Obama’s reelection and its implications for Israel

Barack Obama re-elected

Barack Obama with PM Netanyahu

So Barack Obama has been elected for another 4-year term and many if not most of us in Israel are not terribly happy about this turn of events.  The pundits predict anything from a continuation of the cold but correct relationship that has been reigning lately, to closer relations in order to help Obama restore his credentials in the Middle East, to a much harsher relationship for the same reason.

First, the slightly more optimistic view: Rafael Ahren in the Times of Israel says “Four more years of mutual dislike? Not so fast”:

There was never any love lost between the two, and no one should expect the relationship between the two of them to improve in January if, or almost certainly when, Netanyahu matches Obama and gets reelected.

Still, what exactly a second Obama term means for Israel is not as clear as some may believe. The critics argue he will pay less heed to Israeli concerns about Iran, and tighten the screws on the Palestinian front, possibly forcing Jerusalem to make dire concessions regarding the stalled peace process. Others doubt he will significantly change course. But one thing seems certain: Obama’s victory will shake up domestic Israeli politics.

Let’s first look at how, if at all, Washington-Jerusalem relations will change as Obama enters his second term. It needs to be said, first, that the commander-in-chief is not the only decision-maker when it comes to US foreign policy. And in Congress, staunch support for Israel is a bipartisan matter of course.

[...]

Still, some pundits fear a reelected Obama will seek revenge on Netanyahu. Revenge for the obstinacy on the peace process, revenge for being too pushy on the Iranian question, revenge for openly challenging him during a heated election campaign — and revenge, of course, for Netanyahu’s alleged meddling in the US elections politics, by being overly warm to Mitt Romney.

After all, these pundits argue, Obama only played nice to Israel during his first term (and “nice” is a relative term) because he knew he would never stand a chance of reelection if he vexed the powerful pro-Israel camp. But now that Obama has a free hand to do as he pleases, no longer dependent on voters, the fear is that he could seek to justify the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 2009 and increase pressure on Israel to make difficult concessions to restart the peace process.

[...]

Others are convinced, by contrast, that Obama during his second term will look exactly like Obama in his first term.

“He is not going to kiss Netanyahu when they meet, but I don’t think his policies will change very much,” said Gabriel Sheffer, a professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University. “He will continue to pursue his politics concerning the peace process and the Iranian issue on the one hand, and continue to support Israel in the military arena, giving Israeli additional money and missile defense systems, and so on.”

For all the personal tensions, and the differences over Iranian red lines, settlements, et al., between Washington in Jerusalem during the last four years, no one can deny the fact that security coordination between the two nations is at an all-time high.

[...]

Yet security cooperation is not everything. On a personal and on a political level, the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu was always frosty and at times even almost hostile.

[...]

But Iran and the peace process may not be the only areas where the prime minister and the president are likely to clash.

“Obama will probably try to intervene in the Israeli elections,” which take place on January 22 — one day after the presidential inauguration — Gilboa predicted. If a center-left party opposing Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc had a serious candidate for the premiership, Obama could invite him or her to the White House, thus unofficially endorsing Netanyahu’s opponent, Gilboa said. It wouldn’t be the first time Washington tried to influence an Israeli election, he added.

Even if the old-new president prefers not to interfere in Israeli politics, his reelection undoubtedly will affect the election campaign here.

The right-wingers will say that now more than ever Israel needs a strong leader who can stand up for Israel’s interests regardless of what the Americans say. The left-wingers will argue that Netanyahu ruined Israel’s relations with its most important ally and that a fresh face and a new policy is required.

[...]

So is Obama’s reelection good for Israel? Many left-leaning Israelis will celebrate, while many to the right will mourn. But history shows that the complexities of the Middle East often defy simplistic and stereotypical notions.

For a much darker pessimistic view, read David Weinberg in Yisrael Hayom who warns Israel: “Fill your sandbags”:

I’d like to believe that President Barack Obama’s re-election means nothing significant for U.S.-Israel relations, since “all Democratic and Republican presidents over the past four decades have been solidly pro-Israel” — as Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom argued on Israel Radio this morning. But Shalom is putting a pretty face on a forbidding situation.

