Likud Party officials are accusing Barack Obama of "gross interference" in upcoming Israeli elections after a blistering attack on Benyamin Netanyahu in an interview in Bloomberg magazine.
In the Bloomberg article, Jeffrey Goldberg writes of Obama's reaction to Israel's announcement of building settlements between North Jerusalem and the Jewish settlement town of Maaleh Adumim, called E-1 :
“Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are”, that "he would not be surprised if Obama “eventually offered a public vision of what a state of Palestine should look like, and affirmed that it should have its capital in East Jerusalem.” and calls Netanyahu "a political coward".
This all comes out on the eve of Israeli elections on January 22.
There are, of course, going to be many who will discount this as anti-Obama rhetoric, but it is Obama's own record on Israel, as well as his kid-glove treatment with the Palestinians, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Arab world, which has the Israeli's to see this latest attack on them and Netanyahu as too coincidental. (See video below)
The Obama Administration has been the most hostile to Israel of any U.S. President, including Jimmy Carter, who is openly hostile to Israel, and a Palestinian sympathizer.
In 2009, Obama's first televised interview was with Al Arabiya TV. Days later, Obama gave a speech at American University in Cairo Egypt, fullfilling a campaign promise of giving a speech in an Arab capital in his first 100 days in office. In his speech, Obama said that "The U.S. does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. It is time for the settlements to stop". Also, in a particularly disturbing portion of his speech, gave moral equivalency to Israeli treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi holocaust!
In a phone conference with U.S. Jewish leaders, he stated that "It's a problem that there is no daylight between the U.S. and Israel ", and that "Israel must engage in serious self-reflection about their commitment to peace." Their commitment to peace? While rockets rain down daily on Israel, and small town like Sderot, from Palestinian territory, Barack Obama says nothing. But Israel must "reflect on their commitment to peace"?
The daylight that Barack Obama is putting between the U.S. and Israel is a wedge between us and one of our strongest allies, and the only democracy left in the Middle East.
His criticism of Israel has been not only privately between Jewish leaders, and Netanyahu. He has taken his attacks to the world stage at the UN, Amb. Susan Rice gave a speech condemning Israel in language normally reserved for regimes like Qadaffi's Libya, or North Korea. Obama in his UN speech then bluntly called for the "complete cessation of building by any Jews on land 'claimed' by Palestinians", referring to post-1967 Israeli land "Occupied" land, and has said on more than one occassion that "Borders between Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines", a border which nearly every military and middle east expert has called "indefensible" for Israel, and would virtually guarantee continuous attacks on Israel from the Golan Heights. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also criticized the building of settlements, including the ones in E-1 of N. Jerusalem. Hillary is another of Obama's Administration who has been seen as less-than-friendly to Israel, famously embracing the wife of Yasser Arafat during a meeting, and once calling Bill Clinton campaign staffer "You f**king Jew bastard!" after Bill lost a run for Congress. Friend of Israel?
Later, at the G20 Summit, Obama and Nikolas Sarkozy were overheard saying of Netanyahu:
Sarkozy: "I can't stand him anymore. He's a liar."
Obama: "You may be sick of him, but I have to deal with him every day."
Ah. with friends like these...
Obama Administration appointees have also been sent out to criticize Israel, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who called Israel and "ungrateful ally".
Obama has also been quick to blame Israel for the killing of 9 terrorists onboard a Turkish ship, which was sent for the express purpose of breaking a blockade of ships supplying arms to Palestinians in Gaza. When Israeli troops boarded the ship, they were immediately attacked by Islamist militants, and the Israeli's killed nine of the terrorists. Condemnation of Israel was immediate, with the Obama Administration piling on in the criticism. An investigation revealed that the Islamists had planned the attack and that the Israeli's were justified in their actions by self-defense. There has been no retraction by the Obama Administration of its condemnation.
That the Obama Administration has a strained relationship with our longtime ally is not debatable. I would call it outright hostile, and have little trouble believing that Obama would love to see Netanyahu weakened in Israeli politics, and that he might even try to use the bully-pulpit to affect voters in Israel, while once-again sending not-so-subtle indications to Iran and the rest of the Arab world that his support of Israel is not so strong as he leads U.S. voters to believe in his campaign speeches.
Ultimately, I don't expect that Netanyahu and the Likud Party will have any problem holding onto, or even increasing their hold on power due to Obama's criticisms. What his attacks do do is to provide one more piece to the growing evidence of the Obama Administration's hostility to Israel and the Jewish people.
Likud accuses Obama of 'interference' in elections
By GIL HOFFMAN, HERB KEINON01/15/2013 23:07
Senior Likud officials charge US president with leaking sharp criticism of Netanyahu to media in order to sway votes.
Senior Likud officials accused US President Barack Obama on Tuesday of leaking sharp criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s leadership to columnist Jeffrey Goldberg in order to sway voters in next Tuesday’s election.
Goldberg quoted Obama in a Bloomberg piece as having said privately that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”
A sharp critic himself of Netanyahu and the country’s settlement policies, Goldberg wrote that “with each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near isolation.”