After having been made aware that perhaps Jewlicious is not publishing anything that is pro-Romney I decided we need to be as we claim to be non-partisan. I am reprinting an article that appeared in the Times of Israel.

From Under the Bus: A Response to Efraim Halevy and the NYTimes

Efraim Halevy, former director of Israel’s Mossad, used to be a serious man. So it is surprising to see such an unserious, partisan—even silly—column coming from him. (Less surprising: it was featured in The New York Times.)

Halevy maintains that “no Democratic president has ever strong-armed Israel on any key national security issue,” and that Republican Presidents are the ones who have thrown Israel “under the bus.”

Halevy’s analysis is as incomplete as it is irrelevant. His column amounts to historical malpractice.
Halevy’s airbrushed “history” leaves out Republican President Nixon’s extraordinary backing of Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and Republican President Reagan’s formalization of strategic cooperation with Israel–which created the web of ties between the Pentagon and IDF and the progressive strengthening of Israel’s military capability still in effect today. He omits Republican Presidents fighting bitterly against the United Nations “Zionism is Racism” resolution and then finally getting that resolution repealed, and ignores Republican President Bush’s diplomatic cover for the Second Lebanon War.

Somehow, Halevy’s history lesson also conveniently skips over Democrat President Clinton’s relentless pressure on Israel to make concessions in the face of bloody Palestinian violations of the Oslo accords, and welcoming Yasser Arafat to the White House more than any other foreign leader. And where is his analysis of Democrat President Johnson’s leaving Israel abandoned and alone to face the tightening noose of genocidal Arab armies in 1967?

What makes Halevy’s piece both pointless and partisan is that he uses these cherry-picked lists to suggest that, due to this “historical record,” voters should support President Obama. Yet, although President Obama has own record—and quite a record it is—regarding Israel, Halvey has nary a word to say about it. Furthermore, Governor Mitt Romney has a sterling record of support for Israel, and a staunchly pro-Israel foreign policy team; yet Halevy deems this unworthy of comment. What kind of analysis of the election ignores entirely any analysis of the actual candidates or their records?
Just a sampling of what Halevy skips—how did Halevy omit Obama’s deliberate policy of publicly putting “daylight” between America and Israel? Or his administration’s publicly calling Israel “an ungrateful ally”? Or publicly announcing that America would not be “complicit” in any strike against construction of Iran’s Holocaust-in-a-suitcase? Or publicly condemning Israel for building apartments in Jerusalem, even though such development specifically was not part of any construction freeze? Or publicly undermining Israel by endorsing Palestinian positions even before any negotiations began? Or publicly calling on Israel to go back to its 1949 “Auschwitz borders” as a starting point for those negotiations? Or publicly tearing up agreements made by prior administrations regarding settlement blocs? Or publicly calling on Israel to apologize for the Gaza flotilla incident?

As a big proponent of public transportation, Obama has fleets of public buses under which he has thrown Israel. Halevy should try looking under at least one.

Depressingly, the list of Halevy omissions goes on. Even in the past year, President Obama created a “global counter-terrorism forum” to which he invited eleven Muslim states to join, explaining that they were “on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism.” And then Obama bowed to those Muslim nations’ demand that Israel be excluded.

He legitimized the UN’s most obsessively anti-Israel body (that’s quite a distinction), joining the UN Human Rights Council against Israel’s request. Obama is currently asking for a second 3-year term on the blood-libeling council, in spite of its primary activity being the perpetual condemnation of Israel for an endless array of human rights violations. And even when vetoing grossly anti-Israel UN resolutions, his administration has turned around and independently condemned those Israeli policies under discussion.

President Obama has humiliated Israel’s Prime Minister at every turn, even badmouthing him to France’s President Sarkozy over an open microphone, refusing a requested meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu during the growing Iran crisis (instead making important appearances on “The View” and David Letterman), and having America’s UN Ambassador absent from Netanyahu’s UN address.

President Obama even put in play Israel’s presumed nuclear deterrent in agreements with Islamic states at a meeting of parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty—a blatant breach of promises made to Israel. His administration is still negotiating ways to diplomatically coerce Israeli compromise of its nuclear advantage.

Obama drags his feet in preventing Iranian nuclear capability—finally agreeing to impose economic sanctions, then liberally granting waivers to Iran’s largest trading partners. How “tough” and “crippling” are these sanctions? Well, even American exports to Iran are up over 30% this year. And Obama’s own intelligence director admits that Iran’s nuclear program has not been slowed at all.
On Obama’s watch, Israel’s neighbors have been taken over by radical Islamists–Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who Obama helped usher in. And let’s not forget Team Obama calling the architect of the Syrian slaughter a “reformer”—more respect than shown to Israel’s PM. Oh, and Obama still considers Israeli settlements to be the region’s obstacle to peace.

