Skip to comments.Obama should speak up now in support of Israel
Posted on 01/04/2009 11:31:29 PM PST by SJackson
Napoleon Bonaparte once defined a leader as "a dealer in hope." But Americans and Israelis yearning for leadership amid crisis from the incoming American president, who during the 2008 campaign was the great purveyor of hope, have thus far been sorely disappointed.
As missiles continue raining down on southern Israel, and the IDF's Gaza campaign enters its second week, only a conspicuous silence has emanated from President-elect Barack Obama's private Hawaii vacation compound.
While President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and their spokespeople have unequivocally backed Israel's actions and blamed Hamas for abrogating the cease-fire, Obama has declined comment, saying instead that "there's only one president at a time." David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, told CBS News that "the Bush administration has to speak for America now" and that "it wouldn't be appropriate for me to opine on these matters." Incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has maintained a similar reticence.
BUT THE Obama team's silence on this important issue is as surprising as it is unfortunate. In the immediate wake of his election, Obama proactively built a team designed to resuscitate the ailing US economy and reassured Americans - while ruffling the Bush administration's feathers - that "help is on the way." Obama presumably acted to calm the markets and to restore the confidence of those who had lost their jobs or retirement savings.
So why not ease the current international turmoil by offering a simple, succinct statement of support for Israel's efforts, something along the lines of "while President Bush speaks for America until I take office, I want to reiterate our president's strong support for Israel's right to defend herself and to strongly encourage Hamas to cease its destabilizing rocket fire." Such a statement would bolster Bush's final efforts to secure a durable cease-fire in the region. It would reassure Israelis that the incoming administration will continue the outgoing one's backing for the Jewish State, even in the face of a hostile "international community." And it would squelch any Hamas fantasies that, if they can only hold out until late January, help will be on the way for them, too.
Instead, by remaining silent, Obama and company have left things ambiguous, thus possibly forcing Israel to act too hastily to ensure success before Bush leaves office.
INTERESTINGLY, MANY voices on the American Left have also urged Obama to speak up, albeit to criticize Israel. Several commentators in The Nation, the liberal magazine, have chided Obama because "neglecting to engage at this critical stage sends the wrong message about the seriousness with which Obama will pursue" an "active role" in pushing for "diplomatic engagement," code words on the left for pressuring Israel to make territorial and other sacrifices.
Another observer lamented that "Obama seems content to fiddle while Gaza burns," instead urging the president-elect to "open a dialogue with Hamas" (again, left-speak for recognizing Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel and endowing it with international legitimacy) and "to break with AIPAC and its allies and to push for a solution in Palestine in a manner that would involve twisting Israeli arms." Obama's allies on the Left have chafed recently at his appointment of centrists like Clinton to key posts in his administration, and they are hungry for him to demonstrate his liberal bona fides at Israel's expense.
At the same time, a virtual skirmish has broken out between pro-Israel liberals, such as The New Republic's Martin Peretz, and various younger left-wing bloggers, who urge a more "nuanced" - read, Arab-friendly - approach to the conflict. As one observer astutely pointed out, "both Peretz and [the leftish bloggers] voted for Obama. Obama has to betray one of them. Let's hope it will be" the bloggers.
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS result is not at all determined, and perhaps Obama has not articulated a position on the current conflagration precisely because he's caught between the two poles of his supporters on the Left and the Center.
Before the election, many of Obama's backers contended in these pages that Obama would continue America's long-standing support for the Jewish state. If so, he should say so, loud and clear.
And while Obama and his advisers are understandably reluctant to undermine the Bush administration's positions by contradicting them before he takes office, as many on the Left passionately desire, there is no such risk in reinforcing Bush's message by echoing it in his own, eloquent way.
When I visited Israel last year during the 60th Independence Day celebrations, President Bush delivered a stirring address to the Knesset, in which he emphasized that "Israel's population may be just over seven million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because the United States of America stands with you." Here's hoping that President-elect Obama will demonstrate true leadership by swiftly and unambiguously echoing the outgoing president's staunch affirmation of American support for Israel during her time of need.
With 250 foreign policy advisors, of conflicting views, and no real knowledge of the region or the issues, it will take The One a bit of time to come up with a position.
He should, but he won’t. I’m thinking he’s just beginning right now to understand what did he got himself into. He should be frozen right now.
Pathetic Hussein. His Jew COS is Rahm Emmanuel who supposedly served with the IDF, yet they simply couldn’t make a statement?
they should not assume that he supports israel
I think he voted “present.”
Have you seen how the Code Pink cretins are camped out on the doorstep of his hotel demanding that he condemn Israel and support the Pals ?
We may want to take bets on how long after being inaugurated that Obama will talk about Statehood For Palestine.
Of course the current president advocates the Two State Solution.
Hussein isn’t a leader of anything. He knows nothing nor is he a protectorate of the United States. His interests are not for the well being of the United States...but the opposite.
Obama won’t say a damn thing, he will keep his mouth shut and hope that this all goes away, if not, well, that’s what Hillary is for, to put it all on her
Hamas campaigned hard for Obama. Their phone banks in Gaza helped Obama’s campaign. http://www.gillreport.com/wk-76
hell...don’t forget Axlerod....a red doper diaper babay if ever there was one
Obama is surrounded by far left Jews.
damn the irony
i think Obama is like Clinton....he checks wind and direction over and over and over
Don’t hold your breath..
He’s not in favor of Israel, and all the liberal jewish people who voted for him are in for a huge surprise... when he lets this out of the bag.
Messiah, he lay low.
he's spouted off on everything else - as tho’ he had already had the coronation....but is very still on this...not wanting ? to upset his muzzie friends and family???
He goes against everything mainstream America believes but has promised the moon to the moonbats and terrorists who financed his campaign and helped him get elected.
His entire career consists of freezing when the headlights hit him.
Past behavior is a very good indicator of future behavior.
The American people have elected a fraud and he knows it. Soon, everyone in the world will know it.
Doing nothing is the most provocative thing on the international stage and yet Obama has made it his life's work to do nothing while running his mouth assuring people he can walk on water.
You mean this Obama-—>
Odumbo is silent because he is against supporting Israel. Since the Bush Administration has voiced support for Israel, Odumbo hides behind the “one president at a time” mantra so he does not have to come out in opposition to the stated position of the American government. Once he is sworn in, though, it will be HIS government and he can — and will — tell Israel to pound sand.
This nitwit is going to be a disaster.
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