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Karen Harradine: Obama left Israel isolated and exposed


As part of his presidential campaign Barack Obama sought to reassure American Jews of Israel’s security. In June 2008 he gave a speech to the American Israel Affairs Public Committee during which he publically lambasted Iran and Hamas and reassured his audience that Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, would stand undivided. How times have changed.

The dreadful state of our world today is an excellent indicator of the travesty that was Obama’s presidency. And nothing is more obvious than his sneaky actions in his attempt to destablise Israel. If he was deliberately seeking to destroy the Jewish state, he almost succeeded.

Israel is the West’s last bastion against Islamic terrorism. A positive and strong relationship between the US and Israel is critical to the West’s survival. The more precarious Israel’s position in the Middle East is the more we in the West are threatened by Islamic terrorism. Obama’s continuous hostility towards the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his disparagment of Israel’s attemps to defend herself against terror, show how little Obama values the security and freedom of the West. But Donald Trump has shown that he understands this paradigm.

Let us judge Obama and Trump not only on their rhetoric but also their actions. Conservatives are divided on the virtues of Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, describing him either as a racist narcissist or as a brave defender of the West against Islamism. Yet Obama surrounded himself with a festering gaggle of Jew haters and terror apologists, like Valerie Jarret, Rashid Khalidi and Jeremia Wright without such furore. I have yet to see Trump do the same.

Shortly after his election Obama cravenly reached out to Hamas supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood, during his 2009 Cairo speech. A few days into his presidency Trump called Netanyahu and invited him to visit the White House. He also proposed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation and has chosen a pro-Israel nominee, David Friedman, as his ambassador to the Jewish state. Both Obama and Trump would have been acting on policy recommendations from their core circle of advisers. The stark contrast between these gestures shows exactly who has Israel’s back.

The friendly and supportive press conference today between Trump and Netanyahu was a relief to watch. Unlike Obama, Trump seems unwilling to pander to the Islamist despots who continue to destabilise the Middle East and threaten the survival of Israel. Strategic allegiances in the Middle East are realigning. The rise of Isis and the continual threat of Iran has had an unexpected effect in uniting old enemies. Some Arab countries now seek an alliance with Israel against these forces of darkness. And Trump has grasped this better than Obama ever did.

Obama’s dislike of Israel was certainly propagated by his irrational hatred of Netanyahu and I also suspect he has anti-Semitic leanings. How else do we explain his eagerness to create the insidious Iranian nuclear deal last April? Iran was gifted billions of dollars when sanctions were stupidly lifted. This nuclear deal effectively paid Iran to wage war against Israel and the West.

The delusional heralding of this as an advancement for peace – a word as overused as ‘racism’ – has been invalidated by the very unpeaceful missiles Iran fired a few weeks ago. Iran’s brashness and posturing must be taken seriously. Trump shows that he understands this. He has imposed new sanctions on Iran and, at the press conference, scathingly said the Iran deal was the worst deal he has ever seen. If Trump reverses the Iran deal that would be of far more of value to us Jews than any statement he could make on Holocaust Memorial Day.

But I would caution Trump not to get stuck on the settlements issue as this is a distraction. Despite the protestations of the UN, assorted Islamists and misguided Westerners, the settlements are not the obstacles to peace as claimed. What is the obstacle to peace is the insidious and endemic Jew hatred of Israel’s so-called partners for peace – Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Gradually, like the slow drip of poison, Obama turned the settlements into an obsession for every virtue-signalling pundit on Israel. The more we were forced to focus on this the less we paid attention to the real danger to the West and Israel – Islamic terrorism. For 24 years, since the Oslo Accords, the settlements and the two state solution has been the mantra for every academic, writer and politician who bolstered their career on these exhausted concepts. Obama culminated his infatuation with the settlements through his vicious parting blow to Israel in the form of United Nations Resolution 2334.

Trump’s vagueness on the settlements, and his talk of an alternative one state solution, is not as worrying as this abysmal resolution, which encourages boycotts against Israel and discards Judaism’s connection to the Western Wall. Obama’s initial assurance that he valued Israel’s security was negated when the US abstained on voting. There are even suspicions that Obama secretly plotted the resolution with Israel’s enemies. But just by abstaining Obama showed he was no longer the righteous proponent of the two state solution that he promised he was, but an outed Israel hater. Trump’s vehement opposition to the resolution, reiterated during the press conference, is a refreshing contrast to Obama’s blatant lies and his consistent undermining of Israel’s security.

So far Trump’s position on Israel signals cautious optimism. He has shown, via his words – and more importantly, his actions – that he is on Israel’s side. The Islamist demagogues and their sycophantic left-wing collaborators don’t like it. But unlike Obama, Trump does not care. Perhaps the time of the Jew haters and their apologists is finally over. Obama was terrible for Israel. I do believe that Trump will be better. He could hardly be worse.

(Image: Daniel Borman)

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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