Obama whispering sweet nothings to his Jewish donors doesn’t change this record. Nor does Efraim Halevy’s ludicrous history survey. Whether gullible New York Times readers have the luxury of ignoring Obama’s actual record, Israelis are stuck living it. Americans in Israel do not enjoy the view from under the Obama bus: Halevy’s incomplete history notwithstanding, we are voting overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney.

Abe Katsman is an American attorney and political commentator living in Israel. He serves as Counsel to Republicans Abroad Israel.

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37 Comments

  • You reprinted a political advertisement disguised as a blog post, written by a political operative.

    This was NOT an ARTICLE from The Times of Israel. #shameonyou

    • Is this really the best pro-Romney writing Jewish Republicans can come up with? Abe Katsman, who is an otherwise super guy, accuses Ephraim Halevy of being one sided and partisan and so he responds with a one sided and partisan post. Awesome.

      Katsman asserts that "Halevy’s airbrushed “history” leaves out Republican President Nixon’s extraordinary backing of Israel in the Yom Kippur War…" while conveniently ignoring that it was Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who essentially gave Sadat the green light to attack Israel in the first place as a way of getting them to negotiate a peace treaty.

      Formal US strategic cooperation with Israel may have been instituted by Reagan but Obama did nothing but strengthen that cooperation. And yes, Republicans have provided diplomatic cover for Israel but only one President has a perfect 100% voting record in support of Israel at the UN and that is Barak Hussein Obama.

      Katsman asserts that "Romney has a sterling record of support for Israel, and a staunchly pro-Israel foreign policy team…" Like Romney's Arab Americans for Romney made up of some very shady shady people, some of whom have strong ties to the Holy Land Fund, Hezbollah and Hamas? Or wait… who is head of Romney's national security transition team? None other than James Baker's protege Bob Zoellick, whose track record on Israel is checkered, to say the least.

      So yeah. I could go on and on. But I won't. Still waiting for that definitive, well written pro Romney Jewy post from… anyone. Anyone at all.

    • A political advert should mean money in the coffers for whomever publishes/distributes/etc. Bloggers work for love; don't we David Abitbol?

  • Look. I am happy to post anything serious in praise of Romney. Seriously. Anyone want to write a guest post about how awesome Romney is? Use the contact form or simply send it to submissions@jewlicious.com. I have no problem doing that at all. Hopefully it'll be a bit more balanced than Mr. Katsman's piece here, but, I am SO desperate for something, anything pro-Romney, that I'll probably publish anything as long as it doesn't contain conspiracy theories or derogatory name calling. So come one Republicans! Surely someone has something to say?

    As for our posts, well… the Pro-Obama camp is just so much more fun! But yeah, ok. I'll post some of the Pro-Romney videos aimed at Jews. And I'll try to be nice about it.

    • No one in their right mind. I don't like him. People say that it isn't legitimate to vote AGAINST someone, but essentially, that's what a lot of people are doing. I agree that there is a lot of unnecessary and ridiculous name calling, plus irrelevant information (it doesn't really matter what Obama's ring says, or what his middle name is, obviously) on part of the pro-Romney camp. But the fact is that people are frustrated with Obama, they don't want a repeat of the past 4 years, and that's a legitimate reason to vote for another candidate.

    • Uh Cori Widen? You have access to Jewlicious. You can write something pro-Romney and post it here and that'd be totally cool. No one's stopping you. So nu?

    • I'm not going to write yet another piece about Obama's mishandling of the middle east and the economy. There is enough out there for people who care to read such a thing– and my guess is that a lot of your readership wouldn't 🙂 Also, this Obama-Romney discussion is REALLY bad for my productivity. Regardless of who wins, I'm excited for elections to be over so that I can actually get something done around here! You know how it is. You say you';; write a post. So you do. Then so and so comments and they're so far off that you can't NOT respond. So you do. But then so and so's friend comments, and then you……. yeah, you get the idea 🙂

    • Being Canadian, having followed thoroughly the US campaign, and reading up on Jewish news, it amazes me the difference in perspective form Jews in North America and Israel. I wish I had some answers. David, I know you're in Israel and you're one of the few that seems to be a President Obama supporter but as you may (or not) know, it's not the case with a lot of Jews in Israel. In fact, not only do they not support him but they make it sound like a 2nd term for Obama will just just allow the most hateful, imaginable things to happen to their state. I just don't understand the drastic, extreme views from the same people, simply separated by an ocean…

    • Well Iris, I too am Canadian. Also from Montreal. As a Canadian, I know that Medicare is not horrible. I know that a lot of things the Republicans oppose, that we take for granted in Canada, have not and will not lead to the utter ruination of any country. So yeah, my default mode when it comes to assertions made by Republicans is skepticism.

    • Oh Cori Widen – you know I respect you. But that was weak. If you don't want to write it, get someone else who will. I'm giving the GOP carte blanche here! Take advantage!

