excess of 100 such tunnels.
5. Many of them terminate at schools and hospitals and are designed to target children and/or sick people.
6. Ironically, they have been built, in part, with supplies and power provided by Israel to the Palestinians for humanitarian purposes – rebuilding homes and schools – (obviously not for this purpose).
7. The funds required to build them has come from Iran, Syria and Qatar, and possibly, indirectly from the US, which has been providing millions of dollars in “humanitarian” aid to the Palestinians.

According to Israeli army spokespersons, by now, they have destroyed most of the tunnels, and they are intent on destroying all of them. One can only hope.

CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION

Let’s not forget who the aggressor is in this conflict. Clearly, it is Hamas, with the overt support of Iran, Syria and Qatar, and in my opinion, the covert support of the other Arab states and terrorist groups in the area. Remember, Hamas’ charter proclaims that Israel must be destroyed.

President Obama has said Israel is entitled to defend itself, but then his proxies, like Valerie Jarrett and John Kerry, have criticized Israel for doing so with too much vigor and success. The Administration is trying to have it both ways. They want to appear to be standing by Israel for political purposes and, at the same time, placate the Arab states in the area. Anyone who cares about Israel should not be fooled. I would much prefer that the US were more forcefully and definitively in Israel’s corner regarding this conflict. After all, Israel and the US have always been allies. When the country was born, President Truman took all of 11 hours to recognize it, giving it instant credibility as a nation. Israel has been the one nation in the Middle East that the US has been able to count on for unqualified support. One the other hand, the other side hates us, mocks us, and has attacked us several times.

No wonder the Israelis have strong doubts of the sincerity of the US’s support. From what I can see, their attitude is: regardless of the hostility of the UN, regardless of the anti-Israel/anti-Semitic demonstrations in many countries, regardless of the mixed signals emanating from the US, we will press on until we achieve our goals. We will not be deterred.

Whether you support Israel or not, you have to admire their tenacity and toughness. They remind me of the kid in high school who, although not the biggest nor the strongest, was nevertheless, the toughest, the most fearless, the one you didn’t want to mess with. Born into adversity, surrounded for its entire existence by enemies who have publicly vowed to destroy it, with few, if any, allies in the world, living more or less continually under the threat of war, Israel has persevered.

My prediction is that this conflict will follow the same predictable pattern as all the previous ones. The Arabs start it; Israel retaliates strongly and forcefully; and at some point the world convinces Israel it has made its point, so to speak, and it is time to cease hostilities. Hamas will acquiesce, because it is getting its butt kicked and will want to survive to fight another day. We are almost there, but not quite yet. I think Israel has a little more work to do, which it will accomplish shortly.

JEWS AND PALESTINIANS CAN CO-EXIST PEACEFULLY

We are being bombarded continuously with examples of conflicts between Jews and Palestinians. The latest example is the war in Gaza, which has been dominating the news coverage of the area. As a result, the world at large is under the impression that all Jews and Palestinians are at each others’ throats. They can never find common ground. They will never be able to co-exist. This is misleading, counter-productive, destructive, and just plain wrong.

It is understandable that wars, terror attacks, and saber-rattling sell newspapers and drive television ratings, but it is important to realize that there are far more examples of Israelis and Palestinians living together and interacting peacefully. As anyone who has lived in or visited Israel knows, many Jews and Palestinians work together and live together in harmony. Most of them want to raise their families and earn a living in peace. When I was in Israel some years ago I witnessed this firsthand, particularly in Haifa.

As an illustration of this point, below please find a copy of an email I received from an American who has been living in Israel and who has been experiencing this first-hand.

“It’s war here. Even though living in the North, it’s quiet (aside from the tears and mourning from friends and families of the fallen soldiers who are from up here), I can honestly say that I wouldn’t mind a break from it once in a while. And, I’m not alone. One of my friends decided to go on a 3-day detox. (Not from sugar or wheat, but rather social media, like Facebook and Twitter). Another friend decided not to participate in the community event in which we created care packages for the soldiers on the border with Gaza – in a way to “protect her children from too much”.

One way I’ve been taking a break from all of this is by continuing to attend my weekly singing group on the kibbutz. Another break I’ve been taking is by continuing to teach yoga each on the kibbutz. In other words, instead of crawling up into a ball and literally escaping, I’m
escaping by continuing to live.

