During his visit to Washington this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deserves to be treated with the respect due to a top official of a key American ally — treatment clearly denied him by President Barack Obama during his last visit to the United States.
As The Times of London reported during his visit to Washington in March 2010, Netanyahu was "left to his own devices" while the president had dinner in private — something the Times called "unheard of."
"After failing to extract a written promise of concessions on settlements, Mr. Obama walked out of his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu but invited him to stay at the White House, consult with advisers, and 'let me know if there is anything new.'"
The Times added, "One Israeli newspaper called the meeting 'a hazing in stages,' poisoned by such mistrust that the Israeli delegation eventually left rather than risk being eavesdropped on a White House telephone line."
Netanyahu is to meet President Obama at the White House Friday, and will address a large gathering of American supporters on Sunday followed by a joint meeting of Congress next Tuesday. He needs to be treated with the respect due to an official of a valued ally.
One publication, Israel Today, warns that the historic alliance between the United States and its principal ally in the Middle East has cooled since the advent of the Obama administration, which seems to overlook Israel's precarious position in an area where it is all but surrounded by enemies dedicated to its utter destruction.
Israel Today reports that a former top official in the U.S. intelligence community, speaking on condition of anonymity, is convinced "that the Obama administration is about to break America's long ties of friendship with Israel, and maybe even take steps toward the dissolution of the Jewish State."
The administration is preparing to "provide more support to Arab countries [with] financial and military aid, undercutting Israel's defense efforts all while pushing Israel to succumb to the pressure of unreasonable demands designed to end with their political annihilation as a nation," the source remarked; Obama's effort is likely to be subtle, and implemented over several years.
This is nothing less than an abomination. In Israel we have just one reliable ally in one of the world's most explosive areas, and America can ill afford to allow its chief executive to treat the Jewish state shoddily.
It has also been reported that Israeli officials have lately noted what they called "a marked increase in the pressure from Washington to more rapidly acquiesce to Arab land-for-peace demands."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reported to have said that Washington is none too pleased with Netanyahu's refusal to commit to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Netanyahu's conditions for Israeli acceptance of a Palestinian state warn that should the reconciliation accord between Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian parties, lead to Hamas becoming part of a Palestinian government, no peace will be negotiated.
"A government, half of whose members declare daily their intention to destroy the State of Israel is not a partner for peace," he told the opening session of Parliament.
Past administrations, dating back to the Truman administration, have stood firmly behind the state of Israel, guaranteeing its security. That must continue to be U.S. policy.
During his visit to the United States this week, Netanyahu must be reassured that this policy remains in force under Barack Obama, and the president should treat him with respect and honor. He deserves nothing less.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com
© Mike Reagan