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Contentions

A 2012 Preview

Obama’s assault on Israel is drawing fire from potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates. Sarah Palin (who, as I’ve written quite a bit about, had a rocky start with American Jews) is out with a lengthly statement, pointing out the contrast between Obama’s outreach to despotic regimes and our treatment of Israel, which reads, in part:

Last October, Secretary of State Clinton recognized Israel’s desire for peace in the Middle East and praised Israel’s “unprecedented” concessions for agreeing to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, a concession that did NOT include halting construction of apartments for Jews in Jerusalem. Even last week after planned construction was announced, Vice President Biden still expressed “appreciation” for the “significant” steps taken by the Israeli government to address this minor issue. Now, however, we see the Obama Administration has decided to escalate, make unilateral demands of Israel, and threaten the very foundation of the US-Israel relationship. This is quickly leading to the worst crisis in US-Israel relations in decades, and yet this did not have to happen. More importantly, it needs to stop before it spirals out of control. Vice President Biden should rein in the overheated Obama Administration rhetoric and chill the political spin masters’ fire as they visit the Sunday media shows to criticize Israel.

Mitt Romney’s spokesman e-mails me: “Governor Romney believes that President Obama spends way too much time placating our enemies while undermining our friends. Israel is one of our greatest allies, and has made many concessions for peace over the years, yet the Obama administration exerts pressure on Israel to stop its settlements while putting almost no pressure on the Palestinians.”

It is, as the two Republicans point out, all of a piece. The Obami have, as Palin puts it, reached out “to some of the world’s worst regimes in the name of their engagement policy,” and averted their eyes to violations of UN agreements and to gross human-rights abuses. It took days for Obama to speak out in the wake of the June 12 Iranian election, and even then only in tepid terms. Yet, with the announcement of a housing complex in Jerusalem, all guns are blazing from the West Wing. We can expect to hear more from those Republicans eyeing 2012 on this subject. It is frankly both good policy and good politics to take on the Obama foreign-policy trainwreck.



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