America’s relationship with its sole steadfast ally in the Middle East — and the only functioning democracy in the disintegrating, hyper-violent region — has disgracefully hit rock bottom under President Obama’s leadership.
The U.S. attitude toward Israel is so bitter that a senior White House official described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “a chickenshit” in an interview with a prominent commentator on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.
So much for Obama’s oft-stated pledge to Israelis that he has the Jewish state’s back.
The appalling expression of disrespect for Netanyahu grows from Obama’s fury at the prime minister’s refusal to be bullied during Secretary of State John Kerry’s misbegotten drive to force a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
Then, too, Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Obama to take the hardest line in talks with Iran over the mullahs’ nuclear program, while Obama moves ever closer to a softer, perilous pact.
Lest you think that the “chickenshit” comment was an exception rather than the rule in Obamaworld, Atlantic magazine journalist Jeffrey Goldberg recounted a list of pejorative descriptions of Netanyahu that he had heard over the years: “recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous and ‘Aspergery.’ ”
You would think that the President’s aides were talking about Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rather than, perversely, the leader of friendly nation with deep historic ties to America.
Still more, Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden refused to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon during a recent visit to Washington, stiffing him for having criticized Kerry as “obsessive and messianic,” in private remarks for which he apologized.
Obama expected much of Israel and little of the Palestinians in what there was of a peace process — and then he got angry when Netanyahu stood up for the Jewish state’s needs while also making substantial good-faith moves.
Not only did the prime minister agree to recognize a Palestinian state, he released scores of Palestinian prisoners, including murderers, from Israeli jails, risked tremendous political capital by engaging in talks with bad-faith partners and froze settlement construction for 10 months.
In return, Palestinians conceded — and were asked to concede — exactly nothing.
When negotiations failed, Kerry publicly blamed Israel — only to have Israel vindicated before the world when Hamas hit the Jewish state with hundreds of rockets and launched guerrilla attacks through cross-border tunnels that had been long in the making.
Netanyahu responded to the unbecoming White House insults by saying he “will continue to defend the citizens of Israel.”
But his honor is the least of the issues. Far more gravely, the administration’s revealed contempt for Netanyahu, in effect, gives an American stamp of approval to the blame-Israel-for-everything chorus, much of which would be happy to see the Jewish state disappear. Obama has frequently been criticized for leaving allies high and dry. Never has he done worse than this.