President Barack Obama claimed that he “had Israel’s back,” and his supporters defended his record in 2012 by claiming: “No president in history has done more for Israel’s security than Obama.” Yet the supposedly “most pro-Israel president” even has clamped down on American shipments of ammunition to Israel, even though the Hamas rockets keep punctuating the tenuous ceasefire and Israeli civilians remain under direct threat of attack.
Obama was reportedly incensed to find out that the Pentagon was shipping ammunition to Israel during the war, in line with previous arrangements and procedures. The White House and the State Department have now demanded that any requests for resupply be routed through them, and they have reportedly denied some of Israel’s requests already. Perceptions that Israel has been buckling at the negotiating table are now explained.
While the White House may believe it is encouraging an end to the conflict by denying Israel the weapons it needs to continue fighting, in practice it is achieving the opposite. By showing Hamas that Israel is becoming more vulnerable, it is encouraging the terror group to reject compromise and promise future conflict. Hamas has adopted a more belligerent tone in recent days–as has the Palestinian Authority itself.
Meanwhile, the much-vaunted security cooperation that Obama had used to burnish his pro-Israel credentials has now been severely damaged.
Israel’s opposition parties have seized on the rift between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a rare political opportunity. But Netanyahu is not to blame–and he has not damaged relations with the U.S.: Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Obama’s Israel policy. This is Obama’s fault.
As Times of Israel editor David Horovitz notes, Obama’s clampdown on Israel is a double betrayal. Israel left Gaza largely because the U.S., and other western nations, encouraged it to do so and offered guarantees of its security. But Obama–and Hillary Clinton–reneged on those commitments. “Right now, the sense in Israel is quite the reverse–not support, but abandonment.” America’s enemies have taken note of our inconstancy.
To paraphrase–and flip–Tom Friedman: The only question remaining when it comes to President Obama and Israel is whether he is the worst U.S. president or just one of the worst, from the perspective of U.S.-Israel relations. Actually, the question is settled: even Richard Nixon, who was no lover of Israel, shipped ammunition during the Yom Kippur War.
That deafening silence you hear is the shame of Obama’s pro-Israel supporters.