Prominent US National Security Journalist Explains Apology for Past Defense of Obama’s Israel Record
The anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution the Obama administration allowed to be approved last week will “haunt Israel for years to come,” a prominent US national security reporter told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Eli Lake — a Bloomberg View columnist — spoke with The Algemeiner three days after he posted — in the wake of the Security Council vote — a tweet apologizing to pro-Israel friends for his past defense of outgoing President Barack Obama’s record when it comes to the Jewish state.
I apologize for the times I defended Obama to my pro-Israel friends. I was wrong.
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) December 25, 2016
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“First of all, I want to make it really clear that I’m not posing as a great supporter of Obama’s foreign policy,” Lake explained to The Algemeiner. “I’m not even a partial Obama Kool-Aid drinker. But I’ve also written a lot about US-Israel military cooperation, particularly the military subsidy to Israel that the Obama administration has increased. This was really a tweet about conversations I’ve had with friends in which I noted that Obama had largely protected Israel at the UN — until last week — and I’ve described his approach as kind of tough love.”
However, Obama’s decision to abstain from last Friday’s Security Council vote was “unbelievable,” Lake said.
“It was completely out of context,” Lake went on to say about the move. “We have the collapse of the state system in the Middle East right now. We have Russia’s interference in Crimea, not to mention in our election. We have what I think is a brewing crisis in the South China Sea. And we have an out-of-control North Korean tyrant who is building intercontinental missiles. We really do have a very dangerous world right now.”
“That is not the fault of Obama, but these crises are exacerbated by the lack of American leadership,” he continued. “There are many examples of things the Obama administration has chosen not to do, and then in its final month in office to break precedent and abstain from a UN Security Council resolution against Israel, its amazing to me, especially given the fact that the Palestinians themselves have hardly been ideal peace partners. This is a great gift to the Palestinians and what have the Palestinians done from a US national interest standpoint to deserve this?”
The best-case scenario, Lake said, was that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were “blinded by their own ideology,” while the worst-case scenario was that “this is foreign policy by pique — a kind of final shove at [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, which is not in our national interests or the US-Israel alliance’s interest.”
Furthermore, Lake pointed out, the Obama administration’s claim that the Security Council resolution did not break new ground was “absurd.”
“Don’t urinate on my shoes and tell me it’s raining,” Lake said. “The entire Security Council gave a standing ovation [after the resolution was passed]. Of course, it was a monumental change. To pretend that it wasn’t is ridiculous, just incredible.”