For several weeks this summer, President Barack Obama and his State Department insisted that Israel a) reach a cease-fire with Hamas, after the Palestinian terror group started a war; b) restrict its aerial bombing of Hamas targets, so as to minimize the risk of civilian casualties; and c) negotiate under fire with Qatar and Turkey, two countries that have funded and encouraged Hamas. Now, however, the shoe is firmly on the other foot.
The United States is at war with ISIS–though the Obama administration insists its campaign is not a war–and is bombing targets inside Syria. Not only is it accidentally hitting the wrong Syrian forces, but the U.S. is also reportedly killing civilians (inadvertently). In fact, as Yahoo! News reported Tuesday, the White House is easing up on the “strict standards” it imposed last year on avoiding civilian casualties to free its hand in Syria and Iraq.
After enduring so much abuse and condemnation from Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, White House spokesman Josh Earnest and Foggy Bottom flacks like Marie Harf, Netanyahu might be expected to demand an apology. David French of National Review agrees, noting that Obama’s “rhetorical attacks on Israel were not only baseless as a matter of law, they were morally bankrupt”–and, one might add, strategically self-defeating.
The Times of Israel is predicting a warm, fuzzy and forgiving atmosphere between the two at a meeting scheduled Wednesday–just two days after a blistering speech by Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly that countered much of what Obama claimed the week before about the connection between ISIS and Islam itself. Perhaps so–Bibi still needs Obama to shift on Iran. But there may be tougher words in private than in public.
An American president should never feel compelled to apologize. But Obama has already, it seems, apologized to everyone else–most recently to the UN General Assembly for events in Ferguson, Missouri. Making things right with Netanyahu–who, after all, is not pounding the podium in public about American-caused civilian casualties–seems to be the least Obama could do to repair a troubled, fraying yet absolutely essential alliance.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak