A fractured friendship?

An unusual, unwelcome chill has descended on U.S.-Israeli relations
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endured a chilly reception recently at the White House.



The good news is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing back against his foreign adversaries.

The bad news is, they work for the U.S. government.

The Obama administration has taken an almost hostile tack against the only democracy in the Middle East, most recently with condemnation of Jewish "settlements" in Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem is not a 'settlement.' It's our capital," Netanyahu told an appreciative audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington.

Both Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to say the unusual prickliness between two historically fierce allies was already behind both parties. And yet, President Obama wouldn't deign to meet with Netanyahu in public -- their meeting was closed to the press. That's a bizarre act for supposed friends.

The Obama administration's very public criticism of Israel is all the more out of proportion when one considers that the land being built upon is not seriously in question.

You have to wonder if the Obama administration is doing more than being a go-between in the Mideast -- and whether it has quietly taken sides.

We hope the administration would avoid emboldening enemies of Israel. And we would hope that in the future, this president wouldn't be so camera-shy when our best friends are in town.

Still, in a column headlined "Allies everywhere feeling snubbed by President Obama," Washington Post writer Robert Kagan notes, "Israelis shouldn't feel that they have been singled out."

The British and French, Kagan writes, don't see a special friendship here anymore. Eastern Europe is nervous after Obama overturned U.S. missile defense policy there. "Europeans in general, while still fond of Obama, have concluded that he is not so fond of them," Kagan maintains, adding that U.S. relations in Japan and India are rocky, too.

Meanwhile, Kagan points out, "The president has shown seemingly limitless patience with the Russians as they stall an arms-control deal that could have been done in December. He accepted a year of Iranian insults and refusal to negotiate before hesitantly moving toward sanctions. The administration continues to woo Syria and Burma without much sign of reciprocation in Damascus or Rangoon.

"This administration pays lip-service to 'multilateralism,' but it is a multilateralism of accommodating autocratic rivals, not of solidifying relations with longtime democratic allies.

"Israel is not the only unhappy ally, therefore; it's just the most vulnerable."

Yes. And perhaps only more vulnerable now.


Wed, 08/23/2017 - 02:02

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