Sheldon Adelson is correct to question Obama’s love for Israel

Sheldon Adelson has said outright what many Jews do (or should) suspect:  Obama doesn’t love Israel as much as he says he does.  In a Jewish Journal post, Adelson does a good job assembling a damning list of facts, all of which indicate that, if Obama didn’t keep saying “Oooh, I love Israel,” most reasonable people would think that he hates Israel:

Time and again President Obama has signaled a lack of sympathy—or even outright hostility—toward Israel. Not long ago he was caught on an open microphone agreeing with French President Sarkozy’s slurring of the Israeli prime minister. And then there was his public snubbing of the Israeli leader’s request to discuss Iran during a recent U.S. visit, a measure Reuters termed “a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally.”


Think about Obama’s anti-Israel friends and mentors—radicals like Rashid Khalidi, Frank Marshall Davis, Jeremiah Wright, or the late Edward Said, the virulently anti-Israel professor under whom Obama studied. Has he made anti-Israel promises to them? Is Obama’s campaign rhetoric in support of Israel only creating “space” till after the election?


Let’s also not forget, when Obama took office, he admitted his administration sought to put “daylight” between America and Israel. He lectured that the Jewish state needed “to engage in serious self-reflection” about peace—as if tiny Israel has not spent decades pursuing peace with its belligerent neighbors. And unbelievably, in his 2009 address to the Muslim world, he implied a moral equivalence between the Holocaust and Palestinian dislocation.

Given the space constraints of an op-ed Adelson wisely focuses on Obama’s most recent rebuffs to the State of Israel.  If he’d had more room, Adelson could easily have demonstrated that Obama’s attitude towards Israel, which floats between cavalier, dishonest, and outright hostile, goes back to a time long before his presidency.  Very early in his candidacy, for example, Obama was unable to make the straightforward statement that he approves of Israel and thinks that its cause is just.  The best he could do was to compare Israel to a constant “wound” or “sore” that “infects” American foreign policy.  That was in early 2008 and, trust me, as a Jew who believes that Israel deserves an equal place among democratic nations, I wasn’t feeling the love.

Then, in May 2008, Obama insisted that “…nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti-Semitism than I have.”  Savvy writers pointed out that a few people — maybe Elie Wiesel or Simon Wiesenthal or Alan Dershowitz — might have been a bit more vocal than Obama.  Really savvy people, though, noticed that, even if one puts aside the Wiesels, Wiesenthals, and Dershowitzs, it becomes apparent that everyone who isn’t an Israel hater has spoken out more fiercely than Obama.

Thus, in May 2008, there was nothing in Obama’s known history bespeaking any support whatsoever for Israel or opposition to antisemitism.  Instead, as Adelson noted, Obama seemed to spend an awful time palling around with those Israel-haters and anti-Semites.  (And don’t we all wonder what’s in that video the Los Angeles Times has buried in its vaults, in which Obama parties with a bunch of ardent anti-Israel Palestinians and their socialist friends?) Perhaps Obama believed back then that keeping his silence around Jew-haters constituted a fierce opposition. Sadly, even when Obama purported during his candidacy to support Jews (for example, by backing an undivided Jerusalem) he was unable to sustain that philosemitic attitude for even twenty-four hours.

Once elected, within the first month of his presidency, Obama acted with remarkable speed to damage Israel’s security.  Caroline Glick detailed his unfriendly conduct:

SINCE IT came into office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been antithetical to Israel’s national security interests. From President Barack Obama’s intense desire to appease Iran’s mullahs in open discussions; to his stated commitment to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible despite the Palestinians’ open rejection of Israel’s right to exist and support for terrorism; to his expressed support for the so-called Saudi peace plan, which would require Israel to commit national suicide by contracting to within indefensible borders and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as citizens and residents of the rump Jewish state; to his decision to end US sanctions against Syria and return the US ambassador to Damascus; to his plan to withdraw US forces from Iraq and so give Iran an arc of uninterrupted control extending from Iran to Lebanon, every single concrete policy Obama has enunciated harms Israel.

And that was just in the first month.

