Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Netanyahu ‘chickenshit’ slander: Friends and allies shudder … despots and bullies rejoice, Rabbi Abraham Cooper

A top, unnamed Obama administration official calls an important leader a “chickenshit.” Was this a hard-nosed warning aimed at Ayatollah Khamenei to pressure Iran to destroy those 23,000 centrifuges before next month’s nuclear negotiating deadline? Perhaps it was a signal to the emir of Qatar, to stop being the paymaster of terrorists? Or just maybe, a well-deserved barb at our Turkish “ally” Erdoğan to stop acting like a regional bully and more like the eastern guardian of NATO?

Of course not. No one in this White House or State Department would ever deign to insult America’s enemies. Unfortunately, and too often such special treatment has been dished out against our only reliable friend and ally in a region that is rapidly self-destructing – Israel.

It is Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu who is “courageously” singled out for public humiliation by an administration official who calls Netanyahu a coward but lacks the decency to use his own name.

The immediate fallout from this slur, the State Department’s non-stop finger wagging at Israel for real and imagined sins, and the Administration’s insistence that violence-inciting, terrorists-honoring, Mahmoud Abbas is the one partner committed to peace in the Holy Land:

– Say goodbye to The Israeli Street. For a two-state solution to have any chance, Israelis have to know that the US has their back. Forget about it. The Obama Administration’s carefully calibrated rhetoric is shoving Israelis further to the right. Forget the Israeli cabinet, Israeli taxi drivers no longer trust President Obama.

– Iran, Hamas, Qatar. They are emboldened to push their anti-American, pro-terrorist, and anti-peace agendas by a leader perceived as soft in word and deed.

– American Jewry. Even those Jews whose democratic creds are deeply embedded in their political DNA, are insulted by a slur, that had it been uttered in any other country would have been denounced by the State Department’s Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism. Of course Jewish supporters of President Obama would be right to point to the President’s vital support for Israel’s defensive needs, including the Iron Dome. But even those American Jews and other critics of Bibi’s policy and style, still worry about the safety of the world’s largest Jewish community that is threatened by Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and ISIS.  Will it impact on Jewish voters next Tuesday? Useless to predict, but friends of Israel fear may have been provided a foretaste of the direction of the President’s foreign policy over the next two years.
Friends and allies are shuddering. Despots and bullies, rejoice.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center