And this past week, I did something a little different. I decided to attend a basketball game. Just to escape. Last year, I used to attend the weekly Jezreel Valley League basketball games, which my husband was a part of playing on the Hannaton team, until he started to suffer some back pain and decided to quit. But, this past Monday night, he got a phone call from one of the guys on our kibbutz, asking if he’d be willing to sub in because too many of the men on the team weren’t around. (They’re “too busy” defending our country.) And, my husband agreed. Yet, when I walked up to the court, 5 minutes into the beginning of the game, I thought someone was playing a trick on me. Why? Because all I heard was yelling in Arabic. On the court of Kibbutz Hannaton. It didn’t take me long to realize what was going on. The opposing team was coming from a neighboring community in our municipality. A Muslim one. But, the yelling wasn’t anything you may be hearing out of the words of Hamas terrorists or even any recent anti-Israel demonstrations, such as: “Kill the Jews!” or “Destroy Israel!” “Jews back to Birknau. Hitler was right!” Instead, the yelling was the typical yelling you hear on a basketball court. “Hey, ref! That was a foul! Are you blind?” “Double dribble!!!!” “Back court! Back court!” “Nu, ref? Can’t you count? How long you gonna let him stay in the key?” It was beautiful. The whole game.

Even though our team was at a disadvantage and didn’t play too well, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Just the thought of it. The image. Two communities. Two religions. Playing basketball in peace. Giving each other hi-5s and hitting each others’ butts at the end of the game.
Walking off the court together. Going home. Peacefully.

It was beautiful. Especially during these times when so much of the media is being showered with anti-Semitism. Calling Israel an apartheid state. Oh, how little do they know. That Israeli Arabs are full-fledged citizens here. That have freedom of religion. And freedom of speech.
And freedom to an education, just like the Jews.

Sure, there’s discrimination. Just like there is in the States. Israel is not perfect. Is there such a perfect place in the world? But, believe me, there’s more discrimination against many of the lower class Jewish citizens than there is against the Israeli Arabs.

Did you know:

1. That my dermatologist is Arab?
2. And so is the surgeon who stitched up my son’s tongue when he split it open
running down a hill two years ago;
3. And so is my dental hygienist.
4. And so are 98% of the contractors my husband works with.
5. And so are the majority of people living in the Galilee (where my family and I live);
6. And so is about 20% of the entire Israel population;
7. And so are about 15 people making up the Israeli Parliament;
8. And did you know that I am woken up each morning (at 4 AM, thank you very much)
to the Muslim “call to prayer” (and then 4 more times throughout the day) from
the surrounding Arab communities’ loudspeakers. *****

So, when I read the anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli propaganda (and anti-American propaganda) and sit with not knowing what to do with it (except continue to share articles on Facebook), I think I’m going to just sit with staying stuck on beautiful for a while.
Beautiful that Israel has reached a place where two basketball teams, Jewish and Muslim, can come together and play peacefully. Without wanting to kill one another. Without denying each other’s existence. Just living. And, letting live. Just Beautiful.”

CONCLUSION

I think this beautiful email says it all. It is straight from the heart, a first-hand account that belies all the bu*****t put out by the terrorists, hardliners, the press, and certain politicians. I am sure there are thousands of others who feel the same way and would have similar experiences to relate. I have nothing I can add, except too bad that the world press doesn’t publicize these types of stories instead of focusing solely on the negative and violent ones.

KERRY AND ISRAEL II

I have criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s attitude toward Israel in this space previously. For example, in May Mr. Kerry compared Israel to an “Apartheid state,” an outrageous comment, especially coming from the Secretary of State. During the past weekend Mr. Kerry “doubled down.” During an interview with the Fox Network’s Chris Wallace he uttered a snide and sarcastic criticism of Israel’s retaliatory attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza. As we know, Israel is doing everything it can to limit civilian casualties; it is even giving advance of where and when it will attack so that civilians can vacate those areas. But, Hamas, on the other hand, is doing everything it can to inflate them, most notably by placing its rocket batteries in or near schools and hospitals and by forcing civilians to stay in harm’s way. The inevitable result has been to inflate the number of civilian casualties. Mr. Kerry’s snide and sarcastic comment, which he thought was off-camera, was that Israel was conducting a “hell of a pinpoint operation.” When pressed by Mr. Wallace to explain his apparent criticism Mr. Kerry ignored the question and continued with the Administration’s talking points.