Obama’s re-election means that Ehud Olmert is going to run against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming Jan. 2013 Israeli election. It means that Obama is going to intervene aggressively in our election to boost Olmert. It means that a push for immediate Palestinian statehood is back on the international agenda. Most worrisome of all, it means that an American “grand bargain” with the Iranians, possibly at our expense, is on the table.

[...]

Obama’s anti-Netanyahu campaign will be the flip side to the campaign we’ve seen in recent weeks seeking to convince American Jews and Israeli Americans that Obama “has Israel’s back.” Just as the Jewish and Israeli press was swamped with pro-Obama testimonials from Dennis Ross, Alan Dershowitz, Jack Lew, General Dempsey and others, now we’ll get hints and warnings that the “unprecedented” gains in U.S.-Israel intelligence sharing and weapons development approved by Obama will wither if Netanyahu is re-elected. White House backing for Israel in the Security Council will be conditional upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and so on.

[...]

In his second term, Obama will be seeking to fashion a long-term legacy. With Congress still at a deadlock, he will have difficulty aggressively advancing his domestic agenda. That leaves foreign affairs and defense policy, where he has a freer hand.

On matters that directly affect Israel, remember that Obama is deeply committed to three things: global nuclear disarmament, rapprochement with the Islamic world, and Palestinian statehood. I believe that he will forcefully act to progress on all three fronts, and this could bring him into conflict with Israel.

[...]

In July 2010, Obama pledged support for Israel’s right to defend itself by any means possible — by implication, even with nuclear weapons.

However, Washington seems to have backtracked on its clear support, and is now supporting a U.N. conference on a nuclear-free Middle East scheduled for December in Finland which could very well focus on Israel. This issue holds the potential for acute friction between the two countries. Prof. Uzi Arad, who was National Security adviser to Netanyahu and who negotiated the July 2010 understandings, says that America had indeed undertaken to ensure that there would only be “discussions” at the Finland conference, with no move to enforce nuclear restrictions on Israel. We’ll see …

There is a theory which postulates that Obama’s re-election brings the required showdown with Iran closer than a Romney win would have, because Obama is already so invested in the issue and so clearly on record as rejecting the mere containment of Iran. But I don’t buy it. Obama’s paramount commitment to rapprochement with the Islamic world, I suspect, will overtake his declarations of opposition to Iran. He never was going to, and never will, confront Iran militarily.

Which brings us to Palestinian statehood, which was one of Obama’s earliest and most earnest commitments. Mahmoud Abbas’ obstinacy hasn’t made it easy for Obama to back Palestinian aspirations, but Abbas is forcing the issue with his push for unilateral recognition of Palestinian quasi-statehood at the U.N. later this month. Israel expects Washington to punish the PA for this, but I wonder. And when Israel announces new settlement construction, adoption of the Levy Report, and other penalties to Abbas in response to the U.N. decision, I doubt that we’ll get much support from Obama.

So start filling your sandbags. We’re in for a rough ride.

The political knives came out in Israel immediately after the elections, with accusations that Netanyahu took sides in the US political process:

With Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections blowing wind into their sails, there are some in Israel speculating that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni will make an attempt to return to government.

Olmert, who is currently in the U.S. and is expected to return to Israel this week, is thought to have waited for the U.S. election results before deciding whether to return to politics after resigning in 2009, due to immense pressure following corruption charges. Apart from being convicted on one charge of breach of trust, and despite facing a possible appeal against his acquittal, Olmert still faces legal challenges in the Holyland real estate affair.

Olmert, it is thought, will seek to strike a deal with current Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz and return to the party, since by law it is already too late to form a new party. Current polls show that Kadima will not pass the electoral threshold and will be wiped out in the Jan. 22 Israeli election.

[...]

Both the Kadima and Yesh Atid parties attacked the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what they perceive as his preference for Romney.

In an official statement Kadima said it was “happy for Obama,” although it is “concerned for Israel.”

“By betting on the wrong president, Bibi [Netanyahu] got us into trouble with the U.S,” read the statement, which was issued on Wednesday morning.

[...]

Yair Lapid, a popular journalist who left his job at the Channel 2 Friday night news magazine to enter politics less than a year ago, congratulated Obama for his victory on Tuesday.

