Reblogged from http://carolineglick.com/israels-next-22-months/
The next 22 months until President Barack Obama leaves office promise to be the most challenging period in the history of US-Israel relations.
Now unfettered by electoral concerns, over the past week Obama exposed his ill-intentions toward Israel in two different ways.
First, the Justice Department leaked its intention to indict Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez on corruption charges. Menendez is the ranking Democratic member, and the former chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is also the most outspoken Democratic critic of Obama’s policy of appeasing the Iranian regime.
As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote this week at PJMedia, “It is perfectly reasonable to believe that Menendez may be guilty of corruption offenses and that his political opposition on Iran is factoring into the administration’s decision to charge him. Put it another way, if Menendez were running interference for Obama on the Iran deal, rather than trying to scupper it, I believe he would not be charged.”
The Menendez prosecution tells us that Obama wishes to leave office after having vastly
diminished support for Israel among Democrats. And he will not hesitate to use strong-arm tactics against his fellow Democrats to achieve his goal.
We already experienced Obama’s efforts in this sphere in the lead-up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the joint houses of Congress on March 3 with his campaign to pressure Democratic lawmakers to boycott Netanyahu’s address.
Now, with his move against Menendez, Obama made clear that support for Israel – even in the form of opposition to the nuclear armament of Iran – will be personally and politically costly for Democrats.
The long-term implications of Obama’s moves to transform US support for Israel into a partisan issue cannot by wished away. It is possible that his successor as the head of the Democratic Party will hold a more sympathetic view of Israel. But it is also possible that the architecture of Democratic fund-raising and grassroots support that Obama has been building for the past six years will survive his presidency and that as a consequence, Democrats will have incentives to oppose Israel.
The reason Obama is so keen to transform Israel into a partisan issue was made clear by the second move he made last week.
Last Thursday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice announced that the NSC’s Middle East Coordinator Phil Gordon was stepping down and being replaced by serial Israel-basher Robert Malley.
Malley, who served as an NSC junior staffer during the Clinton administration, rose to prominence in late 2000 when, following the failed Camp David peace summit in July 2000 and the outbreak of the Palestinian terror war, Malley co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times blaming Israel and then-prime minister Ehud Barak for the failure of the negotiations.
What was most remarkable at the time about Malley’s positions was that they completely contradicted Bill Clinton’s expressed views. Clinton placed the blame for the failure of the talks squarely on then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s shoulders.
Not only did Arafat reject Barak’s unprecedented offer of Palestinian statehood and sovereignty over all of Gaza, most of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount, he refused to make a counter-offer. And then two months later, he opened the Palestinian terror war.
As Jonathan Tobin explained in Commentary this week, through his writings and public statements, Malley has legitimized Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist. Malley thinks it is perfectly reasonable that the Palestinians refuse to concede their demand for free immigration of millions of foreign Arabs to the Jewish state in the framework of their concocted “right of return,” even though the clear goal of that demand is to destroy Israel. As Tobin noted, Malley believes that Palestinian terrorism against Israel is “understandable if not necessarily commendable.”
During Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, then-senator Obama listed Malley as a member of his foreign policy team. When pro-Israel groups criticized his appointment, Obama fired Malley.
But after his 2012 reelection, no longer fearing the ramifications of embracing an openly anti-Israel adviser, one who had documented contacts with Hamas terrorists and has expressed support for recognizing the terror group, Obama appointed Malley to serve as his senior adviser for Iraq-Iran-Syria and the Gulf states. Still facing the 2014 congressional elections, Obama pledged that Malley would have no involvement in issues related to Israel and the Palestinians. But then last week, he appointed him to direct the NSC’s policy in relation to the entire Middle East, including Israel.
The deeper significance of Malley’s appointment is that it demonstrates that Obama’s goal in his remaining time in office is to realign US Middle East policy away from Israel. With his Middle East policy led by a man who thinks the Palestinian goal of destroying Israel is legitimate, Obama can be expected to expand his practice of placing all the blame for the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians solely on Israel’s shoulders.
Malley’s appointment indicates that there is nothing Israel can do to stem the tsunami of American pressure it is about to suffer. Electing a left-wing government to replace Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will make no difference.
Just as Malley was willing to blame Barak – a leader who went to Camp David as the head of a minority coalition, whose positions on territorial withdrawals were rejected by a wide majority of Israelis – for the absence of peace, so we can assume that he, and his boss, will blame Israel for the absence of peace over the next 22 months, regardless of who stands at the head of the next government.
In this vein we can expect the administration to expand the anti-Israel positions it has already taken.
The US position paper regarding Israeli-Palestinian negotiation that was leaked this past week to Yediot Aharonot made clear the direction Obama wishes to go. That document called for Israel to withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, with minor revisions.
In the coming 22 months we can expect the US to use more and more coercive measures to force Israel to capitulate to its position.