We all know that all politicians possess an uncanny ability to lie, mislead and obfuscate. Otherwise, they would not have managed to be elected or appointed to high office in the first place. The difference between Mr. Kerry’s public and private comments has been stark. Which do you suppose reflect his true beliefs? As the kids would say, “duh.” I think it is fairly obvious that Mr. Kerry’s private comments about Israel and the Middle East, not his public ones, reflect his true opinions. In addition, as Secretary of State his comments, attitudes and actions are perceived by the world to be representative of those of the Administration and Americans, in general.

Hamas knows it cannot defeat Israel militarily. The only way it can prevail is by winning in the court of public opinion. Therefore, its game plan is to incur copious civilian casualties, make sure they are written about in the press and shown on television and on the internet, wait for the world’s innate bias against, or, in some cases, hatred toward Jews and Israel to play out, and force Israel into a settlement favorable to Hamas. Civilian deaths mean nothing to Hamas’ leadership. To them and their fanatic followers, life is cheap. This situation is reminiscent of Ho Chi Minh’s comment during the Viet Nam War telling the US, and I paraphrase, you will kill 10 of ours for every one of yours we kill, but in the end, you will tire of the killing, not us. That proved to be true.

Meanwhile, Jews should be mindful of the vitriol that is out there. Some of the blogs are non-sensical, not fact-based, and very poorly written, but they are an indication of how some people feel. A sampling of blogs:

1. …besides the bribe money factor – the other problem is politicians have no idea how many Americans do oppose Israel and the US Zionist corruption.”

2. “Politicians depend on political consultants to advise them… many of [the] principles [of these consulting firms], are Jewish…have made pro-Israel[i] statements themselves…”

3. It is a brilliant strategy. They [Jews] control the media, the think tanks and most probably influence polling companies.”

4. “The situation here is obvious. John Kerry knows that if he tells the truth and expresses his real thoughts and feelings, he will be targeted for destruction by the Israel[i] lobby. Barack Obama and Kerry have been intimidated into supporting another disastrous Israeli policy.”

The latest development is that because a rocket was exploded near the airport in Tel Aviv, the FAA has suspended all flights to Israel, because it believes the area is unsafe. It is reasonable to conclude that the FAA was acting with the concurrence of the Administration. At first blush, that sounds reasonable, but then how come flights to Afghanistan, Pakistan or the Ukraine, among others, have not been suspended? Are those areas not just as dangerous, if not more so? Last I heard, a civilian airliner had already been shot down over the Ukraine, accident or not. Many observers have opined that the FAA’s real motive for this action is to pressure Israel, through what amounts to a partial economic boycott, to tone down its retaliatory attacks. At the same time, we are providing approximately $47 million of aid to Gaza whose citizens have elected Hamas terrorists as their government.

CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION

Mr. Kerry’s tepid, if not hostile, attitude toward Israel is consistent with that of the Obama Administration as a whole, which, I suppose, from Mr. Obama’s perspective makes him the perfect person to represent him in the Middle East. Don’t forget Mr. Obama’s veiled threat to Israel that if the peace talks were to fail Israel would be to blame. Or, how about his comment that Israel has a right to defend itself, but…. not TOO vigorously.

Meanwhile, Iran is proceeding to develop a nuclear capability, and the US is doing nothing significant to stop it. All we have done is threaten sanctions, then back off, then hold meetings, then repeat the process, like a broken record. I don’t think anyone takes us seriously anymore. Eventually, Israel, in order to protect itself, will have no choice but to make a pre-emptive strike against Iran, for which it will no doubt be roundly criticized by the world, including the US.

The Administration, in its misguided effort to be politically correct and not offend anyone, has been trying to stay in the middle of the road here. Is that appropriate? Hmm…, let’s see. On one side is an avowed terrorist group that has sworn to obliterate Israel. It even states that in its constitution. Furthermore, it is closely allied with people who have repeatedly criticized and attacked the US, physically. On the other side, is our one friend and ally in the region. To me, it’s an easy and obvious choice, but then I didn’t go to Harvard, so maybe I’m missing something.

