Jonthan Tobin on Today’s NY Times: Obama Has Shifted U.S. Policy Against Israel

Jonathan Tobin aptly characterizes, in this piece, the increasingly alarming situation currently facing Israel. He does a good job of outlining the basic reality and President Obama’s fallacious assumptions about it, as well as the President’s attempt to blur the realities (Israel’s normal construction in Jerusalem has already been characterized as an act of gross disrespect to the U.S.–a nonsensical manipulation that some Americans, including American Jews, accepted with a dismaying lack of critical thought. Next, Tobin predicts, any Israeli refusal to go along with a plan that could gravely endanger Israeli security will be cast as intransigence, ingratitude towards the U.S. and even disloyalty).

I would go even further than Tobin does in this piece and warn American Jews to resist the spin, and begin a serious campaign to highlight to our fellow Americans, including American Jews, what we might need to brace for from this Administration. It would not surprise me to hear official voices in the U.S. government start trying to characterize American Jews who stand up for Israel as disloyal, or say we are putting Israel’s interests ahead of America’s. Of course, that is utter nonsense because, as Tobin aptly points out, U.S. interests and Israel’s interests, when it comes to fighting Muslim extremists, are in reality completely aligned. It will take a serious Orwellian spin campaign to convince Americans otherwise, as such tortured logic will go strongly against the grain of most Americans’ common sense values and healthy moral instincts. It is no accident that when group-think and a gang-up mentality has seized much of the world regarding Israel, Americans have held strong in our conviction that the Jewish State has the right to self-defense and security. It will be important in the months ahead to confront the “spin-storm”  that may come our way, and to think critically about what is being put forth by the Administration regarding Israel.

There is hope for pro-Israel Americans–who are, after all, in the majority–to influence this Administration, however. This President wants to be re-elected. It is of crucial importance that Israel-supporting Americans, especially those who might have voted for Obama, make clear that he can’t take their votes for granted next time. Sadly, many voters who do care about Israel did not pay close enough attention, during the 2008 campaign, to the signs that Barack Obama would not fully understand Israel’s precarious position or entirely sympathize with its need for self-defense. This time around, there is no excuse for wishful thinking. The realities are, Israel faces an existential threat and may need to act militarily in self defense within the next two and a half years. In particular American Jews, especially those who voted for Barack Obama, must make their voices heard in support of Israel’s right to self-defense. That–and the support of other Americans–will play a strong role in this President’s decision-making regarding the mideast. If he thinks he can take the Jewish and general pro-Israel vote for granted, then American Jews will have helped to give this President carte blanche to choose a course of action–or inaction–that could jeopardize millions of lives and Israel’s very survival.

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