Capital concern

White House's relationship with Israel is at a pitiful low

“Under my administration we haven’t just preserved the unbreakable bond with Israel, we have strengthened it.”

 

– President Barack Obama

 

Yes. Relations are so good between the Obama administration and Israel that Mr. Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, recently hemmed and hawed and refused to acknowledge that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem.

Two reporters peppered Carney to simply state the capital of Israel at a recent press briefing. He ultimately refused, insisting “our position hasn’t changed,” and that the position was well-known.

The second reporter to ask the question insisted it’s not well-known.

The administration may have dodged the question because the answer is controversial in the Arab world, which lays claim to Jerusalem as well.

But if our “unbreakable bond” with Israel has been “strengthened” under Mr. Obama’s watch, why can’t his administration merely acknowledge the country’s capital?

The answer may not be pleasant for the president’s men to say or for Jewish voters to hear.

Early this year, Aaron David Miller, of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Middle East negotiator under both Republican and Democratic administrations, opined that “Barack Obama has an Israel problem. ... (T)he U.S.-Israel relationship may be in for a bumpy ride. ...

“Unlike his two predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama isn’t in love with the idea of Israel.”

Miller also writes of “Obama’s poisonous relationship with Netanyahu. Obama doesn’t like him, doesn’t trust him and views him as a con man.”

So, to say our “unbreakable bond with Israel” is stronger under Obama is a cynical farce.

Why can’t the president’s spokesman even let the name of the Jewish state’s capital pass his lips? Is it that distasteful to this bunch?

This is not an insignificant matter. With an Iranian regime bent on nuclear weapons and on record hoping to wipe Israel off the map, and with the “Arab spring” threatening to evolve into a dark autumn of Muslim extremism, the Jewish state is facing an existential crisis perhaps greater than at any time in its history.

Meanwhile, anti-Semitism is still so rife in the world that the International Olympic Committee refused to observe a moment of silence this year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics that killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

To this point, the United States has been Israel’s greatest ally and chief protector. But in word and deed, this president has appeared to back away from this special relationship – publicly rebuking Israel for new settlements and calling for a return to its pre-1967 borders. Such things would have been unthinkable by prior U.S. presidents, and for good reason: Israel is the only stable democracy in the entire region, and the only one that shares American values.

The relationship between this administration and Israel is the worst in that country’s turbulent history.

Improving it might start with acknowledging the country’s capital.

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