by Yoram Ettinger
Tell me who initiates the meeting and who wants a photo opportunity, and I’ll tell you who has the inferior position. The upcoming meeting between Israel’s prime minister and the US president was initiated by Obama, who is concerned about the outcome of the November election and his declining support by Democrats and Independents. He hopes that a jovial photograph with Netanyahu would obscure severe disagreements, while enhancing his image among Israel’s friends in the US. He presumes that Netanyahu will not leverage his (Obama’s) political predicament and the significant support for Israel among constituents and legislators, and will once again commit Israel to concessions.
Obama is an ideologue, determined to change the US and the world, irrespective of his declining fortunes internally and externally. Obama’s reaction to Netanyahu’s about-face on the “two-state solution” and the de-facto freeze of construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, demonstrates that concessions do not improve Obama’s attitude toward Israel; they intensify pressure. Netanyahu’s concessions have not diverted Obama from the following “10 Commandments” of his worldview:
1. End of American Exceptionalism. Obama does not believe in America’s moral, economic or military exceptionalism. He perceives the US as a power in retreat, which sometimes abused its super-power role. His appointed legal advisor at the Department of State, Harold Koh, contends that the US Constitution should be interpreted, also, on the basis of foreign legal precedents and that even the Shariah (Muslim) law could find a home in the US. Koh stated that some US actions classify it as a member of the “Axis of Disobedience.”
2. Not Confrontation but Engagement. Obama is convinced that the globe is not an arena of confrontation, but a platform of engagement with enemies/rivals, including Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Hence, strategic partners such as Israel are less relevant. Moreover, he has cut the budget for the development of new military systems and of missile defense, canceled the deployment of missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic and initiated nuclear arms reduction agreements, which erode America’s posture of deterrence.
3. The UN – the Playmaker of International Relations. Obama is the most UN-like president since Woodrow Wilson, considering the UN as the chief global policy-maker. Accordingly, he appointed Susan Rice – his Guru on international relations who considers Jimmy Carter and Jim Baker her role models – to the UN ambassadorship with the rank of a cabinet member. He expressed preference for an international investigation of the Gaza flotilla, supported the anti-Israel resolution by the UN nuclear non-proliferation conference, joined the anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, who led the anti-Israel and anti-US UN Durban Conference.
4. Not Unilateral but Multilateral. Obama wants to minimize unilateral and maximize multilateral US policies. This subordinates US considerations to a multinational common denominator, which is dominated by an anti-US majority. His advisor on multinational affairs is his personal friend, Samantha Power, a leading opponent of Israel and a proponent of dialogue with Teheran.
5. Europe is a Role Model. Obama aspires to adopt the European state of mind, which is critical of Israel, while appeasing terror regimes. However, global sanity requires a “US Marshall” and not a “European Cop.”
6. Islam is a Partner, not a Rival/Enemy. Obama has instructed his advisors to refrain from using the terms “Islamic Terrorism” and “Jihadist Terrorism.” He has consistently pandered to Islamic audiences, claiming that the US and Islam share a solid foundation of values. His top White House counselor and personal friend, Valerie Jarrett (“Obama’s second brain”) transmits such messages to US Muslim organizations, which support Hamas. The Quadrennial Reviews of the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security do not use the terms “Islam,” Islamist” or “Islamic.”
7. No Global or Muslim Terrorism. According to Obama, Counter-Terrorism Advisor John Brennan, National Security Advisor Jim Jones, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, there is no “Global Terrorism,” “Islamic Terrorism” or “Terrorists.” Instead, there are “Extremists,” “Isolated Cases” and “Man-Caused Disasters.” They consider terrorism, primarily, a law enforcement rather than military challenge. Consequently, they accord terrorists civil rights. John Brennan claims that “Violent extremists are victims of political, economic and social forces.” One cannot expect operational clarity when there is no moral clarity!
8. The Department of State School of Thought. While Secretary Clinton has minimal impact on the formulation of foreign policy, the cosmopolitan Dovish school of thought of the Department of State bureaucracy has been embraced by Obama. The Department of State did not want the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 and has been a key critic of Israel since then.
9. The Centrality of the Palestinian Issue. Obama avers that the less-than-100 year old Palestinian issue is the root cause of the 1,400 year old Middle East turbulence, the core cause of anti-US Islamic terrorism and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He has adopted the Arab contention that the Holocaust – and not 4,000 year history – constitutes the moral foundation of the Jewish State. It implies that Jews were persecuted by the Nazis and were – supposedly – given land at the expense of the Palestinians…
10. Yes, We Can! Obama is confident that each problem has a solution, which he is able to obtain. He assumes that pressure must be applied in order to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, democracies (e.g. Israel) are very susceptible to pressure, while dictatorships (e.g. the PA and the Arab regimes) are less susceptible.
President Obama’s adherence to his “10 Commandments” demonstrates the unbridgeable gap between him and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Will Netanyahu learn from past mistakes, leverage the sweeping support of Israel by the American people and on Capitol Hill and refute Obama’s assessment that Netanyahu is easily persuaded to transform red lines into pink lines?