Obama’s pile-up against Israel continued with unabated fury, including the cold shoulder he’s invariably turned to Netanyahu, as the Israeli Prime Minister tries desperately to avert another Holocaust; the insulting way Hillary dressed down Netanyahu; to the extreme stances Obama took against Israel (trying to reinstate the 1947 lines; insisting on the cessation of building within Jewish parts of Jerusalem); and the slow de-funding of America’s traditional support for her staunch and long-term Middle Eastern ally.  Here’s Adelson again:

Obama’s supporters tell us there’s nothing to worry about. He can be trusted, they say, because of his record of military aid to Israel and his support for sanctions against Iran.

But the aid was committed in programs that began decades before his presidency under previous administrations. He cannot rightly take credit for this aid in the sense of initiating it, just as he cannot take credit for merely signing pro-Israel legislation that had bipartisan congressional support.

Moreover, Obama’s campaign never mentions that in the past few years his budgets have proposed significant cuts in US-Israel missile defense funds—from $121.7mil to $99.8mil, a substantial slash. And just ask Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak or Poland’s Lech Walesa about Obama’s reliability because of past military aid.

Even worse, the Iranian sanctions contain loopholes that, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, “you could drive a warhead through.” All 20 of Iran’s major trading partners enjoy sanction exemptions. They won’t stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaking of that de-funding, it must be fun to be Peter Beinart, the idiot savant of the Left.  (Okay, I’m being generous with the “savant” part, but I don’t want to get too mean in this article.)  After having read Adelson’s editorial piece, Beinart took to his bully pulpit at the Daily Beast to explain why Adelson just doesn’t get it when it comes to Obama’s love for Israel (emphasis mine):

Sheldon Adelson has an oped out attacking Barack Obama for his “lack of sympathy—or even outright hostility—toward Israel,” the country toward which Obama has helped direct more money and military support than any of his predecessors.

Apparently Beinart missed the part where Adelson noted that, while the Obama administration has continue sending Israel money, that’s only because of previously existing policies and currently existing legislative support.  None of this originated with Obama, and Israel’s supporters are constantly worried that he’s got yet another executive order on his desk, this one cutting off all aid to Israel, while simultaneously pumping up by tens of millions the money he pours into Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

In this way, Obama is distinct from, say, Richard Nixon, who was fairly open about his dislike for Jews, but nevertheless acted swiftly and with tremendous resolve to support Israel during the Yom Kippur war in 1973.  Nixon apparently had a better understand than Obama did of the difference between personal preferences and public policy.  The same praise can go to Harry Truman, who was also an open anti-Semite, but who understood that supporting Israel’s creation was the right thing to do.

Beinart has nothing but disdain for Adelson’s position:  What a small thinker Adelson is!  How dare he question Obama’s sophisticated wisdom in punishing Israel for being imperfect!?

It’s typical of the infantile “does he really love us” conversation that overtakes the American Jewish community every four years around election time. I actually think Obama has a lot of sympathy for a particular strain of Zionism and Jewish identity (just not the strain that Adelson admires). But even if he didn’t, even if Obama finds the melody to Hatikva tedious and considers cholent gastronomically offensive, what  matters more is whether he—and we—believe that Israel is better off trying to create a viable Palestinian state or not. Whatever his flaws, Obama is forthright on the subject. Mitt Romney—and now Sheldon Adelson—are not.

Incidentally, if you have the patience to real Beinart’s fact-free vitriol, you’ll discover that he contends that Adelson’s thinking is “infantile” because Adelson believes Obama ought to support Israel’s democratically elected government.  In Beinart’s universe, only Obama has the maturity to realize that Israel’s path to freedom lies in open-ended negotiations with a terrorist entity that has as its central platform Israel’s complete destruction.  And only Obama has the wisdom to understand that the only way for these negotiations to proceed is for Israel to agree in advance to shrink her borders, give up half of her capital and, no doubt, grant a right of return that would instantly render Jews a minority in their own country.

Sheldon Adelson is absolutely correct when he questions Obama’s purported love for Israel.  Nothing Obama has said or done, none of his friends, and none of his political ideologies bespeak either a fondness for or an understanding of this little democracy, stranded amongst a sea of totalitarian, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic Islamic fiefdoms.