First Pro-Israel Administration
By Daniel Greenfield
May 17, 2018
After Hamas terrorists kidnapped and murdered three Israel
teens (one of them Israeli-American), Barack Obama urged Israel not to
“destabilize the situation.”
Secretary of State John Kerry warned that, “The
perpetrators must be brought to justice... without destabilizing the
situation.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told, "Both
sides to exercise restraint and avoid the types of steps that could destabilize
When Hezbollah terrorists opened fire on Israeli villages
and took two the bodies of two Israeli soldiers as hostages, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice insisted, "All sides must act with restraint to resolve
this incident peacefully." When Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit, another
urged Israel to "Calm the situation, not to let the situation escalate
and give diplomacy a chance to work.”
After the latest attacks by Iran and Hamas, the EU, the UK,
France, Germany and China called on Israel to exercise “restraint”. "We
continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint," the UK's Alistair
Burt insisted. France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian demanded that Israel, "Act
with caution and restraint in the use of force, which must be strictly
Belgium called Israel’s ambassador in to browbeat her for
defending her own country.
White House, the media demanded that deputy press secretary Raj Shah issue
some sort of call for “restraint”. Instead Shah made it clear, "Hamas
"Does the U.S. not agree with the French, that Israeli
authorities should exercise discretion and restraint?" NBC News' Peter
Shah once again pointed out that it was a Hamas attack.
"So there's no responsibility beyond that on the
Israeli authorities? Kill at will?" the frustrated NBC News hack barked.
What he and the rest of the media wanted was for Trump to stop Israel from
That was what “restraint” had always meant. And the
same game had been played by every administration. Israel would respond to a
terrorist attack. And then there would be immediate calls for restraint. That
code word meant that Israel had to immediately stop fighting back against the
At the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley put the
restraint meme to bed. “No country in this chamber would act with more
restraint than Israel has," she said.
The meeting had been called by Kuwait's ambassador. The
Muslim country's response to Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein
during the Gulf War had been to ethnically cleanse 200,000 of them.
In response to an upsurge in Muslim violence, China banned
beards and burqas, ordered Muslim storekeepers to sell liquor and warned against
children attending Koran classes.
"The records of several countries here today suggest
they would be much less restrained," Haley added.
All administration, even those of Jimmy Carter and Barack
Obama, had claimed to be pro-Israel. But for the first time ever, there was an
actual pro-Israel administration. There have been pro-Israel presidents before,
but their campaign convictions never translated into White House policy. Walled
in by their advisers, Republicans would end up with a foreign policy barely
distinguishable from Democrats.
President Trump is the first pro-Israel president who
actually has a pro-Israel policy. This is the first administration to have a
pro-Israel Secretary of State, National Security Adviser and UN Ambassador.
And so it’s the first administration that actually means
what it says.
The embassy move, the upending of the Iran nuke scam and
the refusal to condemn Israel for fighting Hamas are examples of this incredible
new phenomenon in the often tawdry history of foreign policy.
A pro-Israel administration isn’t measured by the size of
its foreign aid. The financial barometer that politicians love to use is often
just a kickback to politically connected American companies. Being pro-Israel
doesn’t mean money. It means letting Israel protect its borders and people
Being pro-Israel is not calling for restraint. It’s not
demanding a proportionate response. (Which would mean that Israeli soldiers
should throw firebombs into Gaza while trying to stab Hamas supporters.) It’s
not fighting wars for Israel (which we’ve never done), but allowing
Israel to fight its own wars.
Pro-Israel is respect.
If you respect a country, you don’t second guess its
self-defense or tell it where its capital is.
During the Obama years, Hillary Clinton had bragged that
she was the "designated yeller". One time, she yelled at the Israeli
Prime Minister for 45 minutes after the Jerusalem municipality approved one
stage of a possible housing plan while Biden was in the country.
It’s a sure bet that Secretary of State Pompeo hasn’t
spent 45 minutes yelling at Netanyahu.
Forget all the policy details. Forget Jerusalem, Hamas, the
Green Line and Iran’s nuclear program. When your diplomatic relationship is
defined by yelling over the phone at Israel, that’s not pro-Israel. The
contempt and hostility in the style of that relationship reflected the substance
of the relationship.
And the mutual respect of the relationship style under
Trump also reflects its deeper substance.
There’s a very good reason for that.
Democrat and Republican administrations chased stability by
appeasing terrorists and pressuring Israel to show restraint and not
“destabilize” matters by fighting terrorism. That was followed by demands
for a diplomatic solution which the establishment claimed would bring stability
to the region.
Every previous administration treated Israel as the
problem. And that made it impossible for them to be pro-Israel. If you view a
country as the problem, your relationship to it will be the “designated
Trump isn’t a stability guy. He knows the power of
creative chaos. Stability is the coat that a failed establishment uses to hide
its lack of imagination. Instead he dumped the Iran deal and moved the embassy
to Jerusalem because he wants results and isn’t interested in the
establishment’s status quo.
That’s why he can be pro-Israel.
The obsession with stability eventually turned every
administration against Israel. Every terror attack and Israeli response created
crises that previous administrations would stabilize with meaningless truces and
worthless deals that rewarded the terrorists and punished Israel. And that kept
the violence going.
President Trump however knows that forcing a crisis can
actually lead to a resolution. That’s what he did in North Korea. His
predecessors were more willing to go to war than face a diplomatic crisis. They
were told by their advisers that instability was an even greater threat than war
and that as the leaders of a superpower, they were geopolitical managers tasked
with maintaining stability around the world.
Our enemies became used to employing chaos to threaten
stability. But Trump showed North Korea that he could be a bigger and scarier
chaos agent. Iran is using Hamas to unleash chaos, but it doesn’t understand
that Trump can ride bigger probability waves than its virgin-seeking suicide
The Trump revolution blew out stale lies for harsh truths.
Trump enjoys the thrill of a crisis and isn’t afraid to throw a punch. His
predecessors thought like managers while he thinks like an insurgent. They saw a
crisis as a threat to order. Trump sees a crisis as an opportunity to achieve a
Unlike his predecessors, Trump is willing to let Israel do
what it needs to do. And see what emerges from the crisis. That’s why so much
of the foreign policy establishment panicked when he came on the scene.
Left to their own devices, the foreign policy establishment
would be demanding, “restraint” from Israel. But Trump neither demands nor
exercises restraint. He knows, what so many in America and Israel have
forgotten, that you don’t win through restraint, but by doing what you need to
do to win.
The motto of the 2016 campaign was, “Let Trump be Trump.” Trump’s approach for now has been to, “Let Israel be Israel.”