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April 11, 2016 7:14 am

The New York Times Calls Obama ‘Israel’s Unsung Protector’

avatar by Ira Stoll

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President Obama at the UN. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama at the UN. Photo: Screenshot.

“Israel’s Unsung Protector: Obama” is the click-bait provocative headline the New York Times hangs over an opinion piece by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now. The article faults President Obama for reliably siding with Israel at the United Nations Security Council, and it calls on him to stop it.

If Mr. Obama does that, Ms. Friedman argues somewhat convolutedly, “President Obama will not be betraying Israel. He will be Israel’s true friend.”

This is off base in at least two important ways.

First, it’s not accurate that up to this point the Obama administration has been, as the Times op-ed puts it, “shielding Israel” at the United Nations. The op-ed — in a stunning omission — doesn’t mention the single most significant UN Security Council vote to affect Israel during the entire Obama administration. That is the UN vote on Security Council Resolution 2231, which implemented the Iran nuclear deal.

The Israeli government was so opposed to the deal that Prime Minister Netanyahu went to Washington to beseech Congress to stop it. The lifting of UN sanctions on Iran effectively put hundreds of billions of dollars in the pockets of Israel’s terrorist enemy, a country whose government is dedicated to wiping Israel off the map. The idea that President Obama is Israel’s “protector” is undercut by that deal, which America voted for at the UN.

Second, it’s preposterous that Ms. Friedman, or any other American, would claim that she is better equipped than the democratically elected government of Israel to judge what is in Israel’s interest. That’s essentially what she is arguing when she calls on President Obama to start voting against Israel at the UN.

If Ms. Friedman wants to argue that voting against Israel is in America’s interest, she is free to make that argument, though I would disagree with her. Instead, she argues that for the US to undermine Israel at the UN would be in Israel’s interest. In other words, she knows better than Israel what is in Israel’s interest. If this is how a “true friend” behaves, who needs enemies? It makes no sense.

If Ms. Friedman disagrees with the Israeli government’s policies, let her take the issue up with it directly, or move there and vote for left-wing parties. Instead, she’s asking America to undercut what Israel says is in its interest. If she’s wrong, she’ll be safe in America. Israelis, meanwhile, will be called up on reserve duty, huddled in bomb shelters or worse.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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  • Al Talena

    In the Haggadah, the Evil Son is defined as one who removes himself from the Jewish community. S-street, one Israel Fund, Jews at the NY Slimes and many lefty Jews fall into this category. Even the pig raises its feet with its split hooves and says “Look at me, I’m kosher.”

  • shloime

    while i totally disagree with ms friedman’s specious arguments and dishonest conclusions, this critique is also offbase: non-israelis can offer valid opinions and analysis.

    it is the substance of ms friedman’s (and peace now’s) agenda that is wrong, not her place of residence. the israeli branch of peace now is just as crazy, and has no more legitimacy for being based in tel aviv (or mars).

  • Mike Holloway

    I would recommend reading the article. I’m curious to know how the folks here reacted to the articles facts that Reagan, HW, and W all voted against Israel multiple times in resolutions directly aimed at Israel while the Obama adminstration has multiple times only vetoed similar resolutions. What is the reasoning behind citing the Iran deal vote given that the sanctions was an international collaboration and the escrow accounts were not under US control and unlikely to remain frozen? After all, the whole point of the sanctions campaign was to force Iran to negotiate this deal for the benefit of all, including Israel, and never to hold Iranian assets in perpetuity.

  • betty k. schneck

    Ms. Friedman’s opinion for President Obama is unwarranted since he’s the on who must declare his confidence in Israel’s autonomy. It is Israel who decides how and why to exist- not Barack Obama. Israel has come back as a state in which she once lived before slavery and ruin by the Romans.Israel itself is capable of making decisions and doesn’t need the direction of the Peace Now Movement. I(f Ms. Friedman thinks in the best interest of Israel she wouldn’t make such narrow statements since she has experienced the need for the Jewish people to finally come home.

  • Sam Harris

    I would love to see Adelson buy the NYT!

  • AndreiVincenzo

    Where do I begin to critique Lara Friedman? First of all, the New York Times is only fit the line the bottoms of bird cages. Ms. Friedman’s “opinion” is delusional to the point the she thinks President Obama has been siding too much with Israel. As correctly stated in this article, the Iran deal is sufficient evidence alone that shows the current has been the most antagonistic US government in recent memory.