A statement released by his party, Yesh Atid ["There is a Future"] said the party calls on the president to “stand by his explicit promise to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and to jump-start talks between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as possible.”

“The gridlocked peace process in the Middle East threatens the region’s stability,” the statement read.

The party also expressed hope Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “takes immediate action to repair the damaged relations with the U.S. administration,” explaining that “throughout the U.S. campaign the prime minister acted in a way that came across as over-the-top meddling on behalf of the Republican nominee; this is foreign to the way the two countries have normally interacted with each other; undoing the damage inflicted by such irresponsible conduct is of paramount importance to Israel.”

Deputy Knesset Speaker Shlomo (Neguse) Molla (Kadima) echoed his party’s statement, saying that “Netanyahu’s meddling and efforts to have Mitt Romney win have hurt Israel.” Molla explained that Netanyahu’s conduct was “mind-boggling and condescending.”

“This will ultimately have the effect of compromising the strategic relations between the two states; as has been stated before, Netanyahu not only lost his bet, he was also disgraced,”

Other politicians however came to Netanyahu’s defense:

Appearing at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro said Obama’s relations with Netanyahu will not be affected by any personal disputes the two may have had during his first term, calling the re-elected president a “strategic thinker. “His policies are not governed by emotion,” he said. “Anyone who knows the president understands that this is not how he thinks.”

Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz congratulated Obama on Wednesday and praised the “fascinating democratic process undertaken by a superpower comprising 300 million people through their unique system.” Katz said the U.S., as the leader of the free world is “a great ally” of Israel and predicted that the two countries’ joint interests will be well-served by Obama’s re-election. Katz, who was speaking on Israel Radio, was responding to the question on whether he would have preferred a Romney victory.

Deflecting criticism that Netanyahu tried to influence the U.S. election, Katz said that the prime minister simply expressed his views on Iran throughout the campaign, as he has “immense responsibility to protect the entire Jewish people.”

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz also slammed the accusation that Netanyahu had played favourites in the elections:

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz came to his leader’s defense Thursday, rebuffing criticism by former prime minister Ehud Olmert who charged that in showing preference for Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the US elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had damaged the US-Israel relationship.

Calling Olmert’s accusation “absurd,” Steinitz advised him “not to interfere in the elections in Israel and certainly not with statements that may cause damage to the State of Israel.”

In an interview to Israel Radio, Steinitz added that the “excellent” relations with the US would continue and that security and economic cooperation had improved in recent years.

[...]

On Wednesday [US Ambassador Dan] Shapiro ruled out the possibility that Obama would harbor ill will toward Netanyahu for the latter’s perceived support for Romney. “Anyone who knows the president understands that this is not how he thinks,” Shapiro said, adding that talk of revenge against Israel for Netanyahu’s political preferences was “ridiculous.”

In summary, most Israeli politicians congratulated Obama on his re-election, but MK Danny Danon warned that Israel must not give in to his demands.

World Likud Chair Danny Danon, however, was not as diplomatic. “Israel must not cave in to Obama’s demands; his re-election attests to the fact that the responsibility of furthering Israel’s interests lies with Israel and Israel alone,” Danon said. “We cannot trust anyone but ourselves,” he added.

Interestingly, the Arab world did not seem overly enthused by Obama’s re-election, as reported in the Times of Israel:

The leaders of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority rushed to congratulate Obama on his victory, but Islamist officials were more reserved in their public statements.

Sami Abu-Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, called on the newly reelected US president to reassess his “biased” position in favor of Israel. Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu appealed to Obama to adopt “a moral policy, devoid of double standards” towards regional issues.

“We heard moderate speech from Obama following his first term victory, but his policy was inconsistent with the speeches he gave in Egypt and Turkey,” Nunu told the press. “He now has an opportunity to implement those promises to the nations of the region, far from pressures by the Israel lobby and politicized money.”

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official Issam Al-Aryan was pessimistic Wednesday that Obama’s foreign policy would change significantly during his second term in office.

[...]

Abdel Bari Atwan, the Arab nationalist editor of London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, understood Obama’s call in his victory speech ”to free ourselves from foreign oil” as a “worrying warning to the government of Saudi Arabia,” the largest exporter of oil to the US.

