David Horovitz, the editor of the Times of Israel has written a scathing critique of the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel.
In the aftermath of the administration’s acceptance of the Fatah/Hamas unity government in defiance of the letter of American law, Horovitz wrote yesterday, 12 ways the US administration has failed its ally Israel.
Horovitz’s criticisms can be broken down into three categories: mistakes in proceeding with the peace process, primarily blaming Israel for the failure of the peace process and other breaches of faith with Israel regarding Israel’s enemies in the Middle East.
In that last category (the last three of Horovitz’s examples) he observes that rather than keeping quiet about reported Israeli air strikes against Syrian arm shipments to Hezbollah, the administration attributed the strikes to Israel risking possible Syrian retaliation against Israel and blasts the administration for “rushing to support Islamic extremists … when they come to power in a neighboring state,” referring to the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief stint as rulers of Egypt.
But he’s harshest in his criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of Iran arguing that “[t]he central goal of US policy in this regard should not be merely denying Iran nuclear weapons but denying Iran the capacity to build nuclear weapons.”
Regarding the peace process Horovitz faults the administration for looking to solve the conflict in just nine months instead of just working on trying to build a climate of trust:
Rather than setting an impossible nine-month timeframe for negotiating a permanent accord, when all reasonable evidence and past experience showed that this would fail, it would have been better for the US and its international allies to start working systematically, investing time, money and leverage in, among other spheres, education and media, in order to create a climate conducive to progress.
Two specific criticisms of Horovitz show how the administration did just the opposite. For one “You’d think an ally would have made plain to the Palestinians that their demand, as a precondition for renewing peace talks, that Israel set free terrorists who have killed large numbers of its innocent citizens was outrageous and unacceptable…” Another was “By lumping all ‘settlements’ together, and relentlessly criticizing all building, you alienate the Israeli middle ground, which supports the retention of Jewish neighborhoods built over the pre-1967 lines in Jerusalem, on the one hand, and would relinquish most West Bank settlements in the cause of a viable peace treaty, on the other.”
So on one hand the administration allowed the Palestinians to celebrate terrorists as heroes, on the other, it took a position that is opposed by a vast majority of Israelis.
Then as the peace process crashed and burned, top administration officials placed “distorted blame for the collapse of the process on the prime minister.” First there was Obama’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, which as Horovitz puts it “such withering public comments are hardly likely to bolster the prime minister’s faith in your judgment and solidarity — and thus are likely to undermine your own efforts to build his trust.”
Then after the process was over there was an administration official, likely Martin Indyk, who solely blamed Israel for the failure of the talks to Israeli columnist Nachum Barnea. Then there was Kerry’s careless use of the word ‘apartheid’ in describing Israel which which Horovitz describes as “publicly invoking the spectacularly loaded term “apartheid” in critiquing Israel is the lowest of blows — a gift to enemies who can be counted on to seize upon such comments to distort Israel’s reality and delegtimize its very existence.”
Horovitz, it should be noted, is hardly a right winger. He’s a centrist, maybe even slightly to the left of center and not at all reticent to criticize Netanyahu. It is noteworthy that he concludes:
You might think the above list is the least that Israel might reasonably expect from the US administration. But no. The peace process has collapsed and Israel is getting the blame. Hamas, committed under its own charter to the obliteration of Israel, is now part of an internationally recognized Palestinian government. And the P5+1 nations, led by the US, are working toward a deal that will enshrine Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities. Israel may not be a perfect ally, but we deserve better than this.
Obama has lost “middle Israel,” I don’t expect he will win it back in the next two years.
[Photo: Pete Souza / WikiCommons ]DONATE
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