Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Obama's Foreign Policy: Coddle Dictators and Terrorists, Bash Israel

Here is a good observation from Tom Gross at The National Post about the disconnect in US foreign policy under Obama. He writes:

"The papers are full of reports about the startling criticism of Israel by the Obama administration — a criticism of a type not used by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton against many human rights abusing-governments the world over during the past year. (Who cares, for example, that 50,000 Muslim Burmese refugees are on the verge of starvation in Bangladesh, when you can bash Israel day after day, as the Obama administration did last week?)

The Los Angeles Times noted that “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s harsh words stunned Israel.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that “Clinton levied a blistering rebuke of Israel”

The Washington Post wrote that “Relations with Israel have been strained almost since the start of the Obama administration. Now they have plunged to their lowest ebb since the administration of George H.W. Bush… In her call [to Netanyahu], Clinton appeared to link U.S. military support for Israel to the construction in east Jerusalem."

Even the Anti-Defamation League, one of America’s largest liberal organizations, with close ties to the Democratic Party, says it is “shocked and stunned by the Obama Administration’s public dressing down of Israel.”'

But this criticism of Israel is only half the story. What makes it even more glaringly unfair and unjust is the double standard the Obama administration applies to the enemies of both Israel and the US.

"At the same time as rebuking Israel, neither the White House nor State Department had anything to say about the fact that the U.S.-financed Palestinian Authority, led by “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, renamed a central public square in Ramallah on Thursday in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the woman who in 1978 helped carry out the deadliest single terrorist attack in Israel’s history.

Mughrabi was the leader of a Fatah PLO terror squad armed with Kalashnikov rifles, RPG light mortars and high explosives, that sailed from Lebanon and landed on a beach between Haifa and Tel Aviv. They first killed a renowned American photojournalist (who was incidentally the niece of U.S. Democratic party Senator Abraham Ribicoff) who was taking nature photos, then hijacked a bus and commandeered another, embarking on a bloody rampage that left 38 Israeli civilians dead, 13 of them children.

Fatah representatives at the ceremony on Thursday described Mughrabi as “a courageous fighter who held a proud place in Palestinian history.”

Read the rest here.

I have noted on this blog several reports of increasing anti-Semitism, which often now goes under the label of anti-Zionism, in Europe and among various elements of the Left, especially in trade union and academic circles. But for it to reach all the way into the upper echelons of the US government is a new development, which just indicates how far to the left this administration actually is.

A Jewish Progressive Conservative MPP here in Ontario, Peter Schurman, who made a motion in the Provincial Legislature condemning the hatefest known on Canadian university campuses as "Israeli Apartheid Week" found himself inundated with hate mail from all over the world. Even the Toronto Star found itself compelled to publish this story.

By the way, kudos to Cheri DiNovo, a United Church of Canada minister and NDP member for Parkdale-High Park for speaking up in favor of Schurman's motion. She undoubtedly faces the wrath of her religion and her party for doing so, but she did the right thing. I don't usually have much to say in favor of either the UCC or the NDP and I'm not actually praising either institution. DiNovo spoke as a dissident in support of the Jewish people. Her leader, Andrea Horwath, wrote a letter to supporters blasting the motion. Ah, now that is more true to form for the NDP. It just make DiNovo's stand all the more principled and admirable.

The Left likes to insinuate that Conservatives are anti-Semitic only to cover up its own horrible track record in this regard. Israel knows that conservative Christians are its best friends and that anti-Semitism is most virulent on the Left, which does lead one to ponder the perplexing question of why so many Jews migrate to the left in politics. One thing is for sure: it must be sincere conviction and not merely self interest.


Gordon Hackman said...

"The Left likes to insinuate that Conservatives are anti-Semitic only to cover up its own horrible track record in this regard."

This reminds me of how you've pointed out recently that those on the left are continually accusing others of what they themselves are guilty of.

Nathan said...

How do you understand anti-semitism? In my understanding, it is a racist sentiment, which can be easily separated from political concerns. But you here have apparently equated anti-semitism with political opposition to Israel. Is that a fair assessment?

Craig Carter said...

I am not equating them abstractly and necessarily. It is a judgment call based on the contemporary historical situation and what you think people are really thinking. Very few people who are anti-semitic understand themselves to be such and many people try to hide the ugly truth from themselves, as well as from others.

I think that criticism of Israel the political state is possible without the critic being anti-semitic. However, the nature of the criticism matters a lot.

If one criticizes Israel for doing what it needs to do in order to survive and protect its people, that crosses the line into anti-semitism. Or if one holds Israel to a high standard, but holds Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran or Syria to a lower one, then that may indicate anti-semitism. If one says that Israel should not be a specifically Jewish state and that the whole area of Palestine should be one entity with the Arabs in the majority, then that is to me anti-semitic.

For me, it is a given that Israel should be allowed to have its own state and should be left in peace and be allowed to defend itself when attacked. The world community should support Israel's right to exist in peace.

Any criticism of Israel that, if heeded, would jeopardize that bottom line has crossed a line from simply calling on Israel to be more just to calling for Israel to cease to exist as a protector of the Jewish people in a world hostile to Jews. And that, I hold, is anti-semitism.

Gordon Hackman said...

Dr. Carter,

Do you think it could be possible that the Left's strident opposition to Israel is born less out of anti-Semitism and more out of the general anti-Western/anti-American mindset that seems to characterize much of the politcal Left? Israel is basically a western style democracy and is an ally of the United States.

Craig Carter said...

Short answer - yes. The Left is becoming more and more anti-Western in general and this is why Western culture is dying. When a culture become self-hating, it is doomed.

But we must understand that there is a connection between the anti-Western attitude, the anti-Christian attitude and the anti-Jewish attitude. At bottom, I think anti-semitism can only be understood theologically. It is rage at God and the on-going existence of Israel in the world is a constant reminder of God's reality, faithfulness, and presence. As long as God is present, man cannot pretend to be God.

Gordon Hackman said...

Dr. Carter,

Thanks for your answer. I see the point you are making and basically agree about the rage against God. It makes sense to me on an intuitive level and it also agrees with scripture (like Romans chapter 1). Actually, I have been coming to see more and more in recent times how much the debates that characterize our history, our society and our times are really about the Christian revelation and our acceptance or rejection of it.