Who is Obama to diss PM Netanyahu? How’s his own “lead from behind” foreign policy doing?

(Israel as US’s finest aircraft carrier with no US boots on the deck!)

Obama’s Criticism of Netanyahu Exposes Palestinian Issue

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=5720

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”

From: “Israel Hayom” (Israel’s most read daily newspaper)
January 18, 2013

President Obama’s criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu – on the eve of the January 22, 2013 Israeli election – underlines the secondary role played by the Palestinian issue in shaping US-Israel strategic cooperation.

Since March, 2009, Obama has systematically scorned Netanyahu’s policies on the Arab-Israeli conflict in general and the Palestinian issue, Jerusalem and the construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, in particular. However, since March, 2009, irrespective of harsh disagreements over the Palestinian issue, the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic cooperation has expanded, especially in areas which feature the distinctive Israeli added-value: intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism, homeland security, missile defense, training, battle tactics, joint exercises, pre-positioning of military hardware, medical treatment of soldiers and civilians, research and development, space, commercial and defense industries and high tech in general. Neither Israel nor the US intends to subordinate primary interests to secondary issues by cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

The volcanic eruption of the Arab Winter since 2010 – independent of the Palestinian issue – has exposed the unpredictability, instability, violent volatility, unreliability, inefficiency, intolerance and anti-US terrorism and hostility on the Arab Street. It has highlighted Israel’s unique features as the only stable, predictable, reliable, capable, democratic and unconditional ally of the US.

Mutual threats to the US and Israel – such as nuclear Iran, Islamic terrorism, proliferation of advanced missile and nuclear technologies, and the clear and present radical menace to pro-US Arab regimes – transcend the Palestinian issue. Moreover, pro (and anti) US Arab leaders have never considered the Palestinian issue a cardinal matter on their agenda. They are currently traumatized by the lethal Iranian nuclear threat, raging Arab Winter, emboldened Islamic terrorism and the erupting Iraqi, Syrian and Muslim Brotherhood lava, which might trigger their downfall.

Notwithstanding Obama’s distrust of Israel’s Palestinian policy, US defense and high tech establishments trust Israel’s unique contributions to US national security and the economy as a matchless source of cutting-edge technologies, a sterling beachhead in a vital region, a battle-tested laboratory, and the largest US aircraft carrier which does not require US boots on board. Such attributes are doubly crucial while the US reduces its power projection and severely cuts the defense budget.

Obama’s criticism of Netanyahu is not unprecedented. Prime Minister Shamir’s policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the Palestinian issue, was ruthlessly criticized by the US Administration. However, in April, 1988, at the height of President Reagan’s brutal criticism of Shamir’s handling of the 1st Palestinian Intifadah, Israel was elevated to the status of a Major Non-NATO Ally. A Memorandum of Understanding was concluded, enhancing US-Israel strategic cooperation in an unprecedented manner. It aimed at leveraging Israeli capabilities in the face of joint regional and global challenges, which superseded the Palestinian issue.

In fact, from 1948 until 1992, all Israeli Prime Ministers faced rough US pressure on Arab and Palestinian-related issues. In most cases, the pressure was repelled, criticism was sharpened, but strategic cooperation surged beyond expectations. Middle East reality overpowered oversimplified policy and moral-equivalency.

While President Obama rebukes Israeli policy-makers, the US constituency demonstrates its overwhelming support for the Jewish State. A December, 2012 poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that Americans support Israel over Palestinians by 5:1 ratio, similar to a 59%:13% ratio documented by a November, 2012 CNN poll. While the Executive branch of government is in the habit of criticizing Israel, the co-equal, co-determining Legislature, the most authentic representative of the American people, has been a bastion of support for Israel since 1948 and for the idea of a Jewish State since 1776.

President Obama’s preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, and criticism of Israel, is out of the American mainstream.

Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend

Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative and False Assumptions

The American People Stand with Israel
But, unlikely, the present American administration

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Jerusalem, Israel

March 11, 2011

(Glenn Beck Video at end of this article)

At the end of 1989, Israel’s top Foreign Office bureaucrats argued that Israel was, ostensibly, losing ground in the USA, due to the end of the Cold War, a supposed New World Order and Prime Minister Shamir’s dismissal of “land-for-peace.”  Therefore, they proposed that, in order to secure relations with the US, Israel should cede land to the Palestinians.

