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June 5, 2015 11:04 am

What I Would Have Asked Obama

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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President Obama's interview with Channel 2's Ilana Dayan aired on Tuesday, June 2. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama’s interview with Channel 2’s Ilana Dayan aired on Tuesday, June 2. Photo: Screenshot.

On Tuesday night, Israel’s Channel 2 network aired an interview with U.S. President Barack Obama, conducted by respected Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan. This was yet another tine of Obama’s multi-pronged charm offensive, to make sure the Jews who supported and funded him do not abandon him and the Democratic Party as the 2016 presidential election draws near.

Coming on the heels of a sit-down with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic and an address to the Adas Israel congregation in Washington, it was not the least bit original. On the contrary, it was basically a repeat of everything Obama has been saying to assure Jewish donors that he has Israel’s best interests at heart.

This is among many reasons that Dayan need not be patting herself on the back for scoring the coveted one-on-one at the White House. Indeed, she was merely serving as a pawn in Obama’s transparent maneuver to capitulate to Iran, and to keep Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings about Iran from being taken seriously.

Still, a tough investigative journalist like Dayan could have made better use of the microphone. But for this, she would have had to avoid slipping into idolatry mode and keep herself from fawning like a high-school girl in the presence of a movie star whose poster hangs over her bed.

Since I don’t have that particular problem in relation to America’s “leader-from-behind,” I prepared an alternative list of questions I would have liked to hear Obama answer.

  1. Mr. President, your tense relations with Prime Minister Netanyahu are no secret. Can you give a single example of his having disobeyed your demands and commands? Did he not agree to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, freeze settlement construction, release terrorists, and apologize to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the 2010 events surrounding the “Free Gaza” flotilla?
  2. Mr. President, in your recent speech at the Adas Israel synagogue, you quipped that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wasn’t the “easiest person” to negotiate with. This elicited sympathetic laughter from the audience. Can you give a single example of his having accommodated Secretary of State John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy efforts?
  3. Mr. President, you have said that it is imperative that Israel “live up to the core values on which it was founded.” Can you give a single example of its not having done so?
  4. Mr. President, you have expressed concern that in the absence of a “two-state solution,” Israeli democracy would be in jeopardy. Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly agrees with you on this, as is indicated by his public endorsement in 2009 in a speech at Bar-Ilan University. Prior to his election in March, he acknowledged that this would not happen during his tenure, given the realities on the ground. After the elections, due to pressure from you and others, he said that he would resume negotiating with the PA, albeit with caveats. What about this position is problematic? Has the PA done anything to cause you to disagree with Netanyahu’s assessments?
  5. Mr. President, everyone is aware of the pressure you have been applying on Israel to bring about peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians. Can you give a single example of pressure on the PA? For example, have you addressed any mosques in America and appealed to congregants about the commemoration in the PA of Nakba Day, mourning the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948? Have you insisted that Palestinian television cease teaching young children to take up arms against Jews?
  6. Mr. President, you have said that “all options are on the table” where a nuclearizing Iran is concerned. Yet now you are claiming that there is no military solution. Meanwhile, Iran denies the clauses of the framework agreement, signed in Lausanne in April, which is to be finalized at the end of this month. Furthermore, its stockpile of nuclear fuel has increased by 20% over the last 18 months; the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels have taken at least four Americans prisoner; women’s rights activist Atena Farghadani was just sentenced to 14 years in prison for posting a cartoon on Facebook, mocking Iranian politicians who supported an anti-contraception bill; a trial has begun against Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian for espionage and “disseminating propaganda against the Islamic republic.” Rezaian, an American citizen, has been held in Iran’s torturous Evin Prison, mostly in solitary confinement, and subjected to fierce interrogations, while being denied medical treatment for his deteriorating health. Are you still planning on going ahead with the deal?
  7. Mr. President, you always show great concern for “the children” of the world. For instance, you say that children in Ramallah should have the same opportunities for a bright future as children in Israel. Do you feel the same way about children in Iran? If so, why did you refrain from helping the Green Movement when it attempted to overthrow the mullah-led regime in 2009? Why did you say it was not your place to intervene on their behalf?
  8. Finally, Mr. President, you have categorized Netanyahu and his friends in the U.S. Republican Party as forging foreign policy based on fear, rather than hope. Can you give a single example of a hope-based policy that has panned out since you took office?

