It is extremely unfortunate that the Obama White House has reneged on Bush’s policy of avoiding and not attending the upcoming Durban II conference in Geneva where Israel will be attacked, ostracized and vilified by an international community led by stalwarts of human rights such as the Arab and Muslim nations of the world, as well as their helpmates, NGOs such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.

Whatever has driven the current Administration to revisit this policy and attend the summit, it is probably one of the most shameful decisions it will have made when its tenure is up in 4 or 8 years.

I don’t always agree with Caroline Glick, but she is one smart, sharp writer and political commentator. Her editorial about this decision by the Obama team is powerful and difficult to swallow, perhaps slanted to the right to a degree I reject, but it gives a fair assessment on the meaning of this development. Here is part of it but I suggest you read it all.

SINCE IT came into office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been antithetical to Israel’s national security interests. From President Barack Obama’s intense desire to appease Iran’s mullahs in open discussions; to his stated commitment to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible despite the Palestinians’ open rejection of Israel’s right to exist and support for terrorism; to his expressed support for the so-called Saudi peace plan, which would require Israel to commit national suicide by contracting to within indefensible borders and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as citizens and residents of the rump Jewish state; to his decision to end US sanctions against Syria and return the US ambassador to Damascus; to his plan to withdraw US forces from Iraq and so give Iran an arc of uninterrupted control extending from Iran to Lebanon, every single concrete policy Obama has enunciated harms Israel.

At the same time, none of the policies that Obama has adopted can be construed as directed against Israel. In and of themselves, none can be viewed as expressing specific hostility toward Israel. Rather, they are expressions of naivet̩, or ignorance, or Рat worst Рdeliberate denial of the nature of the problems of the Arab and Islamic world on the part of Obama and his advisers.

The same cannot be said of the administration’s decision to send its delegation to the Durban II planning session this past week in Geneva. Unlike every other Obama policy, this is a hostile act against Israel. This is true first of all because the decision was announced in the face of repeated Israeli requests that the US join Israel and Canada in boycotting the Durban II conference.

Some could chalk up the US’s rejection of Israel’s urgent entreaties as an honest difference of opinion. But what lies behind Israel’s requests for a US boycott is not a partisan agenda, but a clearheaded acknowledgement that the Durban II conference is inherently devoted to the delegitimization and destruction of the Jewish state. And by joining in the planning sessions, the US has become a full participant in legitimizing and so advancing this overtly anti-Jewish agenda.

OBAMA’S SPOKESMEN and defenders claim that by participating in the planning sessions in Geneva, the administration is doing nothing more than attempting to prevent the conference from being the anti-Jewish diplomatic pogrom it was in 2001. If they are unsuccessful, they will boycott the conference. No harm done.

But this claim rings hollow.

As Bayefsky and others argued this week, by entering into the Durban preparatory process, the US has done two things. First, it has made it all but impossible for European states like France, Britain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, which were all considering boycotting the conference, to do so. They cannot afford to be seen as more opposed to its anti-Israel and anti-freedom agenda than Israel’s closest ally and the world’s greatest democracy. So just by participating in the planning sessions the US has legitimized a clearly bigoted, morally illegitimate process, making it impossible for Europe to disengage.

Second, through its behavior at the Geneva planning sessions this week, the US has demonstrated that State Department protestations aside, the administration has no interest in changing the agenda in any serious way. The US delegation’s decision not to object to the Palestinian draft, as well its silence in the face of Iran’s rejection of a clause in the conference declaration that mentioned the Holocaust, show the US did not join the planning session to change the tenor of the conference. The US is participating in the planning sessions because it wishes to participate in the conference.

Yes Matilda, there is a Palestinian draft:

the Palestinian delegation proposed that a paragraph be added to the conference’s agenda. Their draft “calls for implementation of… the advisory opinion of the ICJ [International Court of Justice] on the wall, [i.e., Israel’s security fence], and the international protection of Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Apparently the American delegation kept quiet and did not object to the phrasing or intent of this language.

Watching Netanyahu get squashed by Obama should be interesting. Not good for Israel, but interesting.

About the author

themiddle

22 Comments

  • Well, my Jewish friends, ‘ain’t it funny how you feel/when you’re finding out it’s real.’

  • Too little too late, Middle. We told you this would happen.

    I wonder how Marty Peretz is feeling right now? Pretty fucking stupid, I’ll bet.

  • Sorry Ephraim, when one votes, Israel is not the only thing on the agenda. The Republicans have forfeited their right and chance to govern for many years to come with their poor, irresponsible governing over the past several years. I much preferred Hillary to Obama, but McCain was simply going to repeat many of Bush’s mistakes and enough is enough.

