Tom Friedman, man of the New York Times, writes to assure American Jews that Obama is no threat whatsoever to Israel’s security. His column is a nasty little piece of work, not for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. It opens with a series of scare quotations purported from Barack Obama, all about the tragedy of the Palestinians, the two state solution and the need for Israel to turn over the territories it captured in the 1967 War. Then Friedman says, “Surprise! George Bush really said all that.” If you love George Bush, he implies, you’re going to love Obama.
Friedman also draws a few overarching conclusions from those Bush scare quotes, all of which are wrong to one degree or another:
What does that tell you? It tells me several things. The first is that America today has — rightly — a bipartisan approach to Arab-Israeli peace that is not going to change no matter who becomes our next president. [Well, it’s going to have to change because the history of the last eight years — no, make that the last 16 years — has shown that the bipartisan approach doesn’t work. The parties’ goals are too different. Israel wants peace and a two-party state (if the latter will get that piece); the Arabs want the destruction of the Jewish state and the death of all Jews. Not a lot of negotiating room between those two poles.] America, whether under a Republican or Democratic administration, is now committed to a two-state solution in which the Palestinians get back the West Bank, Gaza and Arab parts of East Jerusalem, and Israel gives back most of the settlements in the West Bank, offsetting those it does not evacuate with land from Israel. [See my comment above. The two-state solution was tried in the 20s when the League of Nations created Tran-Jordan, which was to be the Arab State. It was tried in the 40s, when the UN took the Jewish half of that 1920s effort and halved it again. Apparently the two state solution means that you constantly cut the Jewish state in half until it doesn’t exist any more.]
Of course, the above blather is just Friedman’s throat clearing. The real reason Obama will be better for Israel is that Arabs will like him and be more inclined to bargain with him:
But what matters a lot more is that under Mr. Bush, America today is neither feared nor respected nor liked in the Middle East, and that his lack of an energy policy for seven years has left Israel’s enemies and America’s enemies — the petro-dictators and the terrorists they support — stronger than ever. The rise of Iran as a threat to Israel today is directly related to Mr. Bush’s failure to succeed in Iraq and to develop alternatives to oil.
It doesn’t seem to occur to Friedman that Arabs like Obama better because they think he’ll give them a better deal than they’ve gotten so far. That is, it’s not about respect, it’s about the perception that he’s a pushover. I wonder what could have given them that idea?
Could it be that Jeremiah Wright, his now-jettisoned spiritual adviser, is openly antisemitic? Could it be that Samantha Power, his now-jettisoned foreign policy adviser, was openly hostile to Israel? Could it be because Robert Malley, another now-jettisoned foreign policy adviser, engaged in talks with Hamas, a group dedicated to Israel’s complete and total destruction? Could it be because Obama thinks it’s totally okay for the U.S. President to put his prestige on the line to talk to Ahmadinejad without preconditions, even though that puts a U.S. imprimatur on Ahmadinejad’s domestic and foreign policies, legitimizes someone whose primary dream is the nuclear destruction of Israel, and raises the distinct possibility that Obama will be forced into some very unpleasant concessions to save face? Could it be because Obama has shown himself to be singularly uninformed about history and the nature of interactions with tyrants? Could it be because Obama, with his statement about Iran’s “small” size, has shown himself to be profoundly unaware of the nature of asymmetrical warfare? He seems unclear on the concept that, if airplanes into the Twin Towers really upset Americans, a nuclear bomb in Seattle will upset them even more.
Somehow Friedman never answers those questions. Heck, he never even asks those questions. The one thing Friedman does is imply that Jews who care about Israel’s security are un-American:
Personally, as an American Jew, I don’t vote for president on the basis of who will be the strongest supporter of Israel. I vote for who will make America strongest. It’s not only because this is my country, first and always, but because the single greatest source of support and protection for Israel is an America that is financially and militarily strong, and globally respected. Nothing would imperil Israel more than an enfeebled, isolated America.
In fact, nothing would enfeeble America more than to treat as an equal partner the worst kind of genocidal tyrant — a man who has blood on his hands from 29 years ago, who is overseeing the development of nuclear weapons, who has threatened the complete destruction of another nation state, and who is imprisoning his own people in a theocratic Hell.
I used to read these types of articles in the Times and think the writers were foolish or naive. I simply can’t hold to that view any more. These are people who are deliberately twisting and hiding the truth to advance an agenda that would destroy the only liberal democracy in the entire Middle East and advance the spread and agenda of religious tyrannies whose words and actions make absolutely clear their intent to seek world domination, one Jewish and/or American body at a time (although it would be better if they could use the bomb and do it by the hundreds of thousands). That can’t possibly be in America’s interests. (And as better writers than I have carefully pointed out, if Israel were to go away, the jihadists would still be at our throat, only with renewed vigor, since we’d have shown that we’re weak enough to be destroyed.)