Well, the floodgates might not be wide open yet, but the drip, drip of criticism from Jewish organizations is starting. The ADL releases the following statement from Abe Foxman concerning Obama’s new approach to Israel:
The significant shift in U.S. policy toward Israel and the peace process, which has been evident in comments from various members of the Obama Administration and has now been confirmed by the president himself in his press conference at the Nuclear Security Summit, is deeply distressing. Saying that the absence of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines U.S. interests in the broader Middle East and the larger issue of resolving other conflicts is a faulty strategy. It is an incorrect approach on which to base America’s foreign policy in the Middle East and its relationship with its longtime friend and ally, Israel.
ADL has long expressed its concern from the very beginning of the Obama Administration about advisers to the president who see the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a major impediment to achieving the administration’s foreign policy and military goals in the wider region. The net effect of this dangerous thinking is to shift responsibility for success of American foreign policy away from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and directly onto Israel. It is particularly disturbing in light of the blatantly disproportionate number and the nature of statements issued by this administration criticizing Israel as compared to what has been said about the Palestinians.
The best way to move the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians forward is for all parties to demand that the Palestinians abandon their tactic of “just saying no” and insist that the rest of the Arab world move toward normalization relations with Israel.
Obama, by choosing to acknowledge the obvious — that he sees the U.S.-Israel relationship in fundamentally different terms than his predecessors — has allowed Jewish leaders to do the same. The notion that American Jewish leaders are buying access or influence with the Obami by staying mum has been blown to smithereens. It has only, it seems, emboldened the president to turn up the heat on Bibi and pursue his turn toward the “Muslim World.”
Obama last year said Middle East diplomacy was lacking honesty — that we should say in public and private what we mean. That’s good advice for American Jewish leaders — be honest, be clear, and be emphatic. Obama’s not hiding his contempt for Bibi, for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and for Jewish American leaders. They should be equally uncensored in their views of his policies. We’ll see if others follow Lauder and Foxman.