  • We’ll just have to see how the Pelosi/Reid stimulus package plays out. For now, we see a very different approach to a range of foreign policy issues. Obama’s clearly willing to tolerate damage to Israeli-US relations as the price to be paid for convincing Muslims the dark, evil days of Bush are over and that America, while an arrogant, imperialist nation, can change and grow.

    Just out of curiosity, Middle, did the ‘mistakes’ McCain was likely to repeat include any foreign policy or security ones? If so, which?

  • I didn’t think McCain was going to handle foreign policy differently than Hillary or Obama except for Israel. Maybe things like Guantanamo, but I sorta consider that domestic policy. I mean, nobody is getting out of Iraq tomorrow, Afghanistan is clearly the new center of gravity and no US administration would go to war with Iran because the army is stretched too thin and Iraq was such a disaster that the potential political and diplomatic fallout would not be manageable. So no, it wasn’t security. I did expect that a Democratic president would have greater success making friends and partners in the international community again, which would be beneficial to us as a country.

    My key concerns revolved more around who might actually take us of out the economic malaise that had hit us (that it was going to be much more profound only came up in the very end of the election cycle), who might care about regulation and regular people, who might develop some sort of responsible social policy like universal health care. You know, mundane things.

    Yes, it now seems that Obama will use Israel as a carrot to befriend the Muslim world although his administration will claim they’re stalwart friends of Israel and their intentions are to be helpful and bring about peace. Add to the mix a right wing Israel gov’t headed by Netanyahu who ran on a platform of being tough on Iran, tough on Palestinians and tough in general, and the next several years could be very hard for Israel. The Israelis need to keep reminding the US of the profound error in judgment by the previous Administration which forced Israel to agree to let Hamas run in the elections. The resulting entanglement is perhaps unresolvable and should serve as a lesson to the Americans that they are playing in a place where the rules may not be as clear to them as the Israelis. I doubt the Obamanians will change their tactics, but if anything goes wrong, they may back off the Israelis.

  • OK, so fine. Israel just wasn’t important enough, Middle. I get it.

    Good luck on the “boycott Hamas” thing. It looks like Obama is on course to accept a “Palestinian unity government” with Hamas in it. I agree that allowing Hamas to participate in the elections was one of Condosleaza Lice’s biggest blunders in a career that had not a single noteworthy accomplishment of any kind at all. One of the worst Secretaries of State we have ever had, at least in my memory.

    Not sure I agree that overthrowing a bloodthirsty tyrant, freeing his people, and starting Iraq on a path that could conceivably result in a real democracy in a place where none of the countries other than Israel, and I mean NONE, have a government worthy of the name, was a disaster. If you mean that it’s a disaster that the feckless Euros don’t like us as much as they pretended they used to, I just don’t care that much. I grieve for all of the soldiers we lost, and I regret that we apparently haven’t done anything serious to destabilize Iran, which I naively thought was the real endgame in Iraq. In any event, it is still way too early to decide that Iraq was a failure. That won’t be known for a couple of decades at least. But if a democracy in Iraq leads to political evolution in the Arab world so they can get out of the political stone age and become truly modern people, we will look back on it and wonder why didn’t overthrow the Saudis too while we were at it.

  • Israel is important, but it’s not the defining element when my feeling was that both sides weren’t that far apart. You do recall, for instance, that Bush is the first President to announce as official US policy that we intend to create a Palestinian State? If Obama had done it, you’d be screaming about it.

  • Bush, in the end, turned out to be bad enough, mainly because of that stupid c**t Rice. But everybody knew that Bush knew that all of his words about reaching an agreement before his term was up were just so much window dressing. In the end, he did not force Israel to do anything that Olmert and Peres weren’t dying to do on their own.

    Obama is worse. Just look at the anti-Semites he’s appointed to guide him on policy. His presidency is a full-blown disaster for Israel. We just haven’t seen the flower bloom yet.

    And there are Palestinian states and Palestinian states. As I have said innumerable times before, if the Pals were telling the truth about accepting Israel and agreeing to a really just two-state solution, I would accept the idea.

    But they’re lying through their teeth and everybody knows it. It is simply not possible for anyone who pays any attention to what is going on to think that they are really serious about peace. And Obama is well on his way to agreeing to a PA with Hamas in it. There is no way that Israel can discuss anything with such a “government”. This is good, though: actually having the US get Abu Mazen to just hand over Yehuda and Shomron to Hamas peacefully instead of making them fight for it is certainly more efficient. That way, they will get all the money and arms the US and the Euros have been pumping in there to prop up that walking corpse Abu Mazen without having to waste any bullets. A win-win for everyone as far as I can see.

