The Czechoslovakization of Israel by Obama

by Jerry Gordon (April 2010)

PM Netanyahu in his speech at the AIPAC Washington Policy Conference made it plain why Israel would not stand down:

The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied.

The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.

In Jerusalem, my government has maintained the policies of all Israeli governments since 1967, including those led by Golda Meir, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin. Today, nearly a quarter of a million Jews, almost half the city’s Jewish population, live in neighborhoods that are just beyond the 1949 armistice lines. All these neighborhoods are within a five-minute drive from the Knesset. They are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem.

Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement. Therefore, building them in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.

The unfolding drama of the conflict between President Obama and PM Netanyahu was evident in strained meetings in Washington following his AIPAC Policy Conference speech. 
U.K. Telegraph noted:  

Mr Obama was less inclined to be so conciliatory. He immediately presented Mr. Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.”

As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. “I’m still around,” Mr Obama is quoted by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. “Let me know if there is anything new.”

For over an hour, Mr Netanyahu and his aides closeted themselves in the Roosevelt Room on the first floor of the White House to map out a response to the president’s demands.

Although the two men then met again, at 8.20 pm, for a brief second meeting, it appeared that they failed to break the impasse. White House officials were quoted as saying that disagreements remained. Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, added: “Apparently they did not reach an understanding with the United States.”

“There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans did not try on the prime minister and his entourage,” Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported. “Bibi received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea.”

There appears to be a yawning and dangerous cognitive disconnect. It is reflected in the opposing views on the Israeli Arab conflict within the Obama White House National Security team, including senior levels in the Pentagon. That was graphically illustrated by the contrast between a closed session at the White House between the two national leaders, followed by a warm public bi-partisan Congressional welcome for Netanyahu on Capitol Hill. 

PM Netanyahu drew attention to that threat in his Washington AIPAC conference address:

weekly column:

Melanie Phillips correctly observed in a Spectator blog post,

Note the support of this dangerous prospect for the future of Israeli-U.S. relations given the views of National Security Council (NSC), diplomatic, defense and military officials closely allied with the Obama Administration.

Clinton: If [Iran] reassures the world, or if its behavior is changed because of international sanctions, then they can pursue peaceful, civil nuclear power. In the absence of these reassurances, we think it would be premature to go forward with any project at this time because we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians.

Lavrov: Russia is involved, and this project will be completed. This nuclear power plant will finally be launched, and it will generate electricity.

I hope that unlike other administrations, if [Obama] sees it not going anywhere, he doesn’t quit the process — because it’s too easy to get frustrated … and walk away from it. You have to stick it through.

Many current US general officers were products of the Bosnia-Kosovo regional conflicts and Gulf War I under the Bush and Clinton Administrations. The Balkan conflicts resulted in the establishment of two Islamic republics, Bosnia and Kosovo, supported by both Saudi and Iranian funding.

These comments, taken out of context, gave rise to blog posts by Mark Perry at Foreign and others endeavoring to paint General Petraeus as being anti-Israel. Note what Perry said that caused the eruption of concern:

The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’ instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command — or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’ reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.

This is not the first time that General Petraeus had made controversial comments about the Israel Palestinian conflict promoting terrorism in the Middle East. In June, 2009, N.M. Guariglia noted in a Pajamas Media post:   

Gen. Petraeus spoke with the Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper, published by the Lebanese Daily Star, and blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the existence of Hezbollah. “Hezbollah’s justifications for existence will become void,” Petraeus said, “if the Palestinian cause is resolved.”

Among those supporting Petraeus’ views was another blogger, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Stephen M. Walt, co-author with John J. Mearsheimer of  The Israel lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.Professor Walt had this comment about General Petraeus’ Senate testimony in an post, “Who are Israel’s true friends (hint it isn’t AIPAC)”:

Achieving a two-state solution is obviously in America’s strategic interest as well, because it would remove one of the major sources of anti-Americanism in the Arab and Muslim world. The vast majority of Muslims reject al Qaeda and its murderous methods, for example, but they share its harsh views about U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A two-state solution won’t solve all of our problems in the region, of course, but it would make a lot of them easier to address. It’s clear that the U.S. military, which now has a lot of experience in the region, thinks so too. As CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus told the Armed Services Committee earlier today.

Gen. Petraeus’ thesis is available on-line at the History News Network websitesee here. It is entitled “The American military and the Lessons of Vietnam: A Study of Military Influence and the Use of Force in the Post-Vietnam Era.”

On p. iii of his thesis under Acknowledgements, Petraeus lavishes praise on Walt. He notes:

Professor Stephen Walt also deserves my gratitude. As my second faculty adviser – replacing Professor Barry Posen during the writing of my dissertation – Professor Walt offered numerous sound suggestions and comments. Like Professor Ullman, he displayed tremendous competence not only as an academic, but as a teacher as well.

In  the swirl of controversy following his Senate testimony, General Petraeus was

interviewed by Phillip Klein of The American Spectator (TAS) at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, New Hampshire – watch the interview here. Petraeus said that he considered Perry’s posts to be inaccurate. Note Petraeus’ comments as reported by Klein of the TAS:

… Petraeus poured cold water on the controversy, explaining in detail why “all three items…were wrong, frankly.”

To start with, Petraeus said he never requested to have the West Bank and Gaza added to his responsibilities as leader of the military’s Central Command. He said that “every year or so” commanders submit a plan that takes a geographic look at their areas of responsibility, and then there’s discussion about whether it would make sense to redraw the boundaries.

“Typically, there’s a question of should we ask to have Israel and Palestinian territories included, because what goes on there is obviously of enormous interest to the rest of the Central Command area, which is the bulk of the Arab world,” Petraeus said. However, he emphasized that it was “flat wrong” to claim he actually requested responsibility for the areas.

“We noted in there that there was a perception at times that America sides with Israel and so forth. And I mean,that is a perception. It is there. I don’t think that’s disputable. But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it. And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly.”

He also noted that there were plenty of other important factors that were mentioned in the report, including “a whole bunch of extremist organizations, some of which by the way deny Israel’s right to exist. There’s a country that has a nuclear program who denies that the Holocaust took place.”

Petraeus said, he spoke to Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and reassured him that the reports were inaccurate. He also said he sent Ashkenazi a blog post written by Max Boot of Commentary, which he said “astutely” picked apart the erroneous information that’s been floating around.]

US Secretary of Defense Gates’

University of Oklahoma speech:

authors, James Lindsay and Ray Takeyh demurred and presented these alternative scenarios:

Ynet News comment about the implications for Israel:

Boot goes on to note this about Turki:

And so on, in the typical way of anti-Israel zealots. Prince Turki concludes with a plea: “Let us all pray that Mr. Obama possesses the foresight, fairness, and resolve to rein in the murderous Israeli regime and open a new chapter in this most intractable of conflicts.”

The American and Israeli people no longer trust the Obama White House to provide the support for Israel to defend itself. 

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