Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, 18 May 2009. Wikipedia.
The Washington Free Beacon recently reported that high-level Obama administration officials had clandestinely met with their cohorts in the State Department to discuss the possibility of introducing sanctions against Israel as a punishment for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to stop ongoing construction of apartment blocks intended for Jews in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to comment on the matter.
If the story is true, U.S-Israeli relations would arguably reach their lowest point since 1956, when the Eisenhower administration attempted to have the UN do the same (after Congress refused) in response to Israel’s joint adventure with Great Britain and France to retake the Suez Canal-which had been nationalized by Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Reactions to the alleged proposal have sparked outrage from members of Congress on both sides of aisle.
The Free Beacon published Friday excerpts of a letter to President Obama formulated by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and 50 of his colleagues:
“We urge you and your administration to clarify these reports immediately… “Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome.”
The letter also stated that the administration has no statutory authority to institute sanctions without the consent of Congress- and that such a measure would never be approved by the latter.
But legal protocol and adherence to the separation of powers as outlined in Articles: I, II & III of the U.S Constitution are trivial details to Obama. And the anti-colonial mindset that many pundits have suggested he inherited from his father, not only takes precedence over any ideas emanating from the founding fathers, but is irrationally directed towards Israel as well.
This type of behavior is even more troubling coming from a president who routinely pays lip service to Israel, while undermining her at every turn. As of late, even the 69 percent of Jewish voters who backed Obama’s re-election are having trouble defending his record on this issue. And while many of them are proud progressives, they simply cannot ignore the blatant disrespect with which the president has treated Netanyahu.
Whether forcing the Prime Minister to exit the White House via the back door early in his Presidency, or more recently harboring a senior administration official who referred to him as a “chickenshit,” Obama has consistency shown utter contempt for Netanyahu. The President has a history of making statements that seem to indicate he believes there is a moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas – a view that few Americans outside of academia share.
Obama’s condemnation of last month’s terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinians, who brutally hacked to death four Jewish worshippers with axes (three of whom were Americans), was widely viewed as weak and ineffective. The President also was careful not to take sides.
“At this difficult time I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and to reject violence,” Obama said.
It would be difficult to imagine either Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush putting a terrorist entity on an equal footing with a democratic nation such as Israel, and few in the media are interested in reporting this fundamental fact: Israel guarantees equal rights to all its citizens regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.
Irrespective of this fact, many continue to make the absurd argument that Israel’s tough policies toward the Palestinians – a people hell bent on her destruction – are somehow similar to the way Afrikaner’s in South Africa treated their black compatriots under Apartheid. In lieu of such a claim, it is not unreasonable to wonder what Obama says about Israel behind closed doors – And whether he would agree with former President Jimmy Carter’s assertion of the same.
But regardless of what Israel is or isn’t, coupled with doubt over whether rumors regarding sanctions prove to be correct, President Obama’s support for Israel is very much in doubt. Whether calling for the Jewish State to return to her pre-1967 borders or being gullible enough to believe that negotiating with Iran will convince the Islamic State to abandon its nuclear enrichment program, this administration has enacted a weak Carteresque foreign policy all across the globe, leaving our friends in a state of uncertainty and emboldening our enemies.
Bryan is a freelance political journalist who has extensive experience covering Congress and Maryland state government.
His work includes coverage of the election of Donald Trump, the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions-as well as that of the Maryland General Assembly, Gov. Larry Hogan, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bryan has broken stories involving athletic and sexual assault scandals with the Baltimore Post-Examiner.
His original UMBC investigation gained international attention, was featured in People Magazine and he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America” and local radio stations. Bryan broke subsequent stories documenting UMBC’s omission of a sexual assault on their daily crime log and a federal investigation related to the university’s handling of an alleged sexual assault.