Netanyahu and the 'self hating Jews' in Washington
07/10/2009 - 10:43
James Besser

You have to wonder about some of the members of Bibi Netanyahu’s government.

The insiders who told Ha’aretz that the prime minister is convinced “the American administration wants him out of office” and that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior political adviser David Axelrod are “self-hating Jews” were either lying because they want to sow discord between Washington and Jerusalem – or they were telling the truth about the prime minister, for the same reason.

And you have to wonder about the motives of those politicians and activists in Israel – and their friends here – who describe President Obama as just this side of satanic.

It’s one thing to be upset and angry that Obama is  pushing Israel on the question of Jewish settlements (but not threatening to cut off Israel aid, questioning the loyalty of American Jews or using a Secretary of State who said “bleep the Jews” to do his dirty work, like the first President Bush). It’s a legitimate point of view.

It’s something very different to argue that this president,  who has over and over again expressed his “unbreakable” support for the Jewish state even as he presses forward with new peace efforts, is anti-Israel, anti-Jewish or – if  you read the emails that continue to circulate in the Jewish community – a secret Muslim extremist.

The Israeli right traditionally tars Americans and American leaders who don’t agree with their positions as anti-Israel. What’ surprising to me is that the big Jewish center in Israel – and the Jewish leadership in this country – don’t stand up and label this stuff for what it is — dangerous partisanship that can only undercut strong U.S. - Israel relations.

I don’t have clue whether President Obama is going to be the one to break through the long Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Given Palestinian and Israeli politics, I tend to doubt it.

I’m quite certain that while he supports Israel and respects its right to shape its own destiny, he believes that there are places where current U.S. and Israeli policies diverge.

Guess what: that’s true in the strongest of alliances.  Do you honestly think the United States and Great Britain, two of history’s closest allies, agreed on every last policy and priority during World War II?

I’ve read a lot of history of the period, and I don’t recall claims that FDR was an anti-Brit fanatic, even though he sometimes disagreed with  Winston Churchill on major points of policy.

You have to believe that those calling President Obama an Israel hater and maybe a Jew hater, and those who are telling the Israeli press that the Prime Minister shares such sentiments,  are simply trying to sow discord because they can’t tolerate any deviation from their own particular views about what’s best for Israel.

Alliance? That’s not what those who say Obama is anti-Israel want; it’s lockstep fealty to one political point of view in Israel.

Come to think of it, isn’t that what Obama warned about during his meeting last year with Jewish leaders in Cleveland?

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