Thursday, June 04, 2015

Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:


This past week Barack Obama laid bare the pincer maneuver he is executing against Israel. As he explained it in an interview with Ilana Dayan on Israeli TV, he intends to squeeze Israel between a nuclear Iran and a terrorist base next door to Tel Aviv.

The precise nature of the Iranian threat is important for understanding Obama’s strategy. Although one can’t completely discount the possibility, Iranian officials have been relatively honest when they say that they don’t intend to nuke us: they would prefer to see us wiped off the map conventionally by their non-state proxies. The bomb will primarily be used to threaten the Sunni states and as a deterrent against Israel’s option to (in the words of the previous Saudi king), cut off the head of the Iranian snake.

Thus, a) providing Iran with its nuclear backstop, while b) empowering the PLO and Hamas, and c) increasing Israel’s vulnerability to terrorism and conventional attack by reducing its strategic depth, is the perfect three-point strategy for finally achieving the goal that Yasser Arafat dedicated his life to, ending the Jewish state.

Obama told Dayan that Israel is behaving immorally in its actions toward the Palestinian Arabs, that he sees it as his personal duty to change this, that PM Netanyahu’s negotiating positions are unrealistic and disingenuous, and that he intends to change the traditional American position: the US will no longer insist on a bilateral agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but will support a UN-imposed Palestinian state.

It is interesting that the Palestinian issue is so important to him, that he feels the need to help Palestinian children so deeply, when (for example) there is ongoing rape, abuse and murder of children on a massive scale in much of Africa.

It is interesting that he can brush aside Netanyahu’s reasonable conditions — for security and the need for a commitment to end the conflict — but that maximalist Palestinian demands are treated as non-negotiable.

And his remarks about the Iran deal are interesting too. For the first time, he admits that the military option is off the table:
I can, I think, demonstrate — not based on any hope, but on facts and evidence and analysis — that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement.  A military solution will not fix it, even if the United States participates. It would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program, but it will not eliminate it.
So much for leverage! The deal that he is making is apparently neither tough nor verifiable, as the French Foreign Minister has recently noted, not to mention Israel’s PM. It won’t stop Iran or even slow her progress very much. What it will do is to criminalize an Israeli attack while ending sanctions and freeing up tens of billions of frozen Iranian dollars to fund its aggression.

While military action won’t rule out the possibility that some day Iran could reconstruct its program, there are persuasive arguments that it could delay it for a good long time — and who knows what might happen in the interim?

Obama isn’t prepared to take that chance. His alliance with the expanding Shiite caliphate is too important, which is also why he made a joke of American red lines to protect Iranian lackey Bashar al-Assad.

While he will do whatever it takes to help the “Palestinian youth in Ramallah who feels [his] possibilities constrained by the status quo,” he is able to abandon the Syrian child choking his chlorine-gas filled lungs out, or even the barrel-bombed Palestinians in Yarmouk.

But if it isn’t children and it isn’t Palestinians, it isn’t Shiites either. After all, he is still miffed at Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt. Now what could the Ikhwan possibly have in common with the Iranian mullahs? Not much, except the desire to destroy Israel.

The enemy of Obama’s enemy is his friend, and he seems determined to make friends of all of Israel’s enemies, even if they turn out, like Iran and the Brotherhood, to be deadly enemies of the United States too.

Irrational? Perhaps, but not surprising. It’s the same irrational current that drives academics and liberal church groups to say “you have to start somewhere” when asked why, with all of the real oppression and occupation in the world, they choose Israel to boycott. It’s the same force that caused Hitler to divert Reichsbahn trains to carry Jews to death camps instead of supplies to his beleaguered troops at Stalingrad.

In another recent interview, Obama made the silly and ahistorical statement that antisemitism doesn’t cause national leaders to make irrational decisions when stakes are high.

Clearly untrue. But maybe the truth would have hit too close to home?


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