Commentary Magazine


Evenhanded? Not a Chance

The Obama administration and its sycophantic spinners explain the dramatic shift in U.S. tone toward and treatment of Israel as an effort to be more “evenhanded” and to assume the role of “honest broker.” As events unfold, it becomes more apparent day by day that this is simply bunk. We are not seeing “evenhandedness” but one-sidedness. The only country receiving a daily barrage of public and private complaints and insults is Israel.

Contrast the administration’s repeated finger-wagging at Ambassador Michael Oren over individual housing issues with its utter silence on this issue:

According to Israeli, United Nations and Hezbollah officials, the Shiite Muslim militia is stronger than it was in 2006 when it took on the Israeli army in a war that killed 1,191 Lebanese and 43 Israeli civilians.

Hezbollah has up to 40,000 rockets and is training its forces to use ground-to-ground missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv, and anti-aircraft missiles that could challenge Israel’s dominance of the skies over Lebanon.

Brigadier-General Alon Friedman, the deputy head of the Israeli Northern Command, told The Times from his headquarters overlooking the Israeli-Lebanese border that the peace of the past three years could “explode at any minute.”

And what about the hate-filled textbooks that remain in use in Saudi Arabia? Earlier this year, Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner implored Hillary Clinton to undertake a review of the books that, as Weiner explained, still teach ”young students that Jews should be killed, that Muslims who convert, question, or doubt Islam must repent or be killed, and that parents have the right to force their children into marriages against their will.” I don’t recall Obama or Clinton dragging in the Saudi ambassador to lecture him on the need to put a halt to this.

We then have the debacle of Iran. The administration bestows legitimacy on Ahmadinejad and is mute on the show trials of dissidents. It seems the Iranian kangaroo courts deserve more respect than an Israeli court (which ruled against Palestinians who had broken the terms of their leases).

The notion that we are now assuming a posture of neutrality and greater objectivity with regard to the Middle East is belied by a clear and unmistakable pattern of behavior. (We leave for another time the argument that such equivalence is unjustified and morally defective, but at this point evenhandedness would be a vast improvement.) What we have is a uniform course of conduct — from the attempted appointment of Chas Freeman, to the fractured history and bias of the Cairo speech, to the obsession with settlements, to the award for Mary Robinson — to identify the U.S. with the pro-Palestinian propaganda line and to distance ourselves from and turn up the heat on our ally Israel. Let’s be honest: “Evenhandedness” is a lie. This is anti-Israel bias pure and simple.