Doomsday talk about Obama and Israel
05/26/2011 - 11:31
James Besser

Like so many others, I've been intrigued by the California radio preacher and his gullible flock who predicted doomsday on May 21, and are now engaged in furious rationalization to explain why they were right even though the world seems to be continuing on its merry way.

It occurred to me the arch Obama haters in the Jewish community engage in similar thought processes. No matter what information that comes their way, they quickly and adroitly – if not very convincingly – twist it around as more “proof” that this president is not just misguided in his policies, but an Israel hater. With Obama in the White House, pro-Israel doomsday is just around the corner.

This came to mind when a reader shot me an email only minutes after JTA posted a story about the Pentagon's decision to help Israel buy more Iron Dome systems to provide a modicum of protection against Hamas and Hezbollah rockets.

That's good news, right? Israel faces a growing threat from these rockets, a fact the inhabitants of Sderot and other vulnerable communities know too well.

But not to this reader, who had an interesting explanation: it was just another administration ploy to soften Israeli leaders up for the fatal compromises President Obama will soon try to force them to make as part of some new peace initiative.

Get it? By most accounts U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation is at an all time high, and unlike some previous administrations this one has never sought to use U.S. assistance as a lever to get Israel to change policies.

But to a tiny minority in our community, everything President Obama does is just more proof that we wants to throw Israel under the bus, that his administration is a bigger existential threat to the Jewish state than Iran, that Jews who support him are like those who sat idly by while Adolf Hitler was planning the Final Solution (Yes, we've seen that theme in comments in recent days).

I'm not an admirer of this administration's Middle East policies, which I find confusing, not well thought out and ineffective. Two and a half years into his term I don't see that Barack Obama has learned much on the issue. There's plenty to criticize – whether you're on the right or the left, and criticism is an important part of the democratic process.

But calling him an Israel hater, arguing that every American effort to help Israel is some kind of trick and saying he's an anti-Semite (how many times in the past week have I seen references to Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Jewish Week comments, as if he was sitting at Obama's elbow in the Oval Office and telling him how to deal with the Jews?) seems about as counterproductive and as unconvincing as you can get.

Sort of like saying, whoops, doomsday really did occur last Saturday, only nobody noticed.
 

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Although I'm not yet ready to call Obama an Israel hater, I am prepared to call him the worst president on Israel I've ever seen. His public positions mirror the Palestinian authority's to the tee. Although he rarely if ever condemns the Palestinian leadership, his treatment of Netanyahu has been abysmal. Mr. Besser's belief that his policies are confusing and ineffective are the best that can be said about them. The more accurate view is that they are well thought out and as effective as an anti-Israeli policy can be without alienating large parts of the American public.

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