March 24, 2015
Why do the president and his advisers, when given the choice of how to
interpret Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about a Palestinian
state, choose the one that heightens tensions with Israel? Why the constant refrain
that “We cannot pretend those comments were never made”? Why the inability
to get over the fact that Netanyahu won (and in important respects Obama lost)
the Israeli election? Why not move to repair relations?
Part of the answer is undoubtedly the personal pettiness of Mr. Obama and
his apparently unquenchable hated for the Israeli prime minister. But something
more, something deeper, is going on here, too.
The president is using Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments to achieve an
end he has clearly wanted all along: the weakening of the Jewish state. Mr.
Obama is the product of a progressive milieu, including in the academy, where
hostility to Israel is widespread.
As president, there have been constraints on how much Mr. Obama could do
to undermine Israel. But the president has seized upon comments by Mr. Netanyahu
leading up to the Israeli election to advance his agenda – in this case,
considering reversing decades of U.S. policy by turning to the United Nations to
impose a two-state solution. (This is only one piece in a much larger puzzle.)
For Mr. Obama, the comments by the Israeli prime minister were less an
offense than an opportunity – an opportunity, in the president’s mind, to
put Israel in its place. This explains the unprecedented and unceasing attacks
aimed at Mr. Netanyahu. The president and his White House are galvanized as
never before; they are on a mission.
The fact that the mission itself is terribly misguided and pernicious
doesn’t seem to slow the president down one bit. He is a man in a hurry. And
people who are in a hurry often act recklessly.
Mr. Obama is in the grip of a temper tantrum to be sure. But to focus on
that, rather than the ideological project behind his actions, is to miss the
full picture. Barack Obama is using the last few years of his presidency to
further his left-wing ambitions in all sorts of ways, including inflicting
massive damage on our relations with America’s most reliable ally and one of
the most estimable nations on earth.
For those of us who love America and Israel, this is a sad and shameful
period. It’s one that will thankfully pass — but between now and then, great
and unnecessary harm is being done.