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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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