    And the Euros are talking to Hamas openly now anyway. The rug is being pulled out from under Israel, and Obama is the one doing the pulling. Bush, at least, never forced Israel to talk to Hamas. I believe that Obama will be trying to do exactly that very shortly. I hope to G-d that Israel can stand up to the pressure.

    I’m starting a dead pool on Abu Mazen. He’s already dead, in any meaningful sense of the term. How long do you think he’ll actually be physically alive? Once they take over the whole shooting match, will Hamas shoot him or will they keep him alive as a useful stooge ?

  • If one conclusion’s evident, it’s that Obama will at every turn reverse Bush’s refusal to talk to the world’s terrorists and rogue states. Even that wouldn’t be so bad except for one’s suspicion that there’s no real stick awaiting the refusal of Iran and North Korea, for example, to fall for Obama’s charm offensive.

    As bad as Rice was, even she wouldn’t have embarrassed herself as badly as Clinton has on her Far East trip. Let’s hope that’s not a sign of things to come.

  • Yeah. Can you imagine how everybody would howl if a Republican Secretary of State said “Human rights? Fuck ’em. We’ve got more important things to talk about.”? But this is Obama, so it’s OK.

    There’s no stick and there never has been, Tom. Obama spent pretty much his whole campaign telling the whole world just that. He’s going to spend the rest of his term trying to convince the American people that that endless the golden shower he’s going to be getting from Russia, N. Korea and Iran is really just a nice refreshing spring rain.

    But when you run on a promise to make the rest of the world like us again by stopping all of those nasty America-centric things that the bad man who was in the job previously was doing, you shouldn’t be surprised when nobody respects you. Countries are just like people: when they realize that there is nothing you crave more than their approval and that you will do anything to get it, they look down on you like the pathetic, needy loser that you are.

  • Its sad for a small child to eat candy until it throws up – but how much more pathetic is it for an adult to do it?

    TM – it is beyond immature and pathetic that you are upset at something you wanted, campaigned for, and now received. It is the policy you supported and advocated for. Now you have it!

    I’d tell you to take responsibility and own what you said in the past, but judging from your coverage of Obama – personal responsibility is not something you believe strongly in.

  • What is that supposed to mean, Middle? Your version of Obama’s “we won”?

    The question isn’t whether Obama will steamroll any opposition. He may very well do that with the support of most of the idiots, Jewish and otherwise, who voted for hum. The question is whether you think what he’s doing is right.

    I’m beginning to think you’re a schizophrenic.

    You voted for Obama and tried to convince everyone that he would be Good For The Jews. Then he does something you don’t like and you act all hurt and surprised, even going so far as to post an article by Caroline Glick, of all people, with which you seem to agree, at least partially. Then Tom and I say “well, what did you expect? You voted for him, live with it” and then you get your knickers all in a twist and try to say that McCain wouldn’t have been any better. It’s impossible to tell what you actually think.

    I mean, the signs were all there. For example, did it surprise you that he brought Samantha Power out from under the bus once he won the election? If it surprised you or any of your Obamanaut Jewish friends, I’ve got some beachfront property in Kansas I’d like to sell you.

    I have no idea if McCain would or would not have been a good president. But I doubt very seriously that he would have dragged this country through the mud by attending Durban II. I mean, Jesus H. Christ, even Britain and Italy are saying they’re not going to attend, and Canada is staying away too. Is Obama just planning on letting them twist in the wind? The fact that Obama is even considering attending is a deep, deep betrayal and as clear a signal as any that he does not have the welfare of the Jewish people or Israel at heart. I hope they’ll decide not to go, but I think they will. And when they do, all the Jews who voted for Obama will realize what they have done.

    Of course, they may be just grandstanding and are planning to stage a noisy walkout. But with all of the Muslim shit-eating that Obama has been doing since the second he stepped into office, I really doubt it. Deep down, he’s an appeaser. I’m really beginning to wonder if he actually might be a stealth Muslim plant.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  • Um, Ephraim, you’re rewriting history extensively. First of all, I always strongly preferred Hillary to Obama. Second, I was always opposed to any Republican coming into the WH after the previous 8 years. They could have had David Ben Gurion running and I still would have preferred the Democrats. Third, I’ve quoted Glick in the past and have even given her editorials full posts. I listen to all sided of the political spectrum. I’m The Middle.

    Over these past couple of years, I’ve actually agreed with many of the comments regarding Obama’s leanings against Israel, and argued against taking seriously the appointment of Emanuel as his Chief of Staff as some form of show of support for Israel.

    In other words, I’ve always been concerned about Obama, have never bought his constant election talk about support for Israel and never wrote that I did. I was and remain hopeful that the many Jewish advisers around him will influence the direction of his policy, but always had my doubts and there is a long record of posts and comments that I’ve written to that effect.