[...]

“No sense of exhilaration,” tweeted British Iraqi political commentator Anas Al-Tikriti. “Just somber contentment that a worse outcome was avoided.”

Meanwhile, Iranian parliament member Muhammad Karim Abidi, deputy head of the parliament’s human rights committee, told the Arabic-language television channel Al-Alam that Obama must fulfill promises made during his first term in office. He cited issues such as closing the American prison in Guantanamo Bay; correcting US policy toward [the oppression of Shiites in] Bahrain; and reducing support for “capitalists.”

Abidi also called on Obama to reduce his country’s nuclear arsenal and rid Israel of its “nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction.”

The above Iranians also stressed that they refuse to be pushed into talks with the US:

Iran won’t be pressured into engaging in bilateral talks with the US over its nuclear program, a top Tehran official said Wednesday, in a message seemingly aimed at tempering hopes for progress in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s reelection.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran’s human rights council, told the semi-official Mehr News that Tehran would only come to the negotiating table on its own terms and only if it benefited the Islamic Republic, according to a report by the state-run Fars news agency.

His comments came hours after Obama secured a second term in the Oval Office. Reports had surfaced several weeks ago that the US and Iran had held secret talks to open a new diplomatic channel and that Iran was awaiting the results of the election to make a decision. Both countries denied the reports at the time.

“Negotiations with the US due to pressure is not acceptable to us,” Larijani said during a speech in the northern Iranian city of Anzali. “Negotiations with the US should [be contemplated] while having the country’s interests in mind.”

[...]

Though the White House denied it had held talks with Iran over establishing bilateral negotiations over its nuclear program, it said an offer to Iran to open talks had been on the table since Obama took office in 2009.

[...]

Some analysts believe Obama’s reelection may offer the Iranians a chance to advance negotiations and back down before Israel or the US decide to act militarily.

“The chances of getting negotiations up and running are much better with Obama, and he’s likely to go for that,” an unnamed Western diplomat based in Tehran told Reuters. “The clock is ticking and we need to get it sorted. If the Iranians are looking for a way to climb down, this is a good chance.”

Last month Israeli daily Maariv reported that Obama had offered Iran a wide-ranging incentive package that would involve reopening full diplomatic ties with Tehran, in a bid to pull the country back from its nuclear program.

Gary Sick, an Iran expert and former US national security official, told Reuters that by securing four more years in Washington, Obama now had a wider mandate to coax Iran to the negotiating table.

“Obama has prepared the ground very carefully and has the option of trying to cut some kind of a deal on the nuclear issue, and that’s worth a lot to him,” he said.

To conclude, I will bring an excellent essay from the Fresno Zionism blog entitled simply “So now what?”:

There it is: four more years of Barack Obama. What does it mean for Israel?

The bilateral talks with Iran run by Valerie Jarrett will continue. One can hope for the best, but it is very unlikely that an agreement will be reached that will include the effective dismantling of Iran’s bomb-building capability. It’s not at all comforting to think that Israel’s security will be in the hands of Jarrett, Obama’s Chicago fixer. One can speculate what Romney might have done differently, but that is not an option now.

It’s certain that the Iranian regime will not abandon the goal which will bring it geopolitical primacy in the region and for which it has striven (and its people have suffered) mightily, except if it is forced to do so by a credible threat of force. Will Obama make such a threat?

[...] He will make a deal, a deal that will be satisfactory for the US and for Iran. For the US, it will have to appear as though the Iranian program has been derailed, or at least put on hold for the foreseeable future (a few years, in today’s world). For Iran, it will have to allow the regime to continue to put the pieces together to allow a rapid breakout as a nuclear power.

As far as Israel is concerned, nothing is as important as the Iranian question. It’s unlikely that a US-Iran deal will satisfy Israel, because Israel is not at the table.

[...]

I doubt that Obama will do much about the Palestinian issue  the short term. He must understand by now that there is simply no overlap between Israeli and Palestinian positions of such things as refugees, Jerusalem and the continued existence of a Jewish state. On the other hand, there is a danger that unfettered by electoral considerations, he and his advisers will give free rein to their undisguised pro-Palestinian ideology, and  move even further in their direction. I think it’s harder to predict what the administration will do in this area, because it is almost entirely determined by ideology, and not perceived interests. The administration does not appear to see the fate of Israel as especially relevant to practical US interests.

