Oct 22, 2021

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US President Barack Obama’s obsessive opposition to Israel of late is in keeping with his Orwellian patterns, argues Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens.

In a stinging column which appeared in the paper over the weekend, Stephens claims the Obama administration has consistently cozied up to its natural enemies while scorning its allies.

Bret Stephens (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Bret Stephens (Photo: Wiki Commons)

“There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view,” writes Stephens. “His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan ‘God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,’ just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.”

Stephens paraphrases George Orwell in 1984, describing Obama’s tenure as one in which “friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.” Obama’s ‘friends’ include the likes of Russia, despite its increasingly aggressive attitude towards Ukraine, and Syria’s Bashar Assad, who is wiping out his own people.

Meanwhile, the president seems to regard Republican senators as the enemy, at least when it comes to nuclear negotiations with Iran, and has set out on the warpath against democratically-re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama accepts the moral guidance of the questionable United Nations Security Council over that of the US Congress, and maintains ties with the virulently racist Al Sharpton while refusing to mention the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.

“The current victim of Mr. Obama’s moral inversions is the recently re-elected Israeli prime minister. Normally a sweeping democratic mandate reflects legitimacy, but not for Mr. Obama. Now we are treated to the astonishing spectacle in which Benjamin Netanyahu has become persona non grata for his comments doubting the current feasibility of a two-state solution. This, while his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas is in the 11th year of his four-year term, without a murmur of protest from the White House,” he continues.

Stephens reviews the multiple opportunities for a two-state solution squandered over the years by Palestinian Authority President Abbas, backing Netanyahu’s expressed concern over the likelihood of such a solution during his tenure as prime minister.

Yet, Stephens notes, “For continuously rejecting good-faith Israeli offers, Mr. Abbas may be about to get his wish: a U.S. vote for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. For tiring of constant Palestinian bad faith—and noting the fact—Israel will now be treated to pariah-nation status by Mr. Obama.”

Stephens does not mince words in describing the president’s actions and attitudes, saying Israel is “being treated disdainfully by this crass administration”, led by an “abusive and surly” leader.

Stephens’s advice to Israel? “The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance. On the Iranian nuclear deal, they may have to go rogue: Let’s hope their warnings have not been mere bluffs. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”