“The Amateur” Chapter 15

Bibi Netanyahu

The Jewish Problem With Obama

In 2008, Obama arrived in Cannes and was caught on a hot mic while talking to Sarkozy. “Netanyahu!” said Sarkozy, “I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” The president replied, “You’re sick of him? I have to work with him every day.”

Not surprising that he doesn’t like Bibi or his right of center government. Six months prior, he called for a Jewish state that accepted 1967 borders with land swaps. Bibi and Israelis were shocked at the amateurish handling of this vital diplomatic situation by Obama.

Mr. Klein presents some history in this chapter as to why Jewish people wanted to vote for Obama as the first black president. In 2008, 78% voted for him. His support is now down to 54%.

Mayor Koch was one who was thrilled to see a black president but he has said, “It conveyed to us that this country has come such a long way. But I never fully accepted that Obama didn’t hear his minister [Jeremiah Wright] make those awful anti-Semitic statements over 20 years. I wanted to believe him. I willed myself to believe him…What he has done is break that trust. Like Humpty Dumpty, once you break it, you can’t put it together again.”

Obama began in office by stating that he needed to form a coalition of moderate Muslim states. He believed that to do this, he needed to force Israel into giving up part of its territory while the Palestinians had to offer up nothing.

By March 2009, Rahm was clear that Obama was determined to make peace between Israel and the Arabs with a two-state solution.

When the president traveled through three Muslim countries, ignoring Israel in July 2009, it annoyed more than a few Jews. Obama only spoke of the Holocaust as the reason for Israel’s existence, omitting the fact that Jews had a 3,000 year history in the Promised Land.

The perception, rightfully, was that Obama was only beating up on Jews and expected nothing from the Palestinians.

March 2010, a low level bureaucrat in the Israeli Interior Ministry issued a permit for 1600 new housing unites. It was ill-timed with VP Biden’s visit to Israel. Obama was infuriated and no amount of apologies sufficed. Hillary harangued Netanyahu for 43 minutes, giving him ultimatums – lift the siege of Gaza, suspend all settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, release Palestinian prisoners, give a number of Palestinians the “right to return,” and agree to put Jerusalem up for grabs.

Bibi eased the blockade of Gaza but that was all.

It was right after that, when Bibi was invited to the WH and treated with utter disrespect. The President left him to dine with his daughters saying, “I’m going upstairs. Call me when you’re ready to talk substance.” They were left without food until finally they asked for food and were served non-Kosher meals.

Then there was Obama’s famous comment that Israel was the reason U.S. troops were dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said it was because they refused to agree to peace with the Palestinians [who has zero interest in peace].

A sentiment of anti-Jewish began to permeate the Jewish communities. It wasn’t helped when Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones, gave his famous speech which began with an anti-Semitic joke.

The Jewish community began to demand support and the very silent Chuckie Schumer was forced to speak up when P.J. Crowley, State Department spokesman, announced that the relationship of Israel and the U.S. depended on the pace of peace negotiations. Schumer finally said it was terrible and  he demanded a retraction.

Obama did not seem to realize he was isolating Israel and weakening her with his public criticisms.

As Obama launched his verbal assaults on Israel, he gained credibility with the Arabs and it encourage the Arabs to be more intransigent, not less.

Elie Weisel, who met with the president, said the intensity on both sides has subsided but the problems remain.

Obama has been going with the charm offensive since his losses in 2010.

The next time Bibi went to the WH, he was treated with respect, but this time, Bibi, waved his finger in Obama’s face.

Obama’s tonal changes do not reflect a change of heart – he wants peace talks by pressuring Israel.

Bibi returned in 2012 to discuss the Iranian threat in what ended up being a contentious meeting with Obama.