President Barack Obama’s recent comments on Israel say far more about his own worldview than Israel itself. He dismisses any notion that Israel is in any danger other than the danger of not meeting his unrealistic expectations for the tiny nation.
“Because Israel is so capable militarily, I don’t worry about Israel’s survival,” he said in an interview. “I think the question really is how does Israel survive. And how can you create a State of Israel that maintains its democratic and civic traditions. How can you preserve a Jewish state that is also reflective of the best values of those who founded Israel. And, in order to do that, it has consistently been my belief that you have to find a way to live side by side in peace with Palestinians.”
That statement has many, many problems. Let’s start with the first — that Israel has nothing to worry about. Sure, Israel has an impressive military. But that doesn’t mean its citizens and its existence aren’t under threat.
“Israel remains under siege by hostile neighbors in the form of terrorist states on both its northern (Hezbollah) and southern borders,” notes Jonathan Tobin for Commentary magazine. “Both remain committed not just to Israel’s destruction but also the genocide of its Jewish population. While Israel is in no current danger of military defeat, the spectacle of Hamas forcing the majority of Israelis in and out of bomb shelters for a month encouraged the Islamists and their supporters to believe their cause is not yet lost. The fact that their efforts are being cheered on by a worldwide surge in anti-Semitism fueled by hatred of Israel also ought to leave any true friend of Israel worried.”
Obama’s statement goes a long way toward explaining his apparent complacence about Iran and its nuclear ambitions. He doesn’t see an Iranian nuclear bomb as an existential threat to Israel. He’s wrong.
Obama is also wrong about Israel’s willingness to live side-by-side with the Palestinians. Israel has repeatedly given up land and resources, each time in an effort trade land for peace. Each attempt has proven to be a bitter disappointment, because of factions within Palestine that don’t want peace.
Of course, Obama doesn’t hold the region’s Arab nations to any such standard. He watches Hamas break truce after truce and commit egregious war crimes, and then chastens the Israelis for their “disproportionate” response.
“This is a president who believes Israel’s security is not his priority or even a particular concern,” Tobin notes. “Rather, he wants to save Israel from itself and acts as if it has not already made several offers of peace that have been consistently turned down by the Palestinians. Though Obama is right that Israelis won’t allow their country to be destroyed, his apathy about the deadly threats it faces from Iran and its terrorist proxies, cheered by a chorus of anti-Semitic haters, does nothing to inspire confidence in his leadership.”
The United States owes more support to the region’s only true democratic nation.