Commentary Magazine


Topic: Jorge Sampaio

The Limits of Charm

Obama’s “charm offensive” to the American Jewish community is underway, but the reality of the administration’s approach to Israel can’t be thoroughly disguised. The AP reports:

The Obama administration is preparing to join an international advisory group that the United States generally has shunned due to fears it would adopt anti-Israeli and anti-Western positions, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The officials told The Associated Press the administration plans to announce as early as this week that it will begin a formal relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations. … The Bush administration boycotted the group when it was founded in 2005 over because it feared the group would become a forum for bashing Israel and the United States. Those concerns were magnified a year later when the alliance released a report that officials in Washington said unfairly blamed Israel and the United States for many of the world’s problems.

But the Obama administration assures us that this is all in the past. The Obama team, in its unending quest to accommodate and cozy up to the Muslim World, is convinced that the group has reformed:

The officials said earlier fears about the “imbalances” in the group, which was set up by Spain and Turkey, had been dealt with after the United States expressed “serious concerns” about the 2006 report.

That report focused on the Middle East and identified Israel’s “disproportionate retaliatory actions in Gaza and Lebanon” as a main cause of Muslim-Western tension.

The officials said the administration had been assured by its current leader, former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, that it would take a “more positive” approach to its work.

Needless to say, Israel isn’t joining up. And if the group — like the Human Right Council, which the U.S. joined ostensibly to engage the Israel-bashers — continues its anti-Israel tirades, will the Obama team leave? No, I don’t think so either.

One wonders: when the administration reveals its “charm offensive” as mere window dressing on the same policy, why doesn’t American Jewish officialdom speak out? One savvy critic wrote earlier this year:

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, whose fidelity financial and electoral all Dem administrations can and do take fully for granted, American Jewry is in a quandary right now. It’s mostly private, as its quandaries usually are when it comes to the sins of Dem presidents against American Jews and the Jewish State. As if failing to do their duty to the Party were akin to rising up in rebellion against kaiser or czar and inviting the unleashing of Cossack fury against them, the Jews who ought to have something to say about the ill wind blowing toward Israel from Mr. Obama’s office are passing their whispered worries from one to another: “Oy! What should we do? Oy! What should we say? Is it enough that X is saying something? Can we hide behind that? Do we have to say something, too? Oy!”

But American Jewish “leaders” are busy now — cooing over the Jewish Supreme Court nominee. All is well with the administration, we are told — they like us, they really like us! Let’s see what happens when the next anti-Israel missive emanates from one of the groups the Obama team insisted on joining.

Obama’s “charm offensive” to the American Jewish community is underway, but the reality of the administration’s approach to Israel can’t be thoroughly disguised. The AP reports:

The Obama administration is preparing to join an international advisory group that the United States generally has shunned due to fears it would adopt anti-Israeli and anti-Western positions, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The officials told The Associated Press the administration plans to announce as early as this week that it will begin a formal relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations. … The Bush administration boycotted the group when it was founded in 2005 over because it feared the group would become a forum for bashing Israel and the United States. Those concerns were magnified a year later when the alliance released a report that officials in Washington said unfairly blamed Israel and the United States for many of the world’s problems.

But the Obama administration assures us that this is all in the past. The Obama team, in its unending quest to accommodate and cozy up to the Muslim World, is convinced that the group has reformed:

The officials said earlier fears about the “imbalances” in the group, which was set up by Spain and Turkey, had been dealt with after the United States expressed “serious concerns” about the 2006 report.

That report focused on the Middle East and identified Israel’s “disproportionate retaliatory actions in Gaza and Lebanon” as a main cause of Muslim-Western tension.

The officials said the administration had been assured by its current leader, former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, that it would take a “more positive” approach to its work.

Needless to say, Israel isn’t joining up. And if the group — like the Human Right Council, which the U.S. joined ostensibly to engage the Israel-bashers — continues its anti-Israel tirades, will the Obama team leave? No, I don’t think so either.

One wonders: when the administration reveals its “charm offensive” as mere window dressing on the same policy, why doesn’t American Jewish officialdom speak out? One savvy critic wrote earlier this year:

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, whose fidelity financial and electoral all Dem administrations can and do take fully for granted, American Jewry is in a quandary right now. It’s mostly private, as its quandaries usually are when it comes to the sins of Dem presidents against American Jews and the Jewish State. As if failing to do their duty to the Party were akin to rising up in rebellion against kaiser or czar and inviting the unleashing of Cossack fury against them, the Jews who ought to have something to say about the ill wind blowing toward Israel from Mr. Obama’s office are passing their whispered worries from one to another: “Oy! What should we do? Oy! What should we say? Is it enough that X is saying something? Can we hide behind that? Do we have to say something, too? Oy!”

But American Jewish “leaders” are busy now — cooing over the Jewish Supreme Court nominee. All is well with the administration, we are told — they like us, they really like us! Let’s see what happens when the next anti-Israel missive emanates from one of the groups the Obama team insisted on joining.

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