    Yes, Ms. Friedman’s opinion is just that, an ill informed, poorly conceived bit of blathering put in print by an news organization that has long outlived it’s usefulness. I suggest that she relocate herself to Israel, closer to the turmoil and adversity that everyday Israelis face as normal part of their lives.
    The US need to align itself more closely to it’s friend, democratically elected and closest ally in the middle east, hopefully in the next administration, we must stand firm and back the candidates which best shares our mutual interests whether they be either Republicans or Democrats.

  • robert davis

    Ms friedman is another jew hater mercenary who would say any lie to keep getting her salary. These self hating jewish mlercenaries are Israel’s worse enemies and the reason why such antisemite medias as the nyt hire them. Anyway Israel should seize any opportunity to transfer jordanian”palestinians” to jordan where they belong no matter what. All the more since after years of socialism the world is on the verge of ww3 and the un soon to die. Socialists’ “work” has always ended with wws and they don’t seem to have understood where their dogms are leading the world once again.

  • Esther Kaplan

    Lara Friedman, the UN, Barack Obama, the New York Times–anyone believing that any of the above is Israel’s friend is intentionally obfuscating, wearing blinders or lacking in common sense.

  • Elise Freedman

    How absurd. This president has been the most flagrantly anti-israel president since Jimmy Carter. We are living in Orwellian times where up is down and right is wrong. Sadly ms. Friedman is another self-hating Jew. I am a card carrying Jewish member of CUFI because they defend Israel and fight anti semitism in step with their Jewish brothers and sisters. Too many jews are far left and/or indifferent toward israel. Obama is a disgrace period.

    • Mike Holloway

      “the most flagrantly anti-israel president since Jimmy Carter”
      Do you have any facts to back that up? In addition to the facts outlined in the NYT article, military aid to Israel has only gone up during the Obama administration. You’d think that if Obama really was the anti-semite some claim there would be more to point to than the thin circumstantial conspiracy “insults” Obama has supposedly made. Is there, for instance, something forcing Obama to increase military aid, or something forcing him to veto every anti-Israel UN resolution, something Reagan, HW, and W did not do?

  • Peter Joffe

    The fact of the matter is that Israel is not at war with anyone at all and seek only peace. Iran and most Islamic States are guided by their holy book, the Quran, to destroy Israel. The Jewish Bible talks of peace and prosperity BUT, Israel has to protect herself against the forces of evil, the leader of whom is Iran. The most stupid thing you can ever dream of is Iran hurling a nuclear weapon at Israel who will respond in kind but they will of course be accused of using ‘excessive force” in their response. A radio active middle east will be a catastrophe for the entire world. Allah willing his Islamic states will be ruined.

  • Lia

    Does anybody really and truly still read the NYT? They’ve been pursuing me for an entire year to subscribe to their e-mail daily edition at a reduced price. They’re really trying hard to drum up business.

  • Mike P.

    She is trying to give Obama ‘cover’ saying it’s in Israel’s interest and that he’s a friend.

    And the NY Times is teeing up the whole thing.

    The NY Times gives no space to opinions on Israel with which its editorial board disagrees.

  • stevenl

    Obama knew how to deal with Liberal Jews but NOT Israeli Jews. They are the guarantors of Judaism!!! BHO should have known better.

  • Susan

    Sounds like Ms. Friedman is related to Thomas Friedman, the NY Times’ other good friend of Israel. Wicked bunch, the lot of them.

  • Linda reboh

    Ms Friedman is truly delusional

  • Mark_NYC

    I have no affection for NY Times coverage and opinions of Israel. But I think the Algemeiner headline for this story is misleading and plain wrong. The NY Times article was written as an Opinion piece by Lara Friedman; it was not a news story or an editorial by the newspaper. It is fair to note that the paper, by publishing it, provided it with a wide degree of dissemination, but it seems to me unfair to characterize the story by the headline “The New York Times Calls Obama Israel’s ‘Unsung Protector'”. While the latter may summarize Ms. Friedman’s opinion, the context makes it clear that it pertains to Ms. Friedman, not the NY Times. Does the Algemeiner want to start ruining its own credibility by such misleading headlines?

  • Obama cares as much about Israel as Frank Marshall Davis, his mentor, cared about the United States.

  • Ephraim

    You mean he has taken the mantle from Khameini?