I do expect continued pressure for ‘regime change’ in Israel. Obama apparently feels that PM Netanyahu is an obstacle, and will do his best to help the opposition. His poorly-hidden dislike and disrespect for Israel’s Prime Minister is remarkable, especially compared with his attitude toward other foreign leaders, especially Islamists like Turkey’s Erdogan and Egypt’s Morsi — not to mention his remarkable obeisance to the king of Saudi Arabia, one of the countries whose political ideology and human-rights behavior is about as far from American ideals as can be imagined.

[...]

No, now the option for Israel is to expect very little from the administration, to prepare for the day that there is no alternative but to strike Iran, to assert its rights in the territories (in part by adopting the Levy report) and Jerusalem, to continue to insist on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and an end to the fantastical demand for ‘right of return’ as conditions for any agreement with the Palestinians. Now is not the time for Israel to demonstrate flexibility in return for good will, because it will not get good will from this administration.

To paraphrase the apocryphal Chinese curse, we certainly live in interesting times.

This entry was posted in International relations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Obama’s reelection and its implications for Israel

  1. Rob Harris says:

    I think its quite wrong to suggest Netanyahu tried to influence US politics. Many anti-Israeli democrats have been making that claim but, for example, Netanyahu spoke warmly about Obama at the UN, and if Romney went out of his way to praise Israel, whilst Obama was cold-shouldering Netanyahu near the end of the campaign, then its hardly Bibi’s fault if his relationship with Romney seemed warmer.

    I have to say I’m loosing respect for Olmert. He recently claimed that Abbas accepted Israel’s rejection of the right of return, which is certainly not supported by the Pali-leaks documents. Similarly he has been saying Netanyahu is effectively destroying any chance of a two state solution. Total crap.

    Overall I’m rather pessimistic about Obama’s future conduct regarding the Middle East. What FresnoZionism says regarding Iran is correct. The more Iran invested in their “project”, the higher the cost they pay, the more they are unlikely to back down. The threat of force is the only credible option.

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree with you – it is completely wrong to imply that Netanyahu meddled in the American elections. Romney made a campaign ad and included a clip of himself together with Netanyahu to bolster his credentials with the Jewish community. Whether this was a wise move or not is debatable, but Netanyahu insisted he wasn’t consulted or asked about having himself in a campaign ad, and it has brought him nothing but trouble. In hindsight he could have asked Romney to take the clip out of the ad, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if one of Israel’s leftist pols had been included in an ad for Obama, they’d have been showing off and proud of it.

      As for Olmert, in order to lose respect you have to have it in the first place. I have zero respect for the man; in fact all I have is utter contempt for his corruption and for his willingness to sell out Israel for money and power. He makes me sick, and the fact that he is considering returning to politics fills me with horror and revulsion. And if the Israeli courts allow him to do so, then I am disgusted with them too and hold them in equal contempt.

  2. rachel says:

    “No, now the option for Israel is to expect very little from the administration, to prepare for the day that there is no alternative but to strike Iran, to assert its rights in the territories (in part by adopting the Levy report) and Jerusalem, to continue to insist on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and an end to the fantastical demand for ‘right of return’ as conditions for any agreement with the Palestinians. Now is not the time for Israel to demonstrate flexibility in return for good will, because it will not get good will from this administration.”

    The above is simply not true and if you agree with it it only shows once again how very out of touch you are with what’s happening in America and the sentiments of Americans, especially American Jews. You live in a bubble where you spot statistics and polls consistent with your beliefs that are as loony as the ravings of the funny faux pundits of Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart show. It is claptrap, proven by Obama’s win and the fact you seemed gobsmacked by it. Obama will not roll over and do whatever Israel wants. That is true. That he wants to advance peace in Israel is a priority for his administration and for American Jews. If Israel strikes Iran now she will lose not only the support of Americans but that of American Jews. And a two-state solution is what Americans and especially American Jews think is in the best interest of Israel as well as the Palestinians. Israel has always gotten good will from America, in terms of money and emotional support and the above garbage paragraph sows suspicion and distrust and is simply right-wing propaganda.