TURMOIL AND NUCLEAR TERROR IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Right now, I believe the Middle East is considerably more dangerous than it has ever been before. Consider:

1. Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapons capability. This is the same Iran that has funded various terrorist groups, fomented civil war in Iraq, declared a Jihad against the US, and vowed to “wipe Israel of the face of the earth.”

2. Syria is in turmoil.

3. Iraq is embroiled in a civil war between the Shias and the Sunnis. For all intents and purposes, it is no longer a viable nation. ISIS has been gobbling up territory seemingly at will as any organized resistance has melted away. For the uninitiated, ISIS is an extremist splinter of al Qaeda, which al Qaeda, itself, has labeled as too radical. As they have expanded their territory they have captured weaponry that the US originally had provided to the Iraqi army. At some point in the future, they may be returning this weaponry to us in a less than pleasant manner. Even worse, in the last couple of days it has been disclosed that they have captured fissionable material, which means that they now have the capability to make nuclear bombs. True, they lack the ballistic capability to “deliver” these bombs, however, they can and likely will manufacture “dirty” bombs, which can fit in a suitcase. Setting off one of these “dirty” bombs in a mall or train station can do significant damage. Congressman Peter King and others have warned that the threat of such dirty bombs being detonated in the US is very real.

4. Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in an undeclared war in Gaza. The Palestinians have the backing of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with whom they have formed a “Unity Government.” The conflict was precipitated by the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers last week, one of which was an American citizen. Israel responded with rocket attacks and bombings. Since then, there have been a series of reprisal attacks back and forth. It has been raining rockets with no end in sight. Non-combatants are dying. Reportedly, Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians, including children. On the other hand, the Israelis, in an attempt to minimize civilian casualties, have been providing advance warning of their raids so that Palestinians civilians can vacate the targeted areas, although there have been reports that Hamas has forbidden these civilians to leave. (It seems that Hamas is more interested in creating martyrs than in saving lives.)

5. The turmoil is threatening to spread into other countries, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In the midst of all of the foregoing, what has been the response of the US, the supposed world leader? After all, these situations did not sneak up on us; they have been months if not years in the making. Has it done anything to rein in Iran? Has it attempted to settle the conflict in Syria? Has it taken any action to deal with ISIS? Drones? Bombings? Anything? The ISIS army is not hidden in mountains, jungle or caves. It is right out in the open traveling on major roads in large convoys and very vulnerable to attack. Has it come to the aid of its one ally in the Middle East, the only one that doesn’t hate it and repeatedly try to attack it? The answer is no, no, no, no, no, and NO.

The situation with Israel is particularly egregious. Throughout his Presidency, President Obama has given Israel the cold shoulder. His support has been tepid, at best. He has continually provided concessions to the Muslims, even their terror groups, despite the fact that they have publicly vowed to destroy us. In this case, it took Mr. Obama over a week to reach out to Israel, and, even then, it was only after several world leaders had already done so – Angela Merkel of Germany, David Cameron of the UK, Stephen Harper of Canada, Francois Hollande of France and even Ban Ki Moon of the UN. Build a consensus, and lead from behind indeed. And what action did Mr. Obama finally take? Did he pledge support? Did he condemn the violence of the Muslim terror groups? Did he threaten to withdraw the $440 million in foreign aid we currently provide to the Palestinians, and, indirectly to Hamas? Nooooo. Obama’s response was to caution Israel against responding too violently. Reportedly, he told Mr. Netanyahu that, yes, Israel could defend itself, but not too strongly. Well, I ask you, what does that mean? What kind of half-hearted support is that?

As it is, Mr. Netanyahu has been strongly criticized within his country, even among his political allies, for not responding strongly enough. For example, there have been reports in the Israeli press that Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister and heretofore one of his strongest supporters in the coalition government, may withdraw his support. If so, that will force a “vote of confidence,” which Mr. Netanyahu may very well lose ending his term as Prime Minister.

CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION

It appears to me that most Americans are not taking the current situation in the Middle East as seriously as they should. The attitude seems to be “The Middle East is in turmoil again. What else is new. We don’t need to get involved. We’re tired of fighting. We have a big ocean between us and them.”

