The Price of Trying to Humiliate Obama

Nitzan Horowitz
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U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak during meetings in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 5, 2012.Credit: AFP
Nitzan Horowitz

The weak denials don’t convince anyone. Israel is openly scornful of United States President Barack Obama. In addition to a barely concealed phobia against blacks, the Israeli leadership is permitting itself to attack him in the American arena, on the assumption that that’s what they think of him in his own country too. Therefore there is no destructive locking of horns with our major ally but a service that Israel is willing to perform for its friends, the “real” Americans, who are also longing to get rid of their terrible president.

Obama’s “failure” is seen by many Israelis as a fait accompli. Officials and journalists are picking up the arrogant wind blowing from Jerusalem – after all, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers himself an expert on America who can teach the Americans, in their own language, what’s good for them. But in this story Israel is the camel that doesn’t see its own hump, and it’s been a long time since Netanyahu was well informed.

Toward the end of his second term, and with the heating up of the race to elect a successor, Obama stands out as one of the most important U.S. presidents in years. While his Republican rivals, including the Jerusalem Republicans, are stuck in bitter mud-slinging, obsessed about the birth and life of the boy Barry Obama with the objective of exposing his “true” identity – not American but rather Muslim/African/Communist – as someone who serves foreign interests.

Most Americans, and certainly the Democratic electorate, with an overwhelming majority of the Jews, does not accept this nonsense. They look first of all at those who disseminate the accusations: Christian extremists who hope for Armageddon and see Obama as the antichrist; fans of the gun lobby who stockpile weapons in their basements to repel the impending invasion from Canada; the Tea Party members, champions of Trump-style capitalist greed who think that anyone who is ill and has no money is better off dying; death-penalty advocates; opponents of abortions and LGBT rights. Aside from hatred of Obama, some of them share another common interest: They’re crazy about Israel, but not so crazy about the Jews.

In the face of this shrill horror show the facts stand out. Obama managed to keep most of his election promises. These include health insurance, which even if not perfect provides tens of millions of citizens with basic coverage that they didn’t have in the past; low unemployment (5 percent, half of what he inherited) and accelerated growth that is enabling Americans to breathe a sigh of relief after the horrifying collapse of 2008 – yes, that was his main inheritance from the Republicans; an end to the deceptive war in Iraq, which achieved nothing except hundreds of thousands of dead and turned the country into a heap of ruins, the perfect foundation for the growth of ISIS craziness, another inheritance from his predecessor, on the recommendation of the security experts who know so well how to handle terror; and also same-sex marriage, cancellation of the absurd boycott of Cuba, advancing women and the largest trade agreement in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which includes 40 percent of the world’s economy.

True, it took Obama a long time to get going, and there are also promises that he didn’t keep. For example, to close the disgraceful Guatanamo Bay internment camp or to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something at which he failed abysmally. But when you look at the overall balance sheet, the picture is impressive – certainly to American eyes. That is why he was elected to a second term, in spite of his enemies there and here. Anyone who thinks to now teach the Americans what’s good for them and humiliate their leader, had better learn a thing or two from him about vision and achievements, and above all should prepare to pay: for reckless intervention in the politics of a great power, for harming the Jews due to such a mistaken choice of side, and for corrupt and cynical use of Israel’s security for the purpose of an internal American political campaign. For Israel, the outcome is already guaranteed: serious damage to its real interests.

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