    • But wait, David. It's so much more than medicare. Israelis seem to be saying that Obama doesn't support Israel and if anything happens with Iran, the US won't be there as an ally, protect and help them. Also, that Obama invites the Muslim Brotherhood over to the White House (and that he's Muslim himself). That may seem ridiculous to you, but that's ALL that I've been reading. I even 'unliked' a few pages just because the propaganda was so extreme and unbelievable! (I'm sure you've read or seen some of it yourself, I saw that you were also subscribed to those pages.)

    • Just to respond to a few of those points– what you're reading is a gross simplification. If Israel goes to war with Iran itself, or a proxy war with Hamas, etc. – the US will be involved. It doesn't matter if it's Obama or if it's Romney. The question is– what type of support? Who can work well with Netanyahu to protect American and Israeli interests? Most pro-Romney supporters, like myself, don't trust Obama based on his disdain for Netanyahu, his complete misunderstanding of the Muslim world (refusal to use the term Islamic Fundamentalism when it counts, his speech to Cairo that made the US an even bigger laughingstock in the Arab world, and the list goes on), and his insistence that his sanctions are working, when they are not (unless harming the Iranian public was the goal– the regime is in tact and the centerfuges are spinning). So no, because of the American political climate, no president, Obama included, can completely abandon Israel vis a vis Iran. But who can do a better job? Romney is a gamble, I admit it– but with Obama, there isn't much left to rtust. Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood– it's a microcosm of how Obama mishandled US policy when it came to the Arab Spring. He treated it as a positive thing, as a victory for democracy– without dealing with the fact that the new powers in place (like the MB) are by and large far worse. If you have an eye to the Middle East as a key issue, Obama is hard to trust. The Jews who are voting for Obama, aside from a select few, are not voting for him because they prioritize Israel and the Middle East. Quite the opposite. They care more about healthcare, gay marriage, abortion– and other issues that Obama is strong on.

    • Thank you for your answer, Cori. I really wanted to understand the difference. I can tell you that Jews in Canada and the US (not all, of course) wholeheartedly support Obama. All social issues aside, it's the foreign affairs that affect us in some way (as for me, being Canadian, it's not so much contraception issues that affect me, rather, it's what happens to Israel, to the Middle East, war, no war… I can agree with you that Romney really is a gamble. He constantly contradicts himself and I really think he's using the "I'm friends with Bibi" card to his advantage. I don't trust him and I fear he will do so much worse to the Middle East due to his arrogance. One thing that's very important for everyone to acknowledge is that even if a President is the "leader of the free world", he's still the President of the US and not of Israel and not of Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, etc… Having Obama support Israel the way he does, with numerous endorsements from Jews, from great politicians, from highly respectable newspapers, even lately with Republicans, this is huge, this should mean something, this should make one think: "ok, I have my doubts about Obama, but Romney is such a gamble." We can't afford to take this chance, not with all that's going on with the "Arab Spring", with an ending war…. Anyway, my opinion, that's all!

    • And by the way, just because Obama is not close to Netanyahu, doesn't mean he wouldn't work with him when and if the time comes. There are thousands of leaders in this world, he can't be close to all of them, this has just been a comparison to Romney's relationship with Bibi, and that's how that started. By the way, I can ever share a video that Netanyahu speak kindly of Obama as well as his defense minister, Ehud Barak.

    • Thanks Cori – but your post clearly demonstrates why, as a person who loves Israel, I continue to side with Obama. Let's look at policy for instance. You criticize Obama driven sanctions against Iran because they don't immediately harm the regime. But that's how sanctions work. They motivate the bulk of the country to put grass roots pressure on its leadership. It's not instantaneous but, please tell me what would Romney do that is different? An ever tightening noose seems like a good idea. The Rial is now pretty worthless and the message to the Mullahs is that it's going to only get worse. What would Romney do to stop the centrifuges NOW? Short of nuking Teheran and killing millions of the civilians whose welfare you care so much about?

      You don't trust Obama because he and Bibi have a beef? Netanyahu is not a universally adored guy. Even here in Israel. Even among his own coalition partners and supporters. Luckily the ties that bind Israel and the US are not even remotely dependant upon how one man feels about another. Thank you AIPAC for pushing the notion that support for Israel isn't and should never be a partisan issue in the US.

      As for the Arab Spring – look you're either for Democracy or you're not. Obama could not dictate to the Egyptian people for instance, who they should vote for. But once the election results came in, the Obama administration worked hard to make sure that their traditional allies in Egypt kept the peace. And that policy has worked thus far. The Egyptian Army and the IDF work hand in hand in the Sinai, Morsi has blown up more Gaza smuggling tunnels than Mubarak ever did and so far, none of the Morsi fear mongering we were fed about a Muslim Brotherhood led Egypt has come to fruition.