Well, I’m not advocating “boots on the ground” for several reasons, which, due to restrictions of time and space, I don’t want to get into at this time. But, there are many other actions that could be taken to stabilize the region, such as reinstating sanctions against Iran, withdrawing foreign aid to terrorists, droning and bombing ISIS and re-affirming support of Israel.

As it stands now, the US has left a power vacuum in the region and the bad guys are rushing to fill it. We need to take our heads out of the sand, stop hiding under our beds. The harsh truth is that the longer we wait, the worse it will get and the harder it will be to remedy it.

ISRAEL’S DILEMMA

The situation in the Middle East is, perhaps, the most exigent in the last 50 years. Syria is engaged in a civil war; Egypt is under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood; Iraq is being ravaged by ISIS, which is a very militant branch of Al Qaeda; and Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power. All of this violence and instability poses a very real threat to the security of moderate Muslim states, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and to Israel, our one reliable ally in the region.

The US has done nothing to defuse these crises. For the past six years, its policy in the region, indeed all over the world, has been characterized by indecisiveness, appeasement and leading from behind. In trying to make everyone our friend we have succeeded in making no one our friend. No country fears or respects us. Our enemies continue to hate us and seek to destroy us regardless of how many concessions we grant. They feel they can do what they want with no fear of repercussions, and our allies have become fearful and mistrustful. With respect to the Middle East, by withdrawing from the area, both militarily and politically, we have exacerbated the situation by emboldening militants, such as Syria, Iran and ISIS.

I believe that the biggest loser in all of this will be Israel. From its very birth as a nation in 1948 Israel has existed under the constant threat of attack by its Arab neighbors. They deny its very right to exist, and they would annihilate it if they could. Indeed, in the last 66 years Israel has been engaged in constant conflict. It has only survived through its own determination and fighting prowess and the strong, unwavering support of the US. In 1948 the US was one the first countries to recognize Israel as a State. It took President Truman all of 11 hours to do so. The US has continued to provide money, material and encouragement. Virtually, every serious US politician has been on board with this policy. Israel and the US have a symbiotic relationship. Israel has relied on the US’s support, and, in turn, it has provided the US with its only reliable ally in the region.

At this point, I would think that Mr. Netanyahu and his ministers are wondering just how “strong” and “unwavering” the US’s support will continue to be. Mr. Obama has been neutral, at best, and, arguably, downright hostile toward Israel with respect to the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. I am reminded of the interchange between Golda Meir and President Nixon in the early 1970’s. Supposedly, during one of the times when Israel was negotiating to buy weapons from the US, President Nixon asked Ms. Meir why Israel needed so many weapons since the US has always provided Israel with its unwavering support? Ms. Meir replied something like “Mr. President, in the future we just want to make sure that we can survive until you decide to provide that support.” It is well-known that the current administration’s support has not been nearly as strong and unwavering as that of every other administration since 1948. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Obama has been laying the groundwork to blame Israel if the peace process talks were to fail. He has been attacking Israel for what he views as its intransigence. Furthermore, he has characterized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as “a man of peace,” and he warned Mr. Netanyahu that the US could no longer “protect Israel” were the talks to fail. Evidently, Mr. Obama is too blinded by his antipathy towards Israel and, perhaps, Jews as well, to realize that a negotiation is a two-sided affair. If I were Israel I would doubt just how reliable a supporter the US will continue to be prospectively.

CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION

It is well-known that Israel has considered a pre-emptive strike against Iran to diminish its nuclear capabilities and the threat they represent both to it and the region as a whole. They have executed pre-emptive strikes before, and it is the smart thing to do, militarily. It is in their nature to act decisively rather than to dither, which is what Mr. Obama’s modus operandi is. Of course, there would be political repercussions, but, traditionally, Israel has not let that stop it when it believed its national security was being threatened. I believe that the Administration has been restraining them by promising to “handle the situation.” Well, the US has not “handled” the Iran situation, and, now, the ISIS invasion of Iraq has heightened the threat to destabilize the entire region.

So, that is Israel’s dilemma. What does it do? Does it follow its natural inclination and make a preemptive strike while it can and risk angering its one ally? Or, does it continue to trust the US and let things play out with the risk that matters will deteriorate beyond anyone’s ability to resolve them? It is not an easy answer, a “Hobson’s Choice,” if you will. Quite possibly, Israel’s very survival depends on the answer.

