Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Implications for Israel in the US Global Retreat

June 13, 2013 12:48 am 0 comments

Samantha Power speaks at Harvard Law School in 2010. Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons.

The appointment of Samantha Power as America’s UN ambassador combined with recent US foreign policy statements, reinforce concerns that the US administration is accelerating its policies of global withdrawal, engaging rather than confronting rogue states, and appeasing Islamic extremism.

Ms. Power is on record for dismissing concerns about the Iranian nuclear threat. In addition, whilst favoring greater US assertiveness in relation to human rights issues, she seems to have a somewhat jaundiced moral relativist approach, jointly bracketing Israelis and Palestinian “crimes”. On one occasion she even called for the US to intervene militarily on behalf of the Palestinians against the Jewish state.

Indeed, in an article published 10 years ago entitled “Why do they hate us?” Powers perversely compared US behavior to that of the Nazis. While describing as “ennobling and cathartic for Germany”, Chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling in the Warsaw ghetto to demonstrate atonement for the crimes of the Nazis, she implied that the United States should make a similar apology for its global policies.

In view of her exceedingly harsh former condemnations of Israel, the enthusiastic endorsement of her appointment by pro-Israel stalwarts such as former Senator Joe Lieberman, ADL head Abe Foxman, and Alan Dershowitz were somewhat perplexing. We hope that their confident predictions that she will confront the ongoing anti-Israeli onslaughts at the UN will be realized. But having regard to her previous statements on the subject, one would have expected of them at least to suspend judgment.

President Barack Obama was always upfront concerning his intention to reduce America’s global interventionist role and “engage” rather than confront rogue states. His recent choice of personnel reflects this.

Secretary of State John Kerry, a friend of Israel, has a checkered and messy foreign policy track record including a disastrous effort, immediately before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, to rehabilitate Assad whom he regarded as a reasonable open-minded leader. His naïve efforts to promote the peace process are respectfully tolerated by the Israelis and responded to with outright contempt by the Palestinians who mocked the $4 billion private investment project he recently unveiled. Last month, Kerry quietly waived the US requirements of Egypt to “implement policies to ensure freedom of expression, association and religion”, and approved a $1.3 billion arms grant to them. A few weeks later, the Egyptians displayed their appreciation by sentencing 43 NGO workers, including 16 Americans, to five year prison terms for having funded pro-democracy groups.

Obama’s Minister of Defense Chuck Hagel was an isolationist who harbored anti-Israel views and John Brennan, who heads the CIA, is the principal architect of the policy to appease Islam.

The so-called “Arab Spring”, enthusiastically welcomed by the Obama administration, substituted authoritarian dictators – some pro-Western – with more extreme Moslem Brotherhood fanatics and other radical Islamists who, despite reliance on American financial support, display utter contempt for US concerns.

The absence of international pressure from the US as a superpower in the catastrophic civil war in Syria has strengthened the extremists on both sides with the now probable outcome being an Iranian Hezbollah dominated Assad regime or rule by Moslem Brotherhood extremists buttressed by Al Qaeda.

US appeasement of Islamic extremism now also demands the exclusion of criticism of Islamic terrorism from the lexicon of Administration spokesmen. Thus, it is prohibited to bracket the role of Islamic fundamentalism with acts of terror orchestrated by jihadist elements. Despite the fact that 95% of global terror originates from Islamic extremist sources, one is continuously bombarded by meaningless clichés such as “Islam is a religion of peace” designed to understate and cover up the Islamic extremist element. To top it off, the administration has now initiated a campaign of “outreach” to US Moslem Brotherhood groups, even including elements under investigation for charges of supporting terrorism. This of course undermines the standing and influence of moderate Moslems.

These developments have severe ramifications for Israel. The United States is one of the very few countries where the public remains strongly supportive on a bi-partisan level towards Israel. Obama’s demonstrative display of warmth towards Israel early in his second term, as evidenced during his visit to the Jewish State, was undoubtedly largely influenced by the feelings of rank-and-file Americans.

The US global decline is deeply disconcerting for Israel. It is paralleled by the increasing power of China which has few shared values with us and maintains a purely pragmatic relationship, heavily influenced by the economic and political power of the Arab bloc. The Russian leaders, unlike their former Soviet counterparts, are not anti-Semitic but retain a strong alliance with Syria and even Iran.

Israel’s greatest concern is whether, with the likely failure of sanctions, the United States will fulfill its reiterated undertakings to resort to military action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The repeated articulation of “engaging” rogue states is regarded by many observers as a prelude to the US substituting its policy of preventing Iran from obtaining the bomb, with a wishy-washy containment approach which paves the way for Iranian regional hegemony or obliges other Arab states to seek to obtain nuclear facilities.

Yet, notwithstanding its global decline, the US remains the world’s greatest superpower and its relationship with Israel remains crucial for us.

It is thus incumbent on us to recognize and work towards two goals. The first is to remain aware that in this regional scorpion’s den, there is no mercy for the weak and we must rely solely on our own resources and strength to deter those states – Shiite and Sunni alike – which retain an obsession to destroy us.

That the IDF is today more powerful than it has ever been is the greatest reassurance for the nation. We can never rely on third parties and the current chaos with UNDORF on the Golan Heights, with the Russians offering to substitute for the Austrian withdrawal, underlines the imperative of self-sufficiency in defending ourselves.

The second goal must be to maintain and strengthen our relationship with the American people and Congress. If they continue backing our efforts to resist the barbarians at our gates, the Administration is likely to continue providing us with the needed military and technological support.

To achieve these goals we must impose greater discipline on our politicians and on ourselves. We must speak with one voice, especially in these times of intransigent Palestinian leadership when, for the foreseeable future, genuine progress in the peace process is virtually inconceivable. It is the height of irresponsibility for a deputy minister of defense to proclaim that a two state solution is off the table or to call for the annexation of all the territories. Such outbursts simply provide grist for those seeking to distance the US from Israel.

The government must continue its nuanced policy of strengthening the relationship with the US without conceding on issues that abet the strategy of our adversaries to undermine the State in stages and embolden Islamic extremists.

We would hope that our Jewish supporters and friends in the United States will continue encouraging the administration at all levels to support Israel in its struggle against its Islamic jihadist adversaries.

The writer may be contacted at This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom.

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 →