      More importantly, WHAT WOULD ROMNEY DO DIFFERENTLY? All I hear is Obama did this wrong and that wrong but very little about what exactly Romney would do better. Will he have 6 Carrier attack Groups in the Persian Gulf? Will he pay Egyptians to vote for a candidate "we" like better? Will he go to Teheran and challenge Ahmadinejad to a winner take all cage match? I'm still waiting.

    • Great answer, David! Perfectly articulated everything that Jewish in America stands for. And Cori, sure there are young Jews that "only" care about social issues but there are a great deal of an older generation, even immigrants, American Jews and very little support Romney. They care deeply for Israel and that's why they believe in Obama.

    • David, you hit the nail on the head. Not one of these Romney lovers have yet to say WHAT WOULD ROMNEY DO DIFFERENTLY? Oh, other than kiss Sheldon's tuches in Macy's window.

    • Romney is not a bad guy. He's just clueless in many areas. I would say, in his favor, that he is not a war monger, and will not drag us into another war if elected. Israelis who think otherwise simply aren't thinking, nor paying attention. Also, if elected, it will give him the excuse he needs to re-moderate his thinking and policies, under cover of being the president of all Americans, not just Tea Party crackpots. It's clear that he does not share the conservatives' social agenda, and would be, in many respects a benevolent, if largely ineffectual, president.

    • The shock for Bibi won't be a second Obama presidency. It will come if Romney wins, and he finds out Romney has more interest in fighting Israel's wars than Obama did.

    • Iris, many of the most rabidly anti-Obama zionists, who robo-post lies about him day and night, are based in Canada. Especially the Jews of Montreal. Which isn't too surprising given their bunker mentality. It's a phenomenon I have trouble understanding. We don't interfere in your elections.

    • Niall, I read posts from Canada, US and Israel; it's the ones from Israel that seem to be so focused on propaganda. It’s not only a dislike for President Obama but a hatred for the man and all of it based in Israel and not shared by North Americans. That makes me wonder about THAT phenomenon and why THEY are so focused on lies and BS. And when I say lies and BS, I’m not talking about the lies and rhetoric that have been thrown back and forth on both sides; I’m talking what Israelis specifically are saying about the President and his administration. Jews in America, even if they have a preference for Romney, their reasons are so different from Jews in Israel.
      Anyway, David said it all above and has excellent points, so I won’t repeat them here. But really I believe this lack of support that Israelis fear started because Obama is running against Romney, which is Bibi’s long-time friend. Had it been someone else with a different relationship or lack thereof, this conversation would have been very different.

    • @Iris: No. I happen to know for a fact a great deal of the anti-Obama zionist hysteria stems from people based in Toronto and Montreal. I could name them, but I won't.

    • Iris Fisher But to address your point about Israel… I think the hysterical vehemence you see coming from certain segments of Israeli society is rooted in the perception of declining Israeli influence over the US. The mainstay of their support in the US – evangelical Christians – are in steep decline, and we're just not producing enough gay men to take their place. This decline is not due to hositility, but rather to indifference. Now, most zionist organizations in the US are run by older people with little imagination, and their reflex is always the same: cry anti-semitism and genocide whenever Israel doesn't get its way. The old guard simply doesn't have the tools to respond to American realities effectively.

      We saw this in full flower when Bibi stormed our shores earlier in the year, treating Obama like his vassal, demanding the use of our military to further his foreign policy, etc. He was strongly and firmly rebuffed, which prompted quite a bit of impotent fury from him (e.g., his childish dressing down of the US ambassador to Israel). The response has been characteristically unhelpful. Bombarding US Jews with the message that a vote for Obama is a vote for a second Holocaust and nonsense like that. This has only alienated large swathes of the US Jewish community.

      Israel needs to drastically rethink its PR tactics, or within a decade it will be as important to us as Paraguay.

    • So Niall, you're admitting that there's a bit of an over-exaggerated hatred for Obama coming from Israel because they're not getting their way….

    • Yes, absolutely. I'm also saying there is a cadre of Canadian Jews who have joined them.

    • I think the issue is, Iris, that Americans, by definition, will have opininions about a US election. The question is why Canadian Jews feel the need to influence our election. It's not as though Steven Harper is supported by banks of robo-supporters in the US.

    • We follow the election. Influence it, not sure we can do that, even if we wanted to. Same question can be asked about Israelis, why do they care so much? Reason is, because many of the issues/policies affect us all, one way or another!

    • I think there is a difference between interest and concern, on the one hand, and actively engaging in partisan activities on the other.

    • Absolutely there's a difference. My wrong. It's more than an interest, it is a concern. Much less about the social issues, but the economy is a big deal for one. As for foreign affairs, if there's a war in the Middle East, you know that we're not just interested, but concerned and even will get involved. So yeah, US politics touches us all.

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