Friday, May 22, 2015

Obama, Israel and Anti-Semitism

Selections from the troubling Obama interview

"And when I am then required to come to Israel’s defense internationally, when there is anti-Semitism out there, when there is anti-Israeli policy that is based not on the particulars of the Palestinian cause but [is] based simply on hostility, I have to make sure that I am entirely credible in speaking out against those things, and that requires me then to also be honest with friends about how I view these issues...
...he was adamant that he would not allow the Jewish right, and the Republican Party, to automatically define criticism of the Netanyahu government’s policies as anti-Israel or anti-Semitic...
I also raised another concern—one that the president didn’t seem to fully share. It’s been my belief that it is difficult to negotiate with parties that are captive to a conspiratorial anti-Semitic worldview not because they hold offensive views, but because they hold ridiculous views. As Walter Russell Mead and others have explained, anti-Semites have difficulty understanding the world as it actually works, and don’t comprehend cause-and-effect in politics and economics. Though I would like to see a solid nuclear deal (it is preferable to the alternatives) I don’t believe that the regime with which Obama is negotiating can be counted on to be entirely rational."
...I interjected by suggesting that anti-Semitic European leaders made irrational decisions, to which Obama responded, “They may make irrational decisions with respect to discrimination, with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool. At the margins, where the costs are low, they may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest. But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have. That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents. And so I think it is not at all contradictory to say that there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in the core regime, but that they also are interested in maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their own country, which requires that they get themselves out of what is a deep economic rut that we’ve put them in, and on that basis they are then willing and prepared potentially to strike an agreement on their nuclear program.”
On Israel, Obama endorsed, in moving terms, the underlying rationale for the existence of  a Jewish state, making a direct connection between the battle for African American equality and the fight for Jewish national equality. “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” he said. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”
In discussing the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, he was quite clear in his condemnation of what has become a common trope—that anti-Zionism, the belief that the Jews should not have a state of their own in at least part of their ancestral homeland, is unrelated to anti-Jewish hostility. He gave me his own parameters for judging whether a person is simply critical of certain Israeli policies or harboring more prejudicial feelings.
“Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and are you aware of the particular circumstances of Jewish history that might prompt that need and desire?” he said, in defining the questions that he believes should be asked. “And if your answer is no, if your notion is somehow that that history doesn’t matter, then that’s a problem, in my mind. If, on the other hand, you acknowledge the justness of the Jewish homeland, you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology. If you acknowledge those things, then you should be able to align yourself with Israel where its security is at stake, you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”...
Read it all.

If you can.

Or read this.

“Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is within President Obama’s own State Department definition of anti-Semitism. 


From Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:  5 important observations:

#1. "Prime Minister Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch".  This is the SAME thing Mr. Obama HIMSELF said last week (Al Arabiya 15 May 2015): "And what I think at this point, realistically, we can do is to try to rebuild trust -- not through a big overarching deal, which I don't think isprobably possible in the next year, given the makeup of the Netanyahu government, given the challenges I think that exist for President Abbas."

#2.  The gaping flaws indicated by Iran in the developing Iran nuclear deal require a 5 second attention span to raise - Goldberg declines to mention any of them:
a. Inspection regime to exclude any serious inspection of Iranian military sites that may conceal nuclear program.b. Inspection regime inside nuclear facilities to exclude live monitoring (prohibit video feeds that might provide images of Iranian nuclear scientists)c. Ongoing development and construction of advanced centrifuges to slash break-out time permitted.d. Ongoing development, construction and even deployment of delivery systems for nuclear weapons permitted.

#3. The "rationality" argument vis-à-vis Iranian policy is fundamentally flawed by the refusal to address  Iranian Twelver messianism:
Consider Bernard Lewis The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2006:  “In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead -- hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.”
#4. A profoundly bizarre claim: "They [Iran]  are not a threat to the region because of their hardware. "

#5. A disturbing  remark hinting at a policy of relying on Iran in the neighborhood:  "How do we find effective partners to govern in those parts of Iraq that right now are ungovernable and effectively defeat ISIL, not just in Iraq but in Syria?"

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