Is Obama the Most Pro-Israel President Ever?

Yesterday, I linked to the site of Amir Mizroch who called President Obama’s UN speech “the most pro-Israel speech [he thinks] anyone has heard at that world forum for a very long time.” Of course, this stands in stark contrast to the various folk who are trying to paint Obama as an Israel-hater. If there was any doubt about where the Obama administration stands, the UN speech should prove that the president is far more concerned with the desires of the Netanyahu government than the rights of the Palestinians people (or the various ways in which Obama’s pro-Israel stance is damaging American credibility.) Could it be wrong to suppose that Obama is one of the more pro-Israel presidents in history (particularly now that election season is approaching)?

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak certainly has nothing but positive things to say with how obsessed Obama is with Israeli security. In an interview on CNN (see video above), Barak effused appreciation for the Obama administration, saying:

I should tell you honestly that the Obama administration is backing the security of Israel — for which I’m responsible in our government — in a way that could hardly be compared to any previous administration… We know that part of it is out of the generosity and the far-sightedness of American presidents including President Obama.

“In a way that could hardly be compared to any previous administration.” Is Barak saying that Obama has done more for Israeli security that any previous American administration? It certainly seems that way, much to the dismay of those who try to paint the President as an enemy of Israel – as well as those who support the right of Palestinians to have their own independent state. (This could be a planned reaction to Israeli Opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s declaration that Netanyahu’s ‘diplomatic stupidity‘ had pushed the US into a corner.)

Obama’s Israeli credentials should now be safe. He stood up in front of the world and marched back from the declarations he made just one year earlier, refused to speak about Palestinian rights, denied any mention of 1967 borders, spoke only of Israeli security and blatantly put the United States on “the wrong side of history.”

Unfortunately, according to the Leverett duo, Obama’s professions of dedication to Israel at the UN will do nothing to stop those who seek to try to use the Palestine issue to unseat the president:

Obama advanced a tired argument that American and Israeli elites who have no interest in an Israeli-Palestinian settlement have put forward for at least the past 20 years: that it is up to Israelis and Palestinians, “not us”, to want and find their way to a peace agreement.  Obama’s posture completely begs what should be the foremost consideration for any American President:  that the United States needs a credible Middle East peace process, which actually leads to a legitimate and sustainable peace, for its own interests.  Even though this is what U.S. interests require, Obama is not prepared to do it—and only because Israel, under the Netanyahu government, does not want it…

And, while Obama abjures his responsibilities as the person (nominally) in charge of American foreign policy, for politically craven reasons, he is not even reaping any political benefit from it.  Is Prime Minister Netanyahu now going to start telling his American supporters to help get Obama re-elected?  Will his approval ratings in Israel or among ardently pro-Israel constituencies in the United States now go up?  Will Rick Perry stop running to the right of Obama on Middle East issues?

So, despite Obama’s speech, it is unlikely that the Netanyahu government will move an inch on peace with Palestine (offering negotiations while continuing to colonize Palestinian land doesn’t count) and it would be a stretch to imagine Netanyahu coming out and openly thanking Obama for his support. Moreover, the UN speech will do little to help Obama in his upcoming reelection campaign as it displayed a picture of a president who is out of touch of the will of his people, is beholden to a lobby that pushes a policy that endangers American interests, and is easily pushed around.

Obama just delivered one of the most pro-Israel speeches that the UN had seen in years. Yet how can this possibly benefit President Obama, the United States or Israel/Palestine in any way? In some ways, it seems as if President Obama is in a no-win situation. He is forever marked as hostile to Israel, no matter what he does or says. But don’t feel bad for the president, as he is leading the US, Israel and the entire Middle East further into the rabbit hole. Obama has come a long way from the man who inspired hope for a lasting peace in the region only one year ago. Indeed, Obama has evolved from a president that symbolized hope (remember that peace prize?) into perhaps the most pro-Israel president the US and world has seen.


9 thoughts on “Is Obama the Most Pro-Israel President Ever?

