Alex Massie

Obama and Israel

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Melanie Phillips makes a pretty remarkable claim at the end of this post:

The fact is that Israel faces the nightmare scenario that it now stands alone -- and against America. Whether through naivety, ideology or rank malice, there is now a fifth columnist in the White House, undermining the cause of the free world. The vast majority of Americans who staunchly support Israel's struggle to exist in the face of genocidal attack, and understand only too well its role as the front line of defence for the free world, need to become aware of what is being done in their name.

Consider, for instance, the text of House Resolution 34, introduced in January. It expresses the House of Representatives'

"vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas’s unceasing aggression, as enshrined in the UN Charter" [emphasis added].

And is the new President really a "fifth-columnist"? Well consider this:

AIPAC stands with President Barack Obama who stated so clearly when he visited Sderot last year, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

asked

Can friends of Israel - and Jews - trust Obama? In a word, Yes.

Jeffrey Goldberg

Barack Obama has called Israel America's strongest ally in the Middle East; he wants to stop Iran from getting the bomb; he is a stalwart enemy of Hamas and Hezbollah; he is the darling of Chicago Jewry; he is the protege of Sen. Dick Durbin, whose election was aided immeasurably by AIPAC; he himself is close to AIPAC; his advisers include Dennis Ross, Jim Steinberg and Richard Clarke; and on and on and on.

So, all you rumor-mongering, fever-headed Jewish conspiracists: Support McCain, if you want, and there are credible reasons for doing so, but stop smearing Obama in the face of overwhelming evidence that the man is a great friend of Jews and of Israel.

interview

Then there's the President himself. When he addressed AIPAC last year, he said:

I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever...

Nothing reflects the face of AIPAC more than the 1,200 students who have traveled here to make it clear to the world that the bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more than our shared national interests — it's rooted in the shared values and shared stories of our people. And as president, I will work with you to ensure that this bond is strengthened...

We know that the establishment of Israel was just and necessary, rooted in centuries of struggle and decades of patient work. But 60 years later, we know that we cannot relent, we cannot yield, and as president I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security...

Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security.

That starts with ensuring Israel's qualitative military advantage. I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from any threat — from Gaza to Tehran. Defense cooperation between the United States and Israel is a model of success, and must be deepened. As president, I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade — investments to Israel's security that will not be tied to any other nation. First, we must approve the foreign aid request for 2009. Going forward, we can enhance our cooperation on missile defense. We should export military equipment to our ally Israel under the same guidelines as NATO. And I will always stand up for Israel's right to defend itself in the United Nations and around the world...

Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

sceptical

For that matter, if Obama is, as Melanie says, a "fifth columnist" does that mean - as logic suggests it must - that Obama is not merely "objectively" but actively on the side of Osama bin Laden, Hamas and every other manifestation of Islamism? If so, I guess it's a testament to his devious genius - his brilliance as a "fifth columnist" - that so many wise people have failed to detect this conspiracy. Indeed, I suppose every declaration of support for the Israeli point of view cannot be trusted because, as a fifth columnist, he would say that wouldn't he? In other words, the conspiracists draw succour from evidence that directly contradicts or refutes their views, creating an essentially unfalsifiable argument into which no daylight can intrude.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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