Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama's slap of Israel is shameful, dangerous

A Savannah Morning News editorial:

President Obama is cementing his reputation as the least pro-Israel president this nation has ever had.  [One might as well say, "the only anti-Israel president this nation has ever had.]

Last week, the White House announced that Mr. Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he comes to Washington in March to address Congress.

It’s the first time an American has openly snubbed a leader of this nation’s closest ally in the Middle East.

That’s shameful.  It’s also dangerous to this nation’s security and to Israel’s.

It’s clear that the two leaders dislike — if not detest — one another.  But they always must be willing to talk, and at any time.  The only people who benefit when Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu don’t communicate are America’s and Israel’s enemies in this region.

There are plenty of them.

Especially Iran.

Iran is on a hot political roll lately.  So are its proxies.  Iranian-backed Houthi rebels control the Yemeni government.  Iran’s influence in Syria continues is rising, as Tehran seems to have saved the once teetering regime of Bashar al-Assad.  Hezbollah is making mischief in Lebanon and elsewhere, according to Iran’s bidding.

This political momentum isn’t just making Israel increasingly nervous.  Other U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are worried.  If events continue to go Iran’s way, and it is allowed to acquire its own nukes, that part of the world could explode.  Israel knows it.

But the White House doesn’t.

Mr. Netanyahu is speaking to Congress because House Speaker John Boehner invited him.  The White House wasn’t involved.

Members of Congress must be reluctant to play Secretary of State — that’s the job of the executive branch.  But Mr. Obama’s foreign policy, as it relates to Iran and the bomb, has the strength and vigor of a soggy noodle.

For example, the relief from economic sanctions given to Iran was supposed to be tied to scale-backs on that country’s nuclear program.  Yet Iran’s nuclear ambitions continue.  Deadlines have come and gone twice.  But sanctions haven’t been reinstated.  In fact, Iran’s leaders are acting like the lifting of sanctions were permanent — and you can’t blame them.

You can’t fault Israel’s prime minister for being more politically aggressive in the U.S. if his counterpart here is AWOL on Iran’s nukes.

So yes, his acceptance of Mr. Boehner’s invitation to speak on March 3 on Capitol Hill is a poke in the eye to Mr. Obama.  But it needs poking.

The president has opposed a bipartisan bill in Congress that would put teeth in the effort to force Iran to give up its nuclear program.  Although Mr. Obama has vowed to veto such a measure, there’s a chance that enough Republicans and Democrats could vote to override it.  That’s another reason why the White House won’t give Israel’s leader the time of day.

Mr. Obama’s leadership in the Middle East has been abysmal.  Maybe he’s not openly hostile to Israel.  Yet he’s not doing that nation — or, his own — any favors by snubbing Mr. Netanyahu or going soft on nukes.   The only beneficiary is the country that’s gaining strength — Iran.

1 comment:

A. S. Haley said...

My apologies, Dean Munday. I thought I had copied the link, but apparently not. Let's try this again:

Now comes word that the President's hatred for Netanyahu has driven him to try to interfere in Israel's upcoming elections, in order to prevent the Prime Minister from winning another term with his party.