  1. I mean you set the bar rather oddly…”One of the most pro-Israel speeches that the UN had seen in years?” To be fair the UN is more democratic platform and the majority of states are fed up with Israel’s activities, so it is not a forum where you will hear it.
    To your point about if Obama is this or that friend to Israel, I think it is out of context. You (we) are thinking about the issue in a very “Obama-centric” mindset. Lyndon Johnson allowed Israel to start the war and occupy the territories with massive US funding, in addition let over 30 Americans die by Israeli deliberate fire. He also had many resolutions vetoed for Israel involving Jerusalem and allowing the UN to potentially internationalize or at least get the Israelis out. Also he allowed the annexation of Jerusalem.
    Nixon and Ford gave vast amounts of arms, vetoes for Israel, including the most important one in January 1976 which was basically verbatim the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 in the UN.
    Carter legitimized the occupation in the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan by not forcing Begin to adhere to Camp David which was nice in the first place. Carter also allowed military operations in Lebanon that killed hundreds, if not thousands.
    Reagan allowed the annexation of the Golan, the invasion occupation of Lebanon, Sabra and Shatila, the crackdown of the 1st Intifada, the deportation of Palestinians to Lebanon (to be fair, there is a chance this is Bush I), settlement expansion, and the Israeli bombings in Iraq, and Tunis.
    Bush I allowed a greater crackdown on the Intifada, settlement expansion, etc. Also he was the first president to actually put in motion the idea of putting the US embassy in Jerusalem.
    Clinton allowed Israel to get away with Oslo, allowed targeted killings, created the narrative about Camp David, allowed Netanyahu to dug under Al-Aqsa, let Sharon go to the Dome of the Rock, started the US support for paramilitary Palestinian factions, wanted to legalize settlements, biggest settlement expansion ever, helped Israel play Syria and the Palestinians off each other for negotiations, and gave Israel military helicopters that were used for bombing civilian infrastructures at the beginning of the second Intifada. He saw the 20-1 disproportionate killing (million bullets shot in the first day) and still gave them brand new American helicopters of which he was told were used for attacking civilian infrastructure. Also he allowed for Oslo, which favored Israel already, to be further pushed in Israel’s favor with redeployments.
    Bush II allowed Sharon a free hand in cracking down the 2nd Intifada, gave Sharon a letter promising many settlements would go to Israel, allowed Operation Cast Lead, allowed for more targeted killings, settlement expansion, the wall, the Israeli breakings of the Road Map, he helped the Sharon narrative of a national trauma about the Gush Katif settlements, he allowed and helped fund an abortive coup against Hamas after winning the election, he allowed the closure system we have today, he allowed for the Israeli change of policy for water in the Jordan Valley, expansion of the paramilitary Palestinian forces and a nice number of vetoes in the UN on ever possible issue.
    Obama has the settlement veto, the settlement freeze, this speech, his ‘Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel’ speech (although to be fair was when he was at AIPAC as a candidate), extra $10b ( or was it 30? I forget) over X amount of “aid, what else?

  2. Oh right and can’t forget about LBJs allowing of the ethnic cleansing of Egyptian Bedouin in the Sinai, the allowing of Eshkol to pay Palestinians to go to Jordan from Gaza, and the beginning of the settlement enterprise, of which he was fully aware as is noted in Gorenberg’s book “Accidental Empire.”

    1. First of all ”One of the most pro-Israel speeches that the UN had seen in years?” – paraphrased there – is a quote taken from another. See the link. And the point of the post is to dispel the notion that Obama is an enemy of Israel while pointing out that it doesn’t really matter what he says or not. He will be painted in an anti-Israel light no matter what.

      Of course, every single president since every president in the last few decades has done exactly what Obama is doing (ie basing US policy around what Israel wants.) The question of whether Obama is the most pro-Israeli is kind of useless. The title of this post is hyperbole. Is Obama the most Israel-friendly? Probably not, but he certainly much more friendly to Israel than he is given credit for.

      Nice history lesson, but somewhat irrelevant 😛

      1. “Obama just delivered one of the most pro-Israel speeches that the UN had seen in years” was from your last paragraph, if you were quoting, might want to put quotes, otherwise syntax wise it is your idea, especially since it starts a paragraph.
        For the history lesson, one I was bored, two I like to do that, three just in case others do their “well Bush did this” for a comment.

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