However, their assumptions were resoundingly refuted.  Israel’s strategic posture was upgraded as a derivative of the New World Disorder and a series of mutual threats, such as Islamic terrorism, Iran, ballistic missiles, rogue Arab regimes, exacerbated Middle East volatility, violence and uncertainty. US-Israel strategic cooperation expanded significantly, in spite of deep disagreements over the Palestinian issue and in defiance of President Bush and Secretary of State Baker.

In 2011, despite the 1989 lessons and the 2011 seismic upheaval in Arab countries, Jerusalem again considers ceding land to the Palestinians, in order to sustain strategic cooperation with the USA, under the false assumptions that US-Israel relations evolve around the Palestinian issue, that Israel-in-retreat is respected by Americans, and that Israel’s strategic standing in the US is undergoing erosion.  

Thus, Gallup’s annual (February 2011) poll on American attitudes toward foreign countries highlights Israel as a favorite American ally.  Israel (68%) ranks among the seven most popular countries, which include Canada, Britain, Germany, Japan, India and France, ahead of South Korea and dramatically ahead of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt (37%, 50% and 40% respectively).  The Palestinian Authority (19%)  is at the bottom of the list, along with Iran and North Korea.

Currently, Israel benefits from a public opinion tailwind, merely one percent behind its 1991 all time record popularity.  Israel’s image as a credible, reliable, capable, stable, democratic, non-conditional ally of the USA is bolstered against the backdrop of the current turmoil in Arab lands, which clarify that the Palestinian issue is not the core cause of the Middle East turbulence, is not the crown jewel of Arab policy-making and is not favored by the American People and Congress.

Anyone claiming that Israel is losing ground in the USA, and that in order to rebound Israel must introduce more concessions to the Arabs, is either dramatically mistaken, outrageously misleading or seeking an alibi for vacillation in face of pressure by a relatively weak American president.

A positive image of the Jewish State, and a negative image of Arab countries, has dominated the state of mind of the American constituency, which is the key axis of the US political system, holding an effective stick over the head of American legislators and presidents.  

According to the February 25, 2011 Rasmussen Report, one of the top three US pollsters, most constituents would stop foreign aid to Arab countries, but support foreign aid to the Jewish State.  61% do not expect the current Middle East upheaval to advance democracy or peace in Arab countries.

The most realistic expression of Israel’s robust standing in the US is reflected by the most authentic representatives of the American People: the Legislature. Congress is equal in power to the Executive, representing the attitudes of the American constituent on domestic, external and national security issues.  Hence, 75% of the 435 House Representatives and 80% of the 100 Senators – Republicans and Democrats alike, tend to support the Jewish State through legislation and resolutions, sometimes in defiance of the White House.

The gap between the world view of President Obama and most constituents was exposed in November 2010, when Democrats suffered – due to Obama’s plummeting popularity – the most devastating political defeat since World War 2.  That gap also reflects the attitude toward Israel, which constitutes a rare bi-partisan common denominator, earning a higher level of support (68%) than Obama (47%).

The American constituent does not consider the Jewish State a conventional foreign policy issue, but also a domestic issue, closely identified with the moral Judeo-Christian foundations of the USA.  Moreover, unlike Obama, most constituents regard President Reagan as a role model of values and view the Jewish State as the “Ronald Reagan of the Middle East,” representing their basic values: respect toward religion and tradition, patriotism, security-oriented, anti-UN, anti-terrorism and suspicion toward Arab and Muslim regimes.

The solid foundation of shared US-Israel values, the recent volcanic eruptions in the Middle East and Israel’s strategic capabilities and reliability have transformed the US into a sustained bastion of support of the Jewish State, notwithstanding problematic attitudes by some presidents, criticism by the “elite” media and hostility toward Israel on some US campuses.

This is not the time for vacillation and painful concessions; this is the time to enhance US-Israel strategic relations and demonstrate pain-killing steadfastness.

(Are you listening PM Netanyahu?) jsk 

Video – Glenn Beck