What Does Obama Gain by Snubbing Israel?

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:28 AM

By Lowell Ponte

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American politics underwent a tectonic shift this week, a change that apparently reflects a huge shift in political money and global power.

Breaking with more than half a century of bipartisan U.S. policy on the Middle East, President Barack Obama appeared to turn against our longtime ally Israel.

He called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be based on Israel retreating to its pre-1967 borders, a boundary to be altered only by "a few swaps" of land between the parties.

To those of us who have stood near the old Syrian cannon emplacements on the Golan Heights looking down on the Galilee and Tiberius, or who have landed at Israel's international airport within 3 miles of the pre-1967 border, or who understand that this would produce an indefensible Israel only 8 miles wide at its narrowest point, Obama's proposal seems bizarre.

As recently as 2005, President George W. Bush promised Israel, in exchange for new concessions, that the United States would not press Israel to return to the 1967 borders.

This week President Obama broke that pledge by our government.

Obama's new pressure on Israel, he knows, will alienate many American Jews. Jews comprise only about 2 percent of America's population, but this mostly-Democratic bloc turns out to vote, and 80 percent in 2008 voted for him.

President Obama, I believe, would have risked losing a large share of Jewish support only if he believed it could be offset elsewhere.

In 2008 he had an active outreach to America's Muslim community. One of his campaign workers stirred brief controversy by attending a gathering of radical Islamist Muslims. The number of American Muslims is growing.

A greater concern, however, is the mountain of cash an American president who turned against Israel might harvest from donors in oil-rich Muslim nations.

Obama is not the first Democratic presidential candidate to pander for Muslim petrodollars.

Sen. John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign received more than $180,000, from Hassan Nemazee. This Iranian-American investor raised a cool $250,000 for Al Gore in November 1995, and he and his family provided another $150,000 to Democrats during the mid-1990s.

Six Nemazee family members and friends (including the caretaker of his 12-acre Katonah, N.Y., estate) donated a total of $60,000 — the maximum legally allowed — to President Bill Clinton's legal defense fund.

In the closing days of 1998, Clinton named Nemazee his ambassador-designate to Argentina. Hillary Clinton embraced the Muslim moneyman at a January 1999 White House celebration of the Islamic holiday Eid.

The Senate refused to confirm the controversial nominee after a Forbes magazine investigation exposed Nemazee's questionable business dealings.

The Forbes investigation documented how, in order to get his hands on public-employee pension fund monies allocated for minority managers, the U.S.-born Nemazee had falsely claimed to be a Hispanic of Venezuelan background and, on another occasion, an Asian-Indian.

Nemazee's cynical lust for money could be frightening as well as laughable. He is a founding board member of the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), which seeks to create friendly and lucrative business relationships with the medieval theocratic dictatorship now ruling Iran.

Iran is, of course, an "axis of evil" nation that seeks to acquire nuclear weapons and is on our State Department's official list of nations that support terrorism. Nemazee sought to enrich himself by further enriching the power-mad Mullahs ruling Iran.

"The founding member of this group is Mr. Hassan Nemazee, an American of Iranian origin and one discredited, and well-known agent of the Islamic Republic, within the Iranian community in the United States," wrote opponent of the Iran regime Aryo B. Pirouznia of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran. "Their [IAPAC's] agenda in their own words is, 'how relations between the Islamic Republic and the United States can be restored in support of the Islamic Republic and the revolution.'"

From now until 2012 President Obama aims to raise $1 billion for his re-election. In 2008 the Obama campaign raised more than $450 million, with nearly half coming in contributions of less than $200 that were not required to be reported by the donor's name.

In some instances Obama staffers reportedly held handfuls of identical envelopes full of such campaign contributions.

In 2012, do not weep over how much Jewish money the president might have lost. Instead, watch to see how much Islamist and Muslim money Obama might gain by turning against Israel.


Lowell Ponte is co-author, with Craig R. Smith, of "The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us, and Seven Ways to Stop It," in bookstores this June.


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