Ruthie Blum is the web editor of Voice of Israel talk radio ( This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Genghis Cohen

    WELL DONE Ruthie Blum! But, the Liar in Chief would squirm away from frank answers, and I believe, he would not give you the opportunity to ask your questions. This is why he succeeded twice in becoming our Liar in Chief.

  • yehudi

    how about this:
    What will you do to stop the spreading of the false claim that the Arabs have rights to the land, seeing that you are such a big fan of Jewish history?

  • Yale

    The question that needs to be put to Obama is:

    Mr. President, you have been in the White Hosue for more than six years. Have you made any mistakes? Have you learned anything about the way the world actually works that you didn’t believe when you were in grade school?

  • HaroldT

    Your item 5 is the most relevant. And what about the PA glorification of terrorists and their maps showing all of “Palestine ” from the Med. to the Jordan.
    Why is Bibi not hammering these points on public TV and in open letters to Obama and EU presidents ?

  • Joel Keller

    Great questions! None, of course, will be answered by our Dear Leader, however.

  • Paul

    This is such a distorted presentation of the real situation ! Obama DOES certainly appear to have problems, but trying to whitewash Bibi is simply an insult to the intelligence of any objective person.
    As an example, you ask “Mr. President, you have said that it is imperative that Israel “live up to the core values on which it was founded.” Can you give a single example of its not having done so?” Really !!! On the eve of the elections, he stated there would be no 2-state solution – and this was a wonderful way to take votes from Bennet’s party – it worked like a charm. And the day after elections he pretended he did NOT say it. Perhaps not lying is an Israeli value ? On the eve of the elections, he stated that the left was using foreign funds to buss arabs in droves to the polls – to drive his flock of blind supporters by appealing to their hatred and fear. THIS undermines the democratic statements in the declaration of independence – portraying the Israeli Arabs as enemies to influence the shallow minds of the emotional-thinking right wing. But the most damning, destructive act of self destruction is the future-less destructive settlement policy on the West Bank.
    You ask why Abbas is not held to the same standards as Israel: do you really want Israel and the Palestinians to be treated equally ? Are Israel and the Palestinians really expected to be held to the same level of expectations ? Are the Palestinians also the beneficiaries of tremendous US political, military and financial support because they share the values of democracy and espect for civil rights ? Since we claim to be a western oriented democracy, we are expected to behave that way.
    Although Obama failed to support Iran – is he WRONG when he says Palestinian children deserve consideration ?
    And are you really suggesting Bibi is RIGHT by basing his politics on fear and hatred, and not on hope ? Do you JUSTIFY this ? Has Bibi’s policy proven itself, or has it led us to unprecedented global hatred, flying in the face of our closest allies. this is totally non-democratic – it is modern-day colonialism, justified by ancient claims of promises from God 3000 years ago – which are totally unacceptiable to any rational person. the settlement do NOT contribute to Israel’s security – they MAY lead to Israel’s destruction. Antisemitism DOES exist – but bibi’s statements and actions give anti-semitism a field day – they give Israel’s enemies justification where none should exist.


      Paul, Without he likes of Bibi Israel would have been destroyed years ago. You have to tread carefully when your so called “friends” turn against you. Now Israel is looking over both shoulders thanks to this administration.

  • Ebenezer Samuel

    Mr. Obama’s lies are not concealable. His hypocritical, double tongued rhetorics concerning the Jewish Nation are too glaring. Israel will outlive him and his antisemitic hate filled legacy.

  • Ephraim

    Beautiful. Unfortunately, he will never listen to or talk to anyone who even hints at the points you eloquently made.

  • Anschel

    Well done, Ruthie, touche and thank you!