Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Israel and US Are All Smiles, but Obama Team Presses and Vexes Israel

July 19, 2012 4:00 am 7 comments

Secretary of State Clinton with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in 2009. Photo: wiki commons.

JERUSALEM – Israeli officials say they will not make a big scene with top Obama Administration officials visiting here these days and will continue to smile bravely publicly, but  privately they are showing  they are disappointed and even a bit angry with President Barack Obama and his handling of  several sensitive  issues:

·        Obama’s stepped-up pressure on Israel not to attack Iran, especially not before the coming US presidential election;

·        Obama’s strong refusal to confront Turkey over its veto of Israeli participation in NATO exercises as well as top-level counter-terror talks.

·        Obama’s firm veto of a pardon for Jonathan Pollard, although most US officials involved in the case feel Pollard should be released.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon visited Jerusalem this week, and both urged Israel to give President Obama’s sanctions more time to cause Iran to slow or end its atomic weapons program, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to do the same during his upcoming visit soon.

“We are all on the same page regarding Iran,” Clinton said in public, but privately Israeli officials who asked not to be quoted told The Algemeiner that this not so, and this is not the only issue where there are clear differences with the Obama Administration.

“Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage, sentenced to life imprisonment and is serving the sentence,” said Secretary Clinton, not even attempting to gloss words, adding, “I do not have any expectation that this will change.”

Many of the US officials who were involved in the Pollard case or have investigated it say that Pollard has been treated especially harshly, partly because he was falsely accused (in a private memo from then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger) of providing information that led to the deaths of US agents.

Subsequent US spy scandals involving Aldrich Ames, the Walker family and FBI counter-espionage official Robert Hanssen (who worked for Russia) showed that Pollard was often blamed for their crimes.

Clinton also did not bring good news about  Turkey’s  efforts to freeze Israel out of high-level security forums, and US officials are  advising Israel to apologize to Turkey for the deaths of Turkish extremists killed when they attacked Israeli soldiers and tried breaking an Israeli arms blockade of Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Earlier, during the Egyptian leg of her trip, Clinton was largely passive when journalists suggested the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty had to be amended, and when Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad  Kamel Amr  said Egyptwanted to see the treaty reflect a more “comprehensive” approach involving a full Israeli withdrawal from what he called Palestinian territory:

“Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself,” said Amr, in his joint press conference with Clinton, his remarks offered in English via a translator.

“And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its  [sic] right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4th, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” Amr continued. Clinton did not comment.

Before Clinton arrived in Israel, National Security Advisor Donilon met privately with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, passing on Obama’s message not to strike Iran, because it would destabilize the area and might hurt Obama’s election prospects by triggering higher fuel prices worldwide.

Israeli security officials believe that Iran may have an operational nuclear weapon option within a short period of time, allowing Israel only a short “window” where it may successfully employ military means to stop or delay that possibility.

Dr. Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of  Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat just  published by  Threshold/Simon and Schuster. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor respectively at The New York Times, Cox Newspapers, and The Jerusalem Post, and he served Strategic Affairs Advisor in Israel’s Ministry of Public Security and as an advisor to Israeli negotiating teams in 1991-92 at the Madrid Summit and thereafter. He teaches at Bar Ilan University.


  • I am getting sicker and sicker of Obama. He is a Muslim who wants to destroy Israel. Unfortunately, the current Israel government are too blind to see that till it is too late. Destroy Iran’s weapons before it is too late. You did it with Saddam and the world didn’t break and won’t break now.

  • Obama is an Arab in disguise.Israelis should open their eyes before dis get out of hand .Obama is anti Israeli@ Anti Christ

  • Israel is not vexed by U.S. behavior and rhetoric. Israel understands that the U.S. not a friend of Israel and it is, in my humble opinion, getting tougher to call the U.S. and Israel allies. Allies have a common interest. The current U.S. administration does not seem to have its allegiance in the right place vis-a-vis it so-called ally Israel.

  • Israel, do NOT trust the United States. G-d himself has told you that they will betray you and leave you to face the world alone. But G-d will fight your fight for you. He always has and always will. Trust HIM only.

  • Can one say, Iran contra all over again, those secret weapons.

  • Just like the good ole days, during the Iran contra scandal, those secret warfare weapons, sold by America, are still out there prospering? The white man’s nation of red blooded people. *Genesis 27:32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. *Revelation 6:6 and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (See, Black people are in the balance of the scales, the world weighs on us)

  • Iran are using negotiations to kill Israeli’s. Ever since the US outed Israel as being behind the assassinations, there has been an uptick of attacks against Israel. Because of US negotiations which are a sham, Israel cannot respond. It has to stop, Iran are not going to stop, so there has to be a response, innocent civilians will cost a heavy price.

    So when the US says we will use all our power to stop Iran. That power cannot stop civilians from being murdered on holiday.

    It has nothing to do with Israel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →