I See Dead People

When I watch the marchers in Charlottesville, VA chant “Jews will not replace us,” I see the marches of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.

When I hear the president of the United States say “you didn’t build that“, I see the words of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf debasing Jews that they are manipulators who profit off the work of others.

When I watch the United Nations pass resolutions with America’s approval, that Jews living in the eastern part of their homeland is illegal, I think of the ghettos limiting where Jews were allowed to live.

When I hear of countries in Europe pushing to ban kosher meat and circumcision, I think of the Greek-Syrian laws in the Jewish holy land 2200 years ago, pressuring to destroy the spirit and religious practices of the Jewish people.

When the world cannot utter a word about Palestinian laws calling for the death penalty for any Arab selling land to a Jew and about the leadership which calls for a Jew-free state, I think of the pogroms throughout the centuries in Russia and Europe, and the concealed mass Jewish graves which fill the forest floors.

When I watch universities in the United States passing resolutions targeting a boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) of the only Jewish State, I think of the Nazis boycotting Jewish stores.

An den Fenstern j¸discher Gesch‰fte werden von Nationalsozialisten Plakate mit der Aufforderung “Deutsche, wehrt euch, kauft nicht bei Juden” angebracht.

When I watch European and United Nations leaders encouraging Hamas and trying to merge it into a Palestinian unity government, I think of British leader Neville Chamberlain meeting with Hitler in 1938.

When I hear members of the U.S. Congress say that Jews are buying off politicians because they support Israel more than they care about America, I think about leading industrialist Henry Ford republishing the forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion to foment widespread Jew-hatred.

When I see European countries labeling products made in Israel and Israeli territories, I see Nazis forcing Jews to wear yellow Jewish stars on their clothing.

When I see the United Nations stand by as terrorists use their schools to store and launch rockets into Israel, I think of the U.N. pulling its troops out of the Sinai in 1967 as Israelis dug mass graves in the center of Jerusalem as they prepared to be attacked.

When I read about Jewish groups actively lobbying to dismantle U.S. support for Israel, I think of the zealots of 2,000 years ago who helped destroy the Second Jewish Temple.

When I hear the Democratic candidates for president embrace vile anti-Semites like Linda Sarsour and Louis Farrakhan, I think about the Ku Klux Klan’s David Duke’s run for the presidency.

When I see “intellectuals” addressing the United Nations that Jews are trying to take over the entire “Muslim” Middle East, I am reminded of Christian blood libels.

When I read the leading liberal paper of the United States demonize Israel as racist and deserving of Arab ire, I think about Joseph Goebells and his Nazi propaganda machine.

When I hear the leader of the United Nations say that Palestinian reaction to the occupation is “natural,” I see the five faces of the Fogel family, slaughtered in their sleep.

When I hear the president of the United States call for a member of congress to go back where she came from and then watch as a crowd chants “send her back” to her country which is in shambles, I think of leading White House reporter Helen Thomas telling Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” to return to the countries which had slaughtered them.

When the United States turns away refugees and asylum seekers, and the press will not discuss the British White Paper which cost over 100,000 European Jews their lives, I note the press’s preference that only certain havens are considered acceptable, and the Jewish homeland isn’t  an appropriate one for Jews.

When I watch 58 members of the United States Congress walk out on the address of the Israeli Prime Minister who was alarmed at the advancement of a deal which would enable a country which had called for its destruction to have a legal pathway to nuclear weapons, I see something frighteningly new: I see the active arming of terrorists with weapons of mass destruction by the Israel’s closest ally.

When I hear the echoes of hatred as loud and as clear as the original voices, I see dead people.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Between Right-Wing and Left-Wing Antisemitism

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The new Blood Libel.

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The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address on January 12, 2016.  He gave an outline of a speech in four parts: economic opportunity; technology; a safe America; and politics, as he projected a future world ten-plus years out.

obama 2016 SOTU
Obama State of the Union Address
January 12, 2016 (photo:  M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO)

Safe America: Regarding a safe America, Obama continued to limit his global enemies to two parties: al Qaeda and ISIL/ Islamic State. Other countries that shout “Death to America! Death to Israel” like Iran were not labeled enemies that threaten the USA.  Obama mentioned Iran just a single time, when he extolled the “principled diplomacy” that “avoided another war.”  That may have been true in 2015.  But the future in ten-plus years that he facilitated, is a nuclear weapons-armed Iran.

A fanatical, anti-Semitic, America-bashing country with weapons of mass destruction is not a recipe to “keep America safe.”  Unless, of course, Obama has banked on Iran limiting its attack only against Israel, as he doubts that Iran would consider attacking the “most powerful nation on Earth.

Politics of religions: When Obama delved into politics, he not-so-subtly put Donald Trump in his crosshairs as he said “When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer.  That’s not telling it like it is.  It’s just wrong.  It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.  It makes it harder to achieve our goals.  And it betrays who we are as a country.

Obama berated Trump for his comments about Muslims in the past. This time, he extended his comments passed the politics of Trump, to anti-Muslim actions in the United States generally.  While he repeated prior statements that anti-Muslim actions betray the values of the United States, he added the dimension that Islamophobia “diminishes us in the eyes of the world.”  The two additions are noteworthy.

As detailed in “Ramifications of Ignoring American Antisemitism” an average American Jew is over TWICE as likely to be attacked as either a Muslim or black American.  Yet anti-Semitism is never flagged by Obama.  That is actually too kind.  Anti-Semitic attacks are often whitewashed by the Obama administration, such as his denial that Jews were targeted in Paris in January 2015.

Obama’s SOTU remarks add some color to his blindness.  He is concerned that Islamophobia “diminishes us in the eyes of the world.”  Not so anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism has a long history in the world.  Over the past eighteen months it has reared it’s ugly head again in Europe. It is pervasive in the Middle East.  As such, flagging anti-Semitism may diminish America’s standing in the world.

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and only 16 million Jews, a 100:1 ratio.  Islamophobia upsets at least 1.6 billion people and few seem to notice or care about the more prevalent anti-Semitism.  So Obama omitted discussing anti-Semitism and only highlighted the less common attacks on Muslims.

 

In his seventh year as president of the United States, Obama finally made his views on anti-Semitism a little more clear: Jews and Israel are small sacrifices to ensure a safer America.


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Jews as a Class”

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

Bibi’s Paris Speech in Context

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

Failures of the Obama Doctrine and the Obama Rationale

Joe Biden Stabs a Finger at Israel

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Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

US President Obama spoke about the United States’ plan to admit refugees from Syria, while he was in Turkey for the G20 Summit. He spoke with emotion in his voice as he dismissed the suggestion that America would not admit Muslim refugees due to security concerns, after the terrorist attacks committed in Paris by the Islamic State killed 129 people just days before.

Obama saidwhen I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

Obama G20
President Obama speaking at G20 Summit in Turkey
(photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivals/QP)

It is interesting that Obama suddenly feels that religion should not be a test for allowing people to live in certain places.

Just last year, Obama’s White House Spokesman made the following comment about Jews moving into apartments they recently purchased in the eastern part of Jerusalem: “The US condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan by people whose agenda provokes tensions.”

Those “people whose agenda provokes tensions” were ordinary Jews moving into apartments they purchased.

The White House condemned Jews from moving into their legal residences because Palestinian Arabs were angry about having Jewish neighbors. Does Arab anti-Semitism dictate American policy or “compassion”? Why did the anger of Palestinian Arabs get an endorsement, while the concerns of Americans about their own safety get condemnation from Obama?

Obama is correct that America was founded on the principle of religious tolerance. That is who “we” are.

That Obama would uniquely advocate for the banning of Jews from living in their own homes, says who he is.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

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The Explosion of Immigrants in the United States

Immigration has become a significant topic in the United States and Europe due to comments made by US presidential hopefuls about illegal immigrants and the flight of people from the Middle East due to turmoil in that region. Here is a review of some statistics from past decades and the recent unusual dramatic increase in immigrants while the general population has slowed down.

United States 1880-1930s

The population of the United States grew dramatically over a 50 year-period from 1880 to about 1924 (a period of mass migration, “MM”), at which time the US passed the Immigration Act capping the number of people from any country. From 1880 until 1930, the population of the country grew from 50 million to over 123 million. In each decade over that time, the population grew between 15% and 26%.

Immigrants accounted for a large percentage of the growth. Over that MM time period, foreign born-residents accounted for anywhere from 12% to 15% of the US population. Almost all of these immigrants came from Europe (over 83% in each decade) and a smaller portion from Latin America (from 1 to 6%) and Asia (1 to 2%). While the 1880s had immigrants principally from Germany, United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Ireland, the following decades had immigrants principally from Italy, Russia and the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

Security: The 1880s and the 1900-1909 decade witnessed particularly large number of immigrants. In those decades, immigrants accounted for 20% of the growth in the country’s population (with natural growth accounting for 80%). However, with the outbreak of World War I and enactment of the Immigration Act, the number of immigrants was curtailed, with only 3% and 2% of the population growth stemming from immigrants in the 1910s and 1920s, respectively. Interestingly, while the war raged in Europe, the percentage of immigrants from Europe declined over this period by 4% while the percentage from Latin America grew by 4%.

One would imagine that the number of people trying to emigrate from Europe to the US would have increased during WWI, and the percentage of immigrants would have spiked above the historic 87% European figure. Instead, there was a drop-off. Were Americans concerned about the safety and security of the US? Was it fearful of importing a conflict to its shores? The severe drop-off in immigration and coinciding change of place of origin suggest that may be a factor. Another was the economy.

Economy: The decades of the 1910s and 1920s saw relatively weak average GDP per capita growth rates compared to prior decades: 1.28% and 1.27% for 1910s and 1920s, respectively. These anemic figures compared to prior decades of 1.65%, 2.04% and 2.13% in the 1880s, 1890s and 1900s, respectively. The subsequent stock market crash of 1929 and depression of the 1930s severely hurt the economy. This was probably the principle factor in the US population only growing at 7% compared to prior decades of 15% to 26% growth. Fewer jobs and a weaker economy led to fewer births and a stricter immigration policy set in place in 1924.

Decade Total Population Growth Immigrants % of Growth % Foreign-Born Americans
1880s 26% 20% 15%
1890s 21 8 14
1900s 21 20 15
1910s 15 3 13
1920s 16 2 12
1930s 7%
     
 
 
 

 

 United States 1960 – 2010

The 50 years from 1960 to 2010 saw an inversion of some of the immigration and population trends from the 1880-1930 period.

With the exception of the 1950s, every decade had a population growth that was less than from the MM period (10%-14% growth versus 15-26% in MM). Foreign-born people in the US became a rarity from the 1950s through the 1970s when they accounted for only 5-6% of the population (compared to 12-15% during the MM period).

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 removed the former quota system that capped immigration from each country.  As such the 1970s and 1980s started to see a dramatic change in the make-up of the US population. While very few immigrants came to the US in the 1960s, the 1970s and 1980s had 17% and 26% of the total population growth come from immigrants, respectively.  The 1965 Act also resulted in a dramatic change in the ethnic origins of new immigrants: they were no longer coming from Europe, but from Latin America and Asia.

Source of US Immigrants (from US Census Bureau)

Decade Europe Asia Latin America
1950s 75% 5% 9%
1960s 62 9 19
1970s 39 19 33
1980s 23 26 44

Economy: The economy in the 1960s and 1980s were the best in US history. The average per capita GDP grew 2.88% and 2.26% each year, on average, during the 1960s and 1980s, respectively. As such, the growth in the immigrant population and the changing origin of those people did not generate considerable debate or concern from Americans or politicians.

That situation changed dramatically in the 2000-2009 decade.

Security and Economy: The US population growth in the 2000-2009 decade was the slowest in American history, growing by only 6% (even lower than the 1930s). That decade witnessed the attacks of September 11, 2001, stock market internet bubble collapse of 2000, and a large scale economic meltdown and financial crisis in 2008.

Decade Total Population Growth Immigrants % of Growth % Foreign-Born Americans
1950s 19% 5%
1960s 13 5
1970s 11 17% 6
1980s 10 26 8
1990s 13 37 11
2000s 6 41 13
     
 
   

Yet, against this backdrop, the foreign-born population in the United States in 2010 grew to 13% – the same percentage as existed during the peaceful growth mode of the mass migration.  This percentage is over twice the level that existed in the country just 30 years earlier, in 1980. Astonishingly, almost half of the growth in the US is now from immigrants – a rate not realized since the founding of the country hundreds of years ago.

Consider further, that most of the new immigrants are coming from Latin America that principally speaks a single language (Spanish) in comparison to immigration from Europe or Asia that brought a diverse number of languages. Such an enormous influx of a single language could create a bilingual country.

Conclusion

In the 50 years of the mass migration 1880-1930, the country took steps to curtail immigration as the economy slowed and from World War I. Today, the US has an aggressive immigration policy during a weak economy and has significant security concerns.

It is natural for a country that focuses on its quality-of-life and feels insecure about its safety and economy to see the population have fewer children and urge for curtailing immigration.

While the US economy improved from the 2008 financial meltdown to 2015, consumer sentiment remained weak, as many Americans remained unemployed and under-employed. In addition to the weak economy, Americans watched the collapse of the Middle East through videos of the horror on their smartphones. The fear of terror coming back to the US is real.

One could argue that America had the “benefit” of slowing GDP growth in the 1910s and 1920s which pushed the country to accept many fewer immigrants. By the time the depression of the 1930s hit, there was already a 1924 immigration law in place and the reality of a slowdown in accepting new “foreigners” for a couple of decades. However, in the US today, the number of foreigners are growing at an accelerated rate for the last few decades, just as the country experienced incredible turmoil.


When a person sees the plight of refugees in the Middle East, the human and moral reaction is to extend a hand. Indeed, President Obama decided to increase the quota of Syrian immigrants from that region to 10,000 in 2016. On top of humanitarian concerns, the Democratic president scored big with Hispanics (71% to 27% in the 2012 presidential election). These facts make Obama look very in favor of accelerating immigration.

However, it is unfair to paint all people who argue for a limit on refugees and immigrants at this time as xenophobic and racist. There is a natural ebb-and-flow to immigration, which often follows the status of the economy and perceived safety concerns. Considering the current double-impact of the economy and security, and the dramatic increase in immigration over the past three decades, a review of immigration policy would appear warranted.

Congress should Vote on the Deal, not on the Disappointment nor on the President

The long saga of global bodies negotiating over Iran’s nuclear program ended a significant phase on July 14, 2015, when the parties concluded a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna, Austria. The negotiation has now entered the “approval” phase by various bodies including the US Congress. The initial reviews and comments of the JCPOA have been heated and ugly.

The Disappointment

On August 7, 2015, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote an op-ed piece entitled “3 U.S. Defeats: Vietnam, Iraq and Now Iran”. Brooks enumerated the various points that make many Americans angry about the terms of the JCPOA, specifically, the failure to realize the stated goals set out by the Obama administration:

  • Prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power
  • Dismantle the nuclear infrastructure
  • Remove their ability to enrich uranium
  • Close the Fordow Heavy water reactor enrichment facility
  • Force Iran to disclose all past nuclear activities
  • Anywhere, anytime inspections
  • No sanctions relief until all of the above have been accomplished

Brooks concluded that none of Obama’s stated objectives were realized. He referred to the agreement as a “partial surrender” to Iran that came about because of the poor tactics of team Obama.

However, that is not the question before Congress. If Congress were to vote on whether the JCPOA produced a disappointing result, the vote would be nearly unanimous (with the exception of a few Obama puppets).  But Congress is not being asked to opine if this was the best deal that could have been achieved, but whether the deal is good enough.

The President

On August 10, 2015, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against the president’s tactics in aggressively trying to sell the JCPOA. In “White House Should Leave Politics Out of Iran Deal,” Bloomberg admonished Obama for name-calling opponents of the deal war-mongers and for threatening payback against any politician who dared to vote against the deal. For his part, Bloomberg concluded that the JCPOA was extremely marginal at best, and that Obama’s forceful defense of the deal was “grossly overstating” his case.

The “especially disappointing” behavior by the White House was politics at its worst, particularly when so much is on the line, according to Bloomberg. Politicians should not vote on this significant agreement based on politics or party loyalty; they must vote based on the deal’s merits.

The Deal

On August 7, 2015, New York Senator Charles Schumer detailed his rationale for not supporting the JCPOA. He analyzed the deal based on three criteria:

  • Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons over the next ten years
  • The position of Iran’s nuclear capabilities at the sunset of the deal
  • The cost of the agreement in terms of giving Iran sanctions relief

In terms of the negotiating team’s primary mission of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Schumer stated that there “are serious weaknesses in the agreement,” including the lack of anytime-anywhere inspections and that the US would need approval of a majority of China, Russia and the Europeans to enforce inspections. Overall, he thought the deal’s terms were not compelling.

On the second point, Schumer was even more negative and stated “we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.

Regarding the non-nuclear components of the deal, Schumer was extremely clear in opposing the enablement of a state-sponsor of terrorism to obtain billions in funds and access to ballistic missiles: “When it comes to the non-nuclear aspects of the deal, I think there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one.”

Senator Schumer analyzed and articulated his assessment of the deal. He avoided voting based on the deal’s disappointment, and based on his president’s rhetoric.

Schumer
NY Senator Charles Schumer
(photo: Getty images)

Vote Ramifications

President Obama has stated that the only alternative to this deal is war. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that there is no “better deal” out there nor is there an opportunity to renegotiate this one.

Yet, those claims are far from clear. Based on behavior of both Obama and Kerry, it would be easy to conclude that these are just their opinions dressed as facts as they attempt to forcefully push through the JCPOA.

There is no clear answer as to the impact of the US voting down the JCPOA.  While procedurally, it is understood that Obama outmaneuvered Congress in only needing one-third instead of a two-thirds vote to secure his deal, what happens if Congress does manage to have the votes?  Obama claims that Iran gets the best of all worlds and gets sanctions relief from the rest of the world while it moves forward with a nuclear program.  That is hard to imagine. That inherently implies that the rest of the world doesn’t care if Iran has nuclear weapons and it is only the USA that is applying the pressure.  If Obama really believes that, then a negative US vote is an opportunity to renegotiate.

Conclusions

Disappointment: The JCPOA is clearly a disappointing result, especially considering the many years that tough sanctions were imposed on Iran as well as the severely depressed recent price of oil applied intense pressure on the regime that will be hard to ever replicate. Together with significant American troops next door in Afghanistan, the P5+1 had tremendous leverage to force complete capitulation by Iran.

The President: Obama is overselling his weak deal as a “strong deal” (in his words) and is bullying his fellow Democrats into submission. If the deal is as strong as he claims, it should be able to stand on its own merits.

The Deal: The deal by itself seems borderline at best. Perhaps it is better than nothing- but only if it costs nothing. The significant sanctions relief and various deal terms make the marginal deal appear unacceptable.

Ramifications: Congress must vote on the deal based on its merits and not based on the disappointing terms nor Obama’s threats. But it must also better understand the ramifications of rejecting the deal.  Kerry’s losing face is not a reason to alter one’s vote on something so important.

Congress and the American people must understand the actual ramifications of turning down the JCPOA without the aggressive salesmanship of the White House.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

The Obama Administration Lays Foundation of Blame at Israel for a Potential War with Iran

Obama’s White Lie on his Red Line

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

The New Nuclear Normal

Some Global Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

Obama’s bright white lie on his red line.

US President Obama gave a speech about the broad support the Iranian deal enjoys: “because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and nonproliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors who served under Republican and Democratic presidents support it.

There are others that strongly support the deal too that Obama failed to highlight:

  • Syria’s president Basher al-Assad, the man who has waged a war with this own people that has killed over 220,000 people thus far told the Iranian leader: “In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.
  • Hezbollah, the terrorist group in Lebanon was impressed that Iran now had “global recognition as a member of the nuclear club.
  • David Duke, the former member of Congress and head of the KKK was happy that the Iranian deal would likely keep Israel from attacking Iran

assad_iran_083013_1385159834190

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Tehran 25 January 2001.(photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

 

As part of this agreement, Iran will get funds in the range between Obama’s estimate of $56 billion to as much as $150 billion.  Not surprisingly. this makes the various terrorist entities that are financed by Iran quite happy including (parenthetical is the year when placed on the US State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations):

These Iranian-backed terrorist groups are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians and continue to destabilize the Middle East and beyond..

In Obama’s attempt to sell the Iranian deal, he cited many allies that endorsed the deal while specifically avoiding mention of America’s enemies that also support it.  How does one account for the fact that both US allies and foes celebrate the deal? Is the deal actually beneficial to all of the parties, or do some countries simply not understand the deal’s details?

  • The Western world gets to curtail Iran’s nuclear program and avoids a war in the near-term
  • Iran gets to avoid a war, keep its nuclear infrastructure intact, global legitimacy, does not have to change its behavior regarding backing terrorism, and gets tens of billions of dollars in cash
  • Iran’s allies get access to funds and arms from Iran in the near and medium-term, and potentially a nuclear-armed Iranian-sponsor in the not-too-distant future

Obama deliberately does not discuss the many enemies of the United States that support the P5+1 deal and their long list of reasons for doing so. Instead, he makes comments that it is only the Iranian hardliners (and Republicans and Israel) who oppose the agreement. By doing so, he attempts to conceal the enormous benefits granted to Iran (and its proxies) in the agreement. It is pure marketing and a bright white lie over his old red lines.

do not enter
A bright White Lie over a Red Line
(Do Not Enter)


The party Obama highlighted as not being happy with the deal is Israel. A few reasons:

  • Iran will be allowed to continue to call for Israel’s annihilation
  • Iran will have billions of dollars that will not be constrained in any manner from funding terrorist groups that target Israel
  • Iran will get access to a range of ballistic missiles in as little of five years
  • Within 10-15 years, Iran will be a threshold nuclear state
  • The structure of the deal provides Iran opportunity to break the terms and develop nuclear weapons within ten years

In other words, there is a little something (or a lot) for everyone in the deal, with the exception of Israel.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

The Obama Administration Lays Foundation of Blame at Israel for a Potential War with Iran

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

O’bama, Where Art Thou?

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

For Obama, Israeli security is not so time-sensitive

Missing Netanyahu’s Speech: Those not Listening and Those Not Speaking

Obama’s Friendly Pass to Turkey’s Erdogan

US President Barack Obama has made some interesting friends in office. Those friends get some special attention, and often more importantly, benign neglect.

Among the five world leaders that Obama highlighted as his best friends was the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Over Obama’s tenure as president, Erdogan served as both the Turkish Prime Minister and President.  This weekend, elections in Turkey could help cement his power as he attempts to remake the country’s constitution.

One would normally congratulate Obama on aligning himself with such a powerful leader, particularly one with a significant presence in the Muslim world. Such an ally could help the United States advance American interests in the volatile Middle East.

erdogan obama
US President Barack Obama talks with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a family photo at the G20 Summit in Cannes on Nov. 3, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Turkey’s “Help” in The Middle East

Turkey sits geographically as a bridge between the European and Asian continents.  Turkey borders the volatile countries Syria and Iraq, both of which are consumed by war, where Obama has expressed a US interest.

Turkey’s geographic position and large army make it a potential important ally for the US in the fight against the Islamic State.  However, despite the good terms between Obama and Erdogan, Turkey has not been a good partner in this regard.  As relayed by The Guardian October 2014: “The US is especially angry with Turkey because it is a Nato ally and yet it has refused to provide even basic logistical assistance to the US-led coalition.” It took many months for Turkey to agree to even begin training Syrian forces in Turkey to fight ISIS.  Turkey’s efforts continue to be minimal.

Erdogan’s Values

If Turkey hasn’t been so helpful to American interests, perhaps Obama’s friendship is based on shared values.

As reviewed in “The Churlish Turkish Leadership“, Erdogan has moved his country to the far right into the deep religious Islamic sphere. He has curbed the freedoms of press and expression dramatically over his tenure. Are those shared American values? Obama’s values?