KERRY AND ISRAEL

Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Israel “risks becoming an Apartheid state” if the current peace negotiations were to fail. Kerry spoke in a closed-door meeting, and he had reason to doubt that his words would become public. But, in this day and age, there is no expectation of privacy. Someone always has a recording device.

Later, in the face of substantial shock, outrage and criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Republican Jewish Coalition, among others, Kerry tried to backtrack. He stated that he miss-spoke, and asserted that if he could “rewind the tape,” he would have used a “different word.” Kerry is a seasoned politician and the US’s highest ranking diplomat. They are trained to choose their words very carefully. Are we supposed to believe that he “miss-spoke?” I maintain that he knew exactly what he was saying and meant it. He is not sorry he said it; he’s only sorry that it was recorded.

Kerry’s comments are outrageous and hurtful on several levels.

1. Apartheid conjures up a hateful, bigoted period in South Africa’s history during which time blacks, “colored people,” Asians, and women were subjected to the most despicable, dehumanizing treatment one can imagine. Any objective person who is familiar with Apartheid has to be appalled by the comparison to Israel, which, in fact, is the only true democracy in the Middle East.

2. The comments signal a bias against Israel in favor of the Palestinians. The Palestinians now have confirmation that the US is exasperated with Israel’s negotiating position and is more likely to blame them if the talks fail. They have “cover” for taking a hard-line in the negotiations. The negotiations were hard enough before as there are many complicated issues to resolve including recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a legitimate state and the Palestinians’ close ties with various terrorists groups. This just made it harder and less likely that they will succeed.

3. Most importantly, this is not an isolated incident for the Obama Administration. It is consistent with their attitude for the last six years. The Obama Administration has seemed more intent on placating terrorist organizations, such as al Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and rogue states such as Iran and Syria than supporting its longstanding ally, Israel. They may think they are being evenhanded, but I don’t see it that way. They don’t seem to understand that these entities have tried to destroy us and will continue to do so. They consider us the “Great Satan.” We are “non-believers,” Judeo-Christian, not Muslim. They are not our friends and never will be, regardless of how hard we try and how many concessions we grant them. They are still fighting the Crusades 1,000 years after the fact. Just last week, in fact, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he is seeking a reconciliation deal with Hamas. How can the US expect Israel to negotiate with an organization that is cozying up to Hamas, which has repeatedly stated that its goal is the destruction of the State of Israel?

4. President Obama has made it clear that he considers Israel’s intransigence to be the main cause of the failure of the peace negotiations to date. Additionally, he has signaled that if the talks break down the US may no longer be able to protect and support Israel. What is the justification for that comment! Mr. Obama has called Mr. Abbas a man of peace. Furthermore, he has commended Abbas as someone who has “consistently renounced violence” and is seeking a “diplomatic and peaceful solution.” (How does that square with Abbas’ courting of Hamas?)

CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION

The Obama Administration has not been and is not a friend to Israel. At best, it has been neutral. At times, it has been hostile. Actions speak louder than words. On the other hand, its attitude toward Iran and Syria has been conciliatory and “wishy-washy.” The US and Israel have a symbiotic relationship. Israel needs the US’s strong, unwavering support. Ultimately, the US is the only nation it can count on. Similarly, the US needs Israel. It is the only ally in the Middle East that it count on. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu have a very strained relationship. You may recall that Mr. Obama chose not to meet with Mr. Netanyahu when he was in NY for meetings at the UN. That was a real “slap in the face.” Mr. Netanyahu, for his part, does not trust Mr. Obama, and with good reason.

This has clearly been the least supportive Administration, even worse than Jimmy Carter’s. Mr. Kerry’s Apartheid comment fit right in.

I say to American Jews, wake up. Why continue to support an Administration that has this kind of attitude toward Jews, in general, and Israel, in particular? Why continue to support an Administration that cozies up to terrorist organizations that have repeatedly sought to attack us? Why continue to support the current Democratic Administration just because you have always favored the Democratic Party. You are smarter than that; at least, I hope you are. Send the Dems a message in November. Jews are not automatons. We will not blindly continue to support an Administration that does not support Israel.