    By the way, what happened to your right-wing nut friend Ari the mad dog blogger? You seemed to support him and now he has disappeared, probably licking his wounds and fondling his guns. A self-desribed “crank” who as he says, loves his guns and hates Obama. And on his posts a picture of a German shepherd dog. These were the kinds of dogs that guarded Jews at Auschwitz. You guys were chummy as fleas on ….. You align your opinions and philosophy with people of his elk – right-wing nuts who love guns? Really? I believe in Israelis not to buy into your ravings and that of your mad-hatter friend blogger.

    • anneinpt says:

      I don’t know what you find to disagree with in my comments and quotes. You may think I am out of touch with American Jews, and obviously it seems you are right. However you are completely out of touch with Israeli Jews and you have no idea how we feel, how threatened we feel, and how existential our problems really are. The fact that you do not agree does not make you right. Our feelings are at least as valid as yours.

      The fact that you write “Obama will not roll over and do whatever Israel wants.” proves my point – that is exactly why Israelis are worried.

      “If Israel strikes Iran now she will lose not only the support of Americans but that of American Jews.”

      Possibly true. But if Israel does not strike Iran when she feels she must (and it might not happen at all, but it might happen very soon. No one knows for sure) then Israel risks being annihilated. Not America. Not American Jews. Israel and Israeli Jews. Spot the difference?

      “And a two-state solution is what Americans and especially American Jews think is in the best interest of Israel as well as the Palestinians. “

      But who are Americans to tell Israel what is best for Israel? Are we not adults who can decide for ourselves. Or do you feel we need to be saved from ourselves? That is a most patronising and disdainful attitude. And you wonder why Israelis resent this attitude.

      Israel has always gotten good will from America, in terms of money and emotional support

      Definitely something I can agree with 100%. Don’t think we aren’t grateful. We are.

      the above garbage paragraph sows suspicion and distrust and is simply right-wing propaganda.

      No. The above paragraph is not garbage. It expresses the feelings of a very large chunk of the Israeli population. Most definitely NOT right-wing propaganda. Please stop seeing Israeli politics as black and white left vs. right. The vast majority of all Israelis from the whole political spectrum feels the same way.

      Regarding Aridog, please refrain from ad hominems. Yes, he was rather harsh with you, but I do not want personal attacks to continue on this blog. He is a dear friend and the fact that he has a German shepherd as his avatar simply shows his love for his beautiful, tame dog. Do NOT use any Holocaust analogies when speaking about Aridog. I will NOT allow it. No, I do not align my positions with him. We are friends who have similar political positions,although he is American and I am Israeli/British. As for his absence, perhaps he’s on holiday? I don’t suppose that possibility has occurred to you.

      I believe in Israelis not to buy into your ravings.

      Then why do you keep coming back to my blog? I am sure you can find plenty of blogs out there which are more suited to your political outlook and temperament.

  3. rachel says:

    I know many Israelis. I have been to Israel numerous times. Many of them do not agree with you. I think you see everything in black and white. You do not encourage or want anyone with dissenting opinions to post. In other words you are a Fascist blogger. Instead of learning from oposibg viewpoints or seeking compromise or understanding it is your way or the highway.that the Republicans alienated women is a major factor in their losing the election. You don’t even acknowledge that. If you don’t want to know this fact it reveals a level of blindness I don’t expect even from you. If you want posts only from the choir you pretty much have it your way but to what end? Can Israel really afford to alienate liberal Jews? They still love and support Israel. The liberal Jews would have voted against obama if they thought he was an enemy of Israel. I do not presume to tell Israel what to do, but I have a right to express my hopes and opinions about Israel because I love Israel and worry your politicians are on the wrong track. There is a need to point out your misguided and often incorrect assumptions that some of your readers may accept as fact. I tried to learn something from your blog. I thought your posting on the outrageous accusations of apartheid and Israel to be excellent. I could not agree more with you. Other times, when it has to do with the States you get things absolutely wrong, and I feel an obligation to present your readers with another voice. You can always censor your postings to conform to your opinions which seems to be what you want anyway.

