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Would Obama Turn His back on Israel?

Lowell Ponte By Tuesday, 20 May 2008 12:44 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

We are all Israelis now.

As this month we celebrate the 60th birthday of the Jewish State, this is a fundamental lesson we should reaffirm, learned at a cost of 3,000 American lives to Islamist terrorism on 9/11.

Prior to 9/11, many questioned the hard line Israel has taken against terrorism, ignoring that Israelis understood these enemies far better than we did — and that Islamists seek our destruction as well as Israel’s.

Safe for centuries behind ocean moats thousands of miles wide that made a conquering invasion almost impossible, the United States has always enjoyed a sense of security few nations have ever known.

But now we have entered an era where a single terrorist can wield megaweapons capable of killing whole cities and millions of people.

Israel has confronted terrorist bombers and the constant threat of annihilation since its 1948 birth. We have survival skills to learn from this great modern, democratic nation.

President George W. Bush days ago in a speech before Israel’s legislature affirmed one key lesson — that appeasing enemies bent on our destruction makes our situation worse and our world more dangerous.

For reasons best known to himself, Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois responded as if President Bush’s statement was an attack on him. Mr. Bush never mentioned Sen. Obama.

Obama's foreign policy adviser, Susan E. Rice (no relation to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), in an interview last Thursday on Fox News Channel claimed that an administration official speaking to reporters on “deep background” had said Mr. Bush’s speech was an attack on Sen. Obama.

Fox reporter and interviewer Megyn Kelly almost always does an excellent job, but in this interview she dropped the ball.

“Dr. Rice,” Kelly should have asked, “since you were not one of the reporters briefed by this Bush administration official, can you tell us the name of the journalist who gave you this information? Our viewers deserve to know the source of what you’ve just claimed . . . or that they should disregard it if you do not name this reporter.”

When I was a journalist in Washington, D.C., any information given by an administration on “deep background” was to help a reporter understand administration policies and actions.

But “deep background” information was never, never, never to be published, broadcast or passed on to any other person who might publish or broadcast it with attribution to any — not even an unnamed — administration source.

If Susan Rice spoke accurately, then a powerful reporter in Washington, D.C., violated bedrock journalistic ethics and standards by passing “deep background” information on to the Obama campaign to help it win.

This unethical reporter should be identified and henceforth removed from all political reporting. He or she should be locked out of all future closed-door briefings by government officials.

Presumptive Republican presidential standard-bearer Sen. John McCain of Arizona criticized Obama as naïve for saying that as president he would “without preconditions” negotiate as equals with fanatical dictators such as the president of Iran.

Sen. Obama replied that Republican administrations had negotiated with the former Soviet Union, a regime far more dangerous than Iran.

McCain responded that this “betrays the depth of Senator Obama’s inexperience and reckless judgment. These are very serious deficiencies for an American president to possess.”

Who is more dangerous — a godless Communist who fears nuclear war and death because in his Marxist cult there is no afterlife? Or an Islamist fanatic such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who believes that nuclear cataclysm will bring the Shiite messiah and that martyrdom means eternity in heaven with 72 virgins?

Sen. Obama’s eagerness to embrace Iran’s apocalyptic ruler has elicited criticism about his lack of foreign policy understanding and experience not only from Sen. McCain but also from Obama’s also-liberal Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Neither America nor Israel can afford an American president who needs training wheels on his foreign policy.

To compound this risk, President Obama cannot rely on the competence of recent Democratic presidents to guide his uncertain steps.

Jimmy Carter is to blame for most of the Middle East’s current dangers. Carter cut off Central Intelligence Agency assistance to our most reliable Muslim ally in the region, the shah of Iran.

The resulting overthrow of the shah by Islamist theocrats begat the Iran-Iraq war and its slaughter of at least half a million people, as well as the emergence of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in command of the world's fourth largest military.

Carter’s self-righteous incompetence and weakness also invited the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which begat an Islamist resistance using terrorist tactics, one of whose leaders was a millionaire Saudi playboy named Osama bin Laden.

Thus, by his ignorance of foreign policy, Democratic President Jimmy Carter bears much of the responsibility for the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Smugly egotistical Mr. Carter — denied re-election by disgusted voters — only days ago was back in the Middle East embracing the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas.

Former Democratic President Bill Clinton also traveled to Israel for a historic celebration. But, being always a petty, point-scoring opportunist, Clinton exited the main door of Air Force One to greet Israeli leaders in front of news cameras while requiring Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to exit by a rear door.

The liberal mainstream media depicted Gingrich as reacting petulantly to Clinton’s action. But the real victim of Clinton’s childish political act was not Gingrich but Israel.

The safety of the Jewish state depends on America’s unwavering bipartisan support.

By forcing America’s highest ranking Republican to the back of the bus, Bill Clinton signaled that he put an egotistical adolescent gesture of American politics above a life-or-death symbolic reaffirmation of unified American support for Israel.

This Clinton insult to ally Israel was shameful. Israel deserves unwavering bipartisan support and faithfulness from the United States because we are all Israelis now.

Israel does not deserve would-be President Barack Hussein Obama seeking, “without precondition,” a strange bedfellow in the nuclear weapon-fabricating, Hamas and Hezbollah-funding Islamist president of Iran.

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We are all Israelis now.As this month we celebrate the 60th birthday of the Jewish State, this is a fundamental lesson we should reaffirm, learned at a cost of 3,000 American lives to Islamist terrorism on 9/11.Prior to 9/11, many questioned the hard line Israel has taken...
Tuesday, 20 May 2008 12:44 PM
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