A Friend With Benefits: Erdogan

Despite Erdogan’s lack of assistance to America and suppression of human rights, Obama has treated Erdogan rather nicely:

  • There were no ramifications to Turkey from withholding support in the fight against ISIS
  • There were no ramifications from Erdogan’s suppression of human rights
  • Obama has issued no statement about Turkey’s illegal occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974, which is deemed illegal by the United Nations and not recognized by any country other than Turkey.
  • When Erdogan said the “Zionism was a crime against humanity” in February 2013, the White House merely condemned the statement, but did not threaten any action against Turkey.
  • In May 2015, in the week before elections, Erdogan stated that he sought Turkish unity (with the Kurds) in liberating Jerusalem just as our forefathers went together to liberate Jerusalem with Saladin, we will march together on the same path“, in a comment that did not even get a response from the Obama administration.

It would appear that Obama is fine with Erdogan despite the lack of Turkish support for American policies or values.

A Friend without Benefits: Netanyahu

Obama’s relationship with Erdogan is in sharp contrast to the way Obama treats the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

While Obama claims that the US and Israel are strong allies, his policies appear to be based more on personal friendships.  For Obama, friendship is showing he works for them and not what his friends do for the US. “I think that if you ask them — Angela Merkel, or Prime Minister Singh, or President Lee, or Prime Minister Erdoğan, or David Cameron would say, we have a lot of trust and confidence in the president. We believe what he says. We believe that he’ll follow through on his commitments. We think he’s paying attention to our concerns and our interests,”

Obama will likely continue to show benign neglect to the demagogic statesman from Turkey who makes vile attacks against allies and quells the rights of the people in Turkey.  Conversely, Obama has demonstrated that he will berate and lecture the Israeli leader about “values” and take actions that threaten the country’s existence.

Troubling trends based on personal preferences.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Turkish Hypocrisy – Erdogan’s Line of Defense

New York Times Talking Turkey

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

On May 21, 2015, Jeffrey Goldberg from The Atlantic published an interview with US President Barack Obama on ISIS, Iraq and Israel. Here is a review of Obama’s comments on Israel and his deliberate attempt to minimize his threats to Israel. It would appear that the president needs a reminder that the primary Jewish value is the sanctity of life.

 obama the atlantic
Photo of President Obama from The Atlantic May 2015

 

OBAMA’S CLAIM OF JEWISH SUPPORT AND
PRO-ISRAEL POSITIONS

  • 1)  Obama stated that he enjoys broad Jewish support.I consistently received overwhelming majority support from the Jewish community, and even after all the publicity around the recent differences that I’ve had with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the majority of the Jewish American community still supports me, and supports me strongly.

Comment: Obama’s Jewish support has declined considerably. Obama received weaker Jewish support than any of the recent Democratic candidates for president (going back to the loser Michael Dukakis in 1988).

  • 2012 Obama 69%
  • 2008 Obama 78%
  • 2004 Kerry 76%
  • 2000 Gore 79%
  • 1996 Clinton 78%
  • 1992 Clinton 80%
  • 1988 Dukakis 64%

Obama’s poll numbers continued to collapse among Jews, especially during the six months prior to the interview. The latest Gallup poll had Obama’s approval rating among Jews at 54%, only 8% above the national average. That was the narrowest gap ever in Obama’s presidency. This precipitous drop-off coincides with Obama’s decision to encourage 58 Democratic loyalists to walk out on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the joint session of Congress

  • 2)  Obama said “political” opportunists are portraying him as anti-Israel and anti-Jewish because he questions Israel’s policy regarding Palestinians. there has been a very concerted effort on the part of some political forces to equate being pro-Israel, and hence being supportive of the Jewish people, with a rubber stamp on a particular set of policies coming out of the Israeli government. So if you are questioning settlement policy, that indicates you’re anti-Israeli, or that indicates you’re anti-Jewish. If you express compassion or empathy towards Palestinian youth, who are dealing with checkpoints or restrictions on their ability to travel, then you are suspect in terms of your support of Israel. If you are willing to get into public disagreements with the Israeli government, then the notion is that you are being anti-Israel, and by extension, anti-Jewish. I completely reject that.