    My parents are Holocaust survivors. They cannot look at a german shephard dog without thinking of the vicious dogs that guarding them at bergen belsen. Even ari the mad dog admitted his dog was not gentle. I am sure most dogs are gentle, at least mine are, but these dogs have a symbolic meaning to many Jews you have no right to dismiss and I am sure he knows that too.

    My opinions seem to represent the feelings of most Jews in America as evidenced by the election results. The fact is I am a centralist who never criticizes Israel to people who slam Israel. You are wrong to think I am in that camp because I disagree with you on many issues. Attacking Iran without American support – and we are very war weary now – would be a catastrophe for everyone.

    • anneinpt says:

      You know Rachel, or should I say Pola, you are becoming very offensive, calling me a fascist blogger. You want to be thrown off this blog so that you can claim I’m a fascist. Well, too bad madam. Your rantings are staying up here for all to see.

      You do not encourage or want anyone with dissenting opinions to post. In other words you are a Fascist blogger.

      Now that’s funny. How come your opinion is staying up in that case? Or those of many others who disagree on other threads?

      that the Republicans alienated women is a major factor in their losing the election. You don’t even acknowledge that

      I answered this on the other thread. Anyway, as I’ve said a million times, I’m not American, vote for who you want. But I am free to express my opinions, as are you. You must accept that we have to agree to disagree. This argument is going in circles and we’re not going to convince each other. anyway, what matter is it to you? Obama won, good luck to you all and may he have a successful term for all our sakes.

      My parents too are Holocaust escapees. I know how they feel about Alsatian dogs. The fact that Aridog has one as his avatar has NOTHING to do with the Holocaust. He is as pro-Israel and pro-Jewish as you’ll ever find, and he breeds dogs for a hobby. Stop being so paranoid and trying to find underlying meaning in every little thing.

      Regarding Iran, I am probably closer to you than you think on the subject. My only caveat is that it has to be ISRAEL who decides Israel’s fate, not America nor American Jews.

      • rachel says:

        He is not pro-Israeli. You are so mistaken by that. You are completely disillusioned on that score. He doesn’t care about Israel. It is politically expedient for him to say he is pro-Israeli, especially when it is in line with his neocon beliefs and to hoodwink you. (I don’t think his extremism is even in line with the thinking of the majority of Republicans.) He’s deluded you into thinking he is a friend.

        Like many American Jews I have relatives and loved ones in Israel and I do care what happens to them. Who does he have in Israel?

        When people disagree with you you tell them to not “let the door slam them in the face.” If they disagree with you it doesn’t make them enemies of Israel and agreeing with you on some issues doesn’t make them friends of Israel either.

        Jews have a history of engaging in discourse and disagreeing and hopefully learning something that benefits both sides.

        You defend the mad-dog Ari and think it’s fine when he insults someone he disagrees with as long as it’s in line with your political beliefs. He is rude and vicious and you have never called him on that. Where were you defending your readers, Jewish readers at that, then? You are being a hypocrite.

        He is trying to sow disagreement and anger between Jews. I come to this site to learn something. I believe you don’t understand American Jews and I believe I have something to learn from Israelis who agree with you. There is a broad spectrum of political opinions in Israel as in America. In the end most American Jews, at least the ones I know, care deeply about Israel.

        But you are very wrong if you think Ari is your friend or a friend to Israel. His beliefs are full of hate and discord.

        Let me know when he comes to Israel and visits his family there and also or if he’s given any donations or bought bonds lately. And when he comes to Israel, remind him to leave his guns behind.

        Don’t fool yourself, Israel and America need each other.

        And when you tell someone to leave your site because you don’t agree with them, sounds fascist to me…I would say when it comes to ranting you do a better job than I do. In between that you have insightful things to say about Israel and I have a great love for Israel. I believe you underestimate the amount of commitment American Jews have towards Israel and you scare a lot of your readers into some wrong assumptions about what the outcome of this election meant.

        • anneinpt says:

          Rachel, who do you think you are calling Aridog names because you disagree with him, and because he was rude to you on a previous thread months ago? How dare you accuse him of antisemitism? If I had your real name I would tell him to sue you for slander. You go around accusing me of fascism when you have no idea of what it means, and yet you throw around accusations of antisemitism at a commenter because he uses a picture of his dog as his avatar. You are a disgrace to the concept of free speech. What is it your business if he visits Israel, has family there or buys Israel bonds? Your obsession is unbecoming and embarrassing.

