One of president Obama’s aides, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East Colin Kahl, explained to reporters today that President Obama will not travel to Israel during his first term. Only if he’s re-elected will he visit the Holy Land. Mitt Romney, Obama’s campaign opponent, is expected to visit Israel this week.
Former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton ripped Obama for not visiting Israel earlier – the last time Obama visited Israel, he was campaigning for president, and it was an obvious ploy to attempt to draw the Jewish vote. “Obama has been in office three and a half years, and he has had time to do more fundraisers than any other first-term American president, has probably played more rounds of golf than any other president since Dwight Eisenhower, and yet he has not had time to fit into his busy schedule even one trip to Israel,” Bolton told Aaron Klein of WABC in New York.
Kahl, for his part, tried to explain away Obama’s failure to visit Israel by stating that Obama has been a big Israel supporter – an even more dubious contention. “Being a friend to Israel, at least in our view, shouldn’t be judged purely by a travel itinerary,” said Kahl. “The president has been to Israel multiple times, but more than that he’s backed up his words with feats.”
Well, no. President Obama has actually been the most anti-Israel president in the history of the State – and that’s saying a lot given Jimmy Carter and LBJ. But Obama has not only tried to force Israel into unilateral concessions to Hamas, he has banned Israel from anti-terrorism conferences, leaked military secrets to the press, and undercut Israel’s bargaining position in the non-existent peace process. That’s why Obama’s avoiding an Israel visit – he’s not likely to receive a hero’s welcome there.
Obama has a lot of explaining to do to his Jewish base. He’s losing support there. Undoubtedly he’ll find time to visit Israel just in time for the election. But that won’t explain away his consistent anti-Israel policies.