    The point of my comment with the NY Times article was to say that it doesn’t matter what you or I or Tom think. It doesn’t matter if the entire Right wing of this country is up in arms or if the masses at LGF yell all day long. The bottom line is that people see Obama in a very positive light and the support runs across party lines. As a result, any opposition he faces, at least in these first few months, will simply be shoved aside while he does exactly what he wants to do.

    The question right now is how all of this will affect Israel. Let’s wait and see. One thing we know for certain is that Israel has not always been wise in handling its own political and diplomatic needs. It could well be that a strong American President with the right people advising him might actually be able to bring about a peace agreement. It won’t stray much from what was offered at Taba because it’s clear to everybody that Taba is the template for a peace deal if one is ever to be completed. In that respect, he’s no different than Hillary and not that far from McCain who would have stuck, as did Bush, to the Quartet plan.

    Stop kidding yourself, Israel has long been considered a problem for American administrations because it complicates their lives in many respects. I’m sure the intelligence exchanges and military cooperation is perceived as important, but there have been times when even the Bush WH seemed exasperated with Israel. Obama seems to be all about seeking pragmatic solutions to problems and he will tackle Israel in the same way: less emotion; less concern about the historical relationship; greater emphasis on finding closure even if it means butting heads with people.

  • Did you or did you not vote for Obama, Middle? Stop playing around. I don’t care if you preferred Hillary or not. She wasn’t running against McPalin, in case you didn’t notice.

    Ah, yes, “pragmatism”. If Obama is planning on being “pragmatic”, a la Walt and Mearsheimer, be prepared for a wholesale abandonment of Israel by his administration. Pragmatism will always prefer a billion Muslims with oil who blow things up at the drop of a hat over a few measly Jews with no oil and self-restraint.

    And remember, you voted for him. Man up and take responsibility.

    You should just drop The Middle and rename yourself Tofu Man or something. Trying to get you to actually own up to any position at all is like trying to nail tofu to the wall.

    If you didn’t vote for him, I take it back. But I’m pretty sure you did.

  • Are Yooplada and Michael Whitefield the same person? It’s the horrible grammar consistent in both posts which leads me to that conclusion.

    In any case, I am with the other posters. You had to be blind to not realize what Obama was all about when it came to Israel. It looks like Hilary is going to throw Israel under the bus in exchange for her role as SoS. That’s no surprise to me either, but all those alta kackas in NY who were fooled by her “I Love Israel” shtick to win the senate seat, sure will be surprised.

  • Hi guys,
    Just ignore the guy – MW, Yoo,MS – He just wants attention.

    At that point. I am just reading a book ” History of Jews” by Paul Johnson. He describe and tries to explain anti semitism from historical geo-political perspective. But why it happening now? To “hate” Israelis and by association the Jews, because they are winning a physical war, I can understand. But to hate Jews because they are Jews, in 21st Century, would like to know more why. The religious explanation does not apply to most of the “left” or people like MW.

    Also I am going to change my online name from StanR to Ibn Verga. He was 15th century wandering Jew in Italy after he was thrown out from Spain, rationalist, sceptic who wrote the book , asking same question “Why do men hate Jews?”

  • Zionism is Jewish nationalism, that is, the idea that Jews, like any other people, are entitled to their own state.

    Therefore, anyone who believes that Jews do not have a right to their own state like all other peoples must be, by definition, an anti-Semite. So, since you say you oppose Zionism as a political idea, you are an anti-Semite because you would deny Jews the rights that you grant other people.

    The problem here is that the Nazis ruined anti-Semitism. All Nazis are anti-Semites, of course, but not all anti-Semites are Nazis. It is not necessary to want to murder all Jews to be an anti-Semite. All that is required is that you believe that the Jews do not have equal rights with everyone else, a view to which you clearly ascribe. So, if thse shoe fits, you should wear it without complaint.

    And please don’t bother to bring up Jewish religious anti-Zionists. Such people do not oppose the idea that the Jews have a right to a state in Eretz Israel; the only argument between them and other Jews is about how such a state should come about and how it should be constituted.

    Theoretically, opposition to certain policies of Israel does not make one an anti-Semite. However, suh professed opposition is almost always a cover for opposition to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, since most who say they don’t oppose the right of Jews to their own state amost always offer “solutions” to the “problem” of Israel that would bring about its demise.

    And, of course, anyone who trots out the “some of my best friends are Jews” trope, as you do, is almost certainly an anti-Semite, just as some white person who takes pains to say “some of my best friends are black” is almost certainly a racist.

Leave a Comment