          You accuse me of not knowing American Jews. Fair enough. But you will not accept that you do not know Israeli Jews. Having visited Israel does not make you know Israelis and certainly your visits do not seem to have given you any insights into our wishes and fears.

          And when did I tell anyone, even you, to leave my site? I simply said that if you continue to accuse and slander people, then you will be banned. I also suggested that if you so hate my site you ought to leave.

          But be warned – if you make any unfounded personal comment about any commenter on this site again, you will be banned and your comment deleted.

    • cba says:

      “Instead of learning from oposibg [sic] viewpoints or seeking compromise or understanding it is your way or the highway”
      Pots and kettles come to mind.

  4. Mary says:

    “Obama only played nice to Israel during his first term (and “nice” is a relative term) because he knew he would never stand a chance of reelection if he vexed the powerful pro-Israel camp. But now that Obama has a free hand to do as he pleases, no longer dependent on voters, the fear is that he could seek to justify the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 2009 and increase pressure on Israel to make difficult concessions to restart the peace process.”

    As a politically aware American citizen, I must warn the people of Israel that the above statement probably most closely approximates what is going to happen. In truth, the darker predictions being made about President Obama are probably going to be the correct ones. At the risk of sounding overly conspiratorial, I wait anxiously to learn the results of the coming congressional hearings on the Benghazi attack, as I believe the outcome of this investigation may possibly shed a great deal of light on exactly where his true loyalties lie. Personally, I believe it is entirely safe to assume that they do NOT lie with Israel.

    But already, key witnesses are attempting to excuse themselves from testifying by various means (Gen. Petraeus resigns, Hillary Clinton will be “out of town”), so the light of hope for satisfaction in this situation, like so many other of our hopes in America, flickers in an ill wind. Our fate is truly in the hands of God, which I suppose is where it always has been. And so we shall see.

    You are joined in your concerns by many in my country. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for your comment Mary and welcome to my blog.

      I certainly tend more towards your way of thinking than towards people like “Rachel”, even though it’s hard to get over my generally optimistic nature.

      It’s good you brought up “Benghazi-gate”. It certainly reads like something out of a spy novel, with all these key actors suddenly becoming unavailable for testifying. But even if everyone were to testify, and the congressional hearings would find that Obama and his staff acted unprofessionally or illegally etc., what practical effect would this have? Obama would still be in power and he’s still surround himself by the same type of people, even if he has to fire a few for appearance’s sake.

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I think we ought to send the same back to you.

      • Mary says:

        Thank you for your welcome, Anne.

        It has been an eventful 2 weeks since then, and I hope this post finds you well.

        Though my original post seemed a bit pessimistic, I believe my reasoning was sound. Obama’s thinly-veiled antagonistic attitude toward Israel, slavishly supported by our mainstream media continues to tap into a secret hand-wringing desire for more “protectionism” from a nation sick to death of worrying about instability in the Middle East. For better or worse, everyone is exhausted with the subject of the Iraq war, so rather than calling for a truly decisive stand with our traditional ally in this current round of bombings, the “new” America wishes to shove these problems away and hide, while our government carelessly whittles away at our military power and our self-confidence. Peace of mind is a precious commodity all around these days.

        I would be interested to know your opinion of Egypt’s involvement in the peace talks, such as they are, and what might be the general attitude “on the ground” about it. If capitulation is in the air, how do the people feel about that?

        Finally, I agree with you about how little might be expected from a serious investigation into the Benghazi incident. I admit, shamefaced, that early on, I was still optimistic enough to hope for a serious pursuit of justice in the matter. I see now that this will never happen. It is very difficult to accept one’s own foolish devotion to an ideal, particularly when it has far outlasted all obvious indications to the contrary. It is hard to describe my disappointment.

        But then again, there aren’t any bombs falling on ME at this moment, so that’s enough of my whining. Your optimism is refreshing and beyond merit, and I am cheered by it.

        I appreciate your prayers, Anne, and offer you the same, once again, in return.

Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s