For eight years, President Obama’s position on Israel teetered between disregard and open hostility.
The argument that it was merely a personality clash with Israel’s leadership never made any sense. He would be friendly to despots, unelected kings and tyrants, but cold and downright cruel to the democratically elected Benjamin Netanyahu.
And now Democrats are signaling they’ll uphold that legacy.
By ensuring passage of an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council, the Obama administration had left honest Americans bereft of intelligent excuses. After the UN resolution passed, the foreign-policy writer Eli Lake tweeted, “I apologize for the times I defended Obama to my pro-Israel friends. I was wrong.”
The question is: Where are the rest of the apologies? Where’s the pushback? Sen. Chuck Schumer managed to say it was “extremely frustrating” and “disappointing” that the United States didn’t veto the resolution, but is that it? Where are the writers and thinkers to call out the administration for what they are: anti-Israel? Where are the Jewish Democrats to say this new direction of the party does not represent them?
For eight years, pro-Israel Democrats defended the president at every turn. In 2012, Schumer said “the president has been for a very, very strong Israel.” Mic magazine laughably called Obama “the most pro-Israel president ever” in 2013. Any attempt to criticize the president on Israel was shut down as racist, as if that criticism implied he was secretly a Muslim.
A month before Obama was elected president in 2008, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The Atlantic that anyone “smearing Obama in the face of overwhelming evidence that the man is a great friend of Jews and of Israel” was just afraid of the “presence of an African-American in the White House.” Goldberg kept that defense going even after the relationship eroded, and he kept “a running list” of insults that Obama-administration officials had lobbed at Netanyahu, including when they mocked him as too “chickensh- -t” to start wars.
Even now, Goldberg’s criticism is mostly of Netanyahu — blaming the victim.