Reaction to the administration’s war of words against the Israeli government is starting to come in. The ADL, which rarely weighs in publicly on such matters and even more rarely chastises an American president, blasted the Obama administration with a statement declaring:
We are shocked and stunned at the Administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem. We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States. One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table.
It is especially troubling that this harsh statement came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly and privately explained to Vice President Biden the bureaucratic nature in making the announcement of proposed new building in Jerusalem, and Biden accepted the prime minister’s apology for it. Therefore, to raise the issue again in this way is a gross overreaction to a point of policy difference among friends.
The Administration should have confidence and trust in Israel whose tireless pursuit for peace is repeatedly rebuffed by the Palestinians and whose interests remain in line with the United States.
Other Jewish organizations have yet to weigh in, although it is Shabbat, and in any event, many will want to take the temperature of their members. Nevertheless, it seems inconceivable that Jewish organizations can remain silent in the face of this unprecedented offensive by the administration. Silence on this one is complicity.
One Congressman has already weighed in. Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) today issued the following statement:
“I call on President Obama to censure Secretary Clinton’s rebuke of Prime Minister Netanyahu and reaffirm our longstanding friendship with Israel. Past U.S. administrations have recognized the unique relationship between Israel and the United States and made support for Israel a cornerstone of our foreign policy. The United States has a moral and strategic obligation to support this beacon of democracy in the Middle East. For the Obama administration to question the internal decisions of one of our closest allies is both disrespectful and unhelpful. Prime Minister Netanyahu has the authority and responsibility to care for the people of Israel, and it is inappropriate for Secretary Clinton to openly question these decisions. I hope her statements do not weaken the vital U.S.-Israel relationship. Any attempt to cut or restrict military aid to Israel by the administration would severely damage both U.S. and Israeli security. And any effort to cut aid would lead to fierce resistance in Congress.”
Well, let’s be clear — this comes straight from the White House. As the media reported, a special point was made to convey the president’s anger over the situation. Things have certainly gotten out of hand. Let’s see how long it takes the White House to begin to walk this back. After all, to what end are all the angry words and attacks? Certainly no proximity talks are imaginable under such circumstances, at least not ones in which there is any plausible purpose. There is nothing to be gained by the administration and much to be lost by keeping this up.