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August 19, 2016 8:24 am

Obama’s Behavior Towards Israel Is Not Netanyahu’s Fault

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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President Obama and Prime Minister Netanayhu. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanayhu. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

At a conference on Wednesday held by Darkenu — a self-described “grass-roots movement of the ‎Israeli moderate majority” — former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ‎blasted incumbent PM Benjamin Netanyahu for endangering the country’s security. As someone ‎who turned imperiling the Jewish state into an art form, Barak ought to know better.‎

It was Barak, after all, who made grandiose offers of territory and other concessions to Palestine Liberation Organization chief ‎Yasser Arafat which, had they been accepted, would have done Israel in. It was he who exposed ‎the truth — the one the rest of us knew already — that the Palestinian terror master and Nobel Peace prize ‎laureate was ever-bent on annihilating the Jews in his vicinity. ‎

Indeed, when Barak made his final appeasement offer at Camp David in 2000, Arafat returned the ‎favor by launching a suicide-bombing war against innocent Israelis. Yet Barak proceeded to blame ‎his successors for a lack of a two-state solution.‎

And let’s not forget Barak’s hightail-it-out-of-there retreat from southern Lebanon that left a ‎vacuum for Iran to fill. Barak’s response since then is to spew more vitriol at Netanyahu than at ‎Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.‎

But, hey, such is the manner of washed-up has-beens. To stay relevant on the think tank and ‎lecture circuit, they need something to say, and it isn’t “I’m sorry.”‎

It was thus not surprising that he devoted his talk at the Darkenu conference to what he called ‎Netanyahu’s “lack of judgment” and “fecklessness” regarding Israel’s most pressing and profound ‎security concerns by — get this — destroying the Jewish state’s crucial and previously warm ‎relationship with the United States. Yes, according to Barak, Netanyahu is a fascist who uses fear-‎mongering about “existential threats” like a nuclear Iran in order to stay in power.‎

Though Tehran’s ambitions and other issues do indeed pose some danger, Barak conceded, ‎Netanyahu has exaggerated them to the point at which the White House can no longer tolerate him. ‎You know, by doing things like warning Congress not to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of ‎Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.‎

Evidence of Netanyahu’s reckless endangerment on this score, he said, lies in the poor U.S. aid ‎package and unfortunate stipulations about spending any of it on Israeli defense industries.‎

It is legitimate for rivals to attack Netanyahu politically. But not one word of Barak’s tirade was the ‎truth. In order to avoid being challenged about the many false “facts” he presented, he covered his ‎rear by claiming to be privy to “another incident [showing Netanyahu’s] failure to internalize the ‎potential of cooperation with the United States, as well as careless operational behavior, [which] led ‎to a most worrisome exposure of Israel to a key security challenge,” but “due to the matter’s ‎sensitivity,” he was not at liberty to elaborate.‎

Right.‎

How about we do some elaborating for him?‎

From the moment that US President Barack Obama took office, he proceeded to implement the ‎intertwined policies of “leading from behind,” reaching out to radical Muslims and emulating ‎Europe. In this context, he could only view Israel as a hindrance. To the new White House and ‎State Department, the Jewish state had to be seen — like America — as an entity at fault for the ‎hostility and belligerence it aroused among “disgruntled” Islamists and other haters.‎

In addition, perhaps even more importantly, as a country founded on Jewish nationalism, Israel by ‎its very nature was antithetical to Obama’s entire outlook — forged and cultivated by his mentor, ‎‎Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky. As this new America was doing away with the National ‎Anthem and Christian holiday symbols in public schools and institutions, Israel was maintaining a ‎sense of pride in itself, as well as a shared belief that the values of freedom and democracy are not ‎only worth fighting for, but necessary for survival in a region and a world increasingly moving in ‎the opposite direction. ‎

In other words, Israel appears to the administration in Washington to be like an extension of the ‎Republican Party.‎

Indeed, in today’s America, it is the Republicans who grasp what Israel is all about — and wish that their ‎own country would remember and embrace its own similar greatness.‎

It is the Democrats’ shift away from such basics that has caused Israel no longer to be what ‎Americans call a “bipartisan issue.” Netanyahu has nothing to do with it. And if Barak were to ‎replace him in the Prime Minister’s Office today, he would be given the same treatment by the ‎White House to which Netanyahu has been subjected for the past seven and a half years — merely ‎by attempting to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorism and Iranian rockets.‎

Just as global antisemitism is not Israel’s fault, neither is the appalling behavior of the Obama ‎administration toward Netanyahu. It is time for Israeli politicians, especially failed ones, to stop ‎insisting otherwise.‎

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.‎

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