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Obama abandons Israel

Poor policy choices leave Jewish state vulnerable

As President Obama begins his second term, it is an opportune moment to critically evaluate his foreign policy record, which thus far appears to be based on the concept that peace and strength can be gained through abandoning one’s friends and appeasing one’s enemies.

As evidence of this, consider the following. Obama recently declared that a certain Mideast nation “doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” Was it: A. Syria, whose despotic leader has led his country into a devastating civil war; B. Iran, run by fanatical clergy who tyrannize their people and aspire to dominate the region with nuclear weapons; C. Egypt, now firmly controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose theology is inspired al-Qaida, Hamas and other violent Islamic terrorist groups; or D. Saudi Arabia, a global font of supremacist Islam that has a penchant for beheading and stoning its women?

In fact, Obama reserved this highly condescending statement for Israel, the only nation in the entire region rated as free by the respected think tank Freedom House. While this was not the first time that Obama has exhibited antipathy toward Israel, the presumed point of his criticism – that Israel has not taken enough steps toward peace – would baffle any impartial observer.

Despite being the size of New Jersey, Israel has given up land mass nearly three times its current size and uprooted thousands of its citizens, all for the sake of peace. Today there exists an independent Palestinian state in Gaza on land ceded by Israel. What has Israel received in return for these unique and painful sacrifices? Suicide bombers, missiles aimed at its towns, international attempts to delegitimize its existence and a torrent of genocidal anti-Semitism directed at it from all its neighbors. Ironically, the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the West Bank) are a direct result of Obama’s policies. Jewish settlements were never a major negotiating issue for the Arabs until Obama made them one, thereby forcing the Arabs into an even more intransigent position.

Perhaps the more relevant question to be asked is whether the Obama administration knows what America’s best interests are. Indeed, the Mideast record of Obama and his first secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, can only be described as a dismal failure.

They supported replacing allied regional governments with hostile Islamic supremacists. This, like a domino effect, has led to the ongoing takeover of North Africa by jihadists, where an American ambassador was recently murdered under suspicious and still-unclear circumstances. They have shown no interest in advocating for the rights of secularists and free-thinking people, women, Christians, Jews and other vulnerable Mideast minorities. As recently reported in the prominent Egyptian newspaper Rose Al-Yousef, Obama is now understood in the Arab world to be a friend of the ruthless and virulently anti-West Muslim Brotherhood. On that note, Obama has chosen as his closest regional ally the leader of Turkey, a man with a sinister anti-Semitic background now known for Islamifying his nation and jailing more journalists than any other country.

Meanwhile, Obama remains passive as Iran inches closer to obtaining nuclear weapons. He has chosen John Kerry, John Brennan and Chuck Hagel for Cabinet or Cabinet-level positions despite their having (like Obama) opposed strong sanctions against Iran and publicly reached out to the region’s most dangerous dictators and Islamic supremacists. It is therefore no wonder that America’s regional allies and Israel, its only friend, have become increasingly wary of Obama’s intentions and reliability.

Fortunately, Indiana stands apart from national trends and still elects Republican and Democratic politicians who do not confuse friend with foe and are committed to bipartisanship on these issues. Joe Donnelly, our new Democratic senator, has an outstanding record in Congress of imposing serious sanctions on Iran and supporting Israel, as described in our online legislative report card at We urge all Hoosiers to reach out and thank Donnelly for his clarity and courage on these issues and ensure that their elected representatives stand strong for America’s best interests in the Mideast and the rest of the world.

Elliot Bartky is president and Dr. Allon Friedman is vice president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana. They wrote this for Indiana newspapers.