Comment: Obama’s critics and his collapsing poll numbers are about OBAMA’s policies regarding Israel, not Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians. Obama’s poll numbers among Jews were fairly consistent during his first term, but with a downturn which could be attributed both to his criticisms of Israel’s permitting Jews to live anywhere they choose as well as the Democrat’s gutting of their pro-Israel platform in 2012. The more precipitous drop in Jewish support for Obama had to do with his Iranian nuclear negotiations and his treatment of the Israeli PM during that time.

Comment: Obama is being a hypocrite by stating that his “public disagreements with the Israeli government” should not be construed as anti-Israel, while Netanyahu’s public criticism of Obama’s policies were attacked. Obama has criticized Israel repeatedly on the world stage for Israel’s handling of disputed lands. However, when Netanyahu disagreed with Obama, it was over a matter that was an existential threat to Israel. Yet Obama chose to belittle Netanyahu’s argument and berate the Israeli leader.

  • 3)  Obama believes that Israel is simply a safe haven for Jews.There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law. These things are indivisible in my mind

Comment: Obama has never internalized that Israel is THE homeland of the Jewish people. There has always been an important and significant disconnect that Obama has about Israel: Israel is not simply a safe haven where Jews are “free of discrimination and persecution.” Such a safe space could have been created in Uganda too. Israel is not just “a homeland” as if Jews had been self-governing in many other places on earth for centuries; as if the Jewish religion did not have an exclusive and unique relationship with the holy land. Israel is THE homeland of the Jewish people as it has been for 3700 years. That is why the San Remo Conference in 1920 specified Palestine for the Jews.

  • 4)  Obama has hung all of his pro-Israel credentials on his support of Israel militarily.I have maintained, and I think I can show that no U.S. president has been more forceful in making sure that we help Israel protect itself, and even some of my critics in Israel have acknowledged as much.

Comment: Obama’s goal for Israel is not particularly unique. Obama has stressed that the Iraqi government needs to protect Iraq; the Afghani government needs to protect Afghanistan, and so on. Obama has sought to pull American forces out of conflict zones and put the onus on the local governments to protect themselves. That is a broad Obama policy decision – with which one can agree or not regarding America’s role as the world policeman.

What is not subject to debate, is that the policy is not unique and is hardly the great shining example for Obama to underscore as his complete bona fides in being pro-Israel. His stance for Israel’s security is part-and-parcel of his broad position regarding military support and cooperation around the region.

 

OBAMA’S DOUBLE STANDARDS
AND THREATS

  • 5)  Obama was highly critical of Netanyahu’s comments as being counter to Israel’s democratic laws. Obama came out forcefully against Netanyahu’s comments to get out the vote when Bibi feared he was losing the election. “what I [Obama] did say is that when, going into an election, Prime Minister Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch, or there [was] discussion in which it appeared that Arab-Israeli citizens were somehow portrayed as an invading force that might vote, and that this should be guarded against—this is contrary to the very language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that all people regardless of race or religion are full participants in the democracy. When something like that happens, that has foreign-policy consequences.

Comment: Obama was curiously selective in focusing on certain comments which portrayed Netanyahu only as an extremist. Obama chose to focus on Netanyahu’s comments on election eve when Netanyahu was worried he was going to lose the elections and was trying to rally groups to get out and vote for him. Obama ignored Netanyahu’s later comments which back-tracked and explained his intentions regarding election night. Obama ignored the many years that Netanyahu negotiated with the Palestinian Arabs (Netanyahu ran three prior Israeli governments). Obama ignored Netanyahu’s handing over cities to the Palestinian Authority in showing his willingness to swap land-for-peace.

Comment: Obama ignored comments from repressive regimes. Obama is putting forward sanction reliefs for Iran while the regime chants “Death to America”. Obama has back-tracked from his no nuclear capability for Iran pledge, while Iran chants “Death to Israel”. Obama pushed Israel to negotiate with acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and to release Arab terrorists convicted of murder, while Abbas celebrated the killers of innocent Israelis.

Comment: Obama ignored undemocratic regimes. Obama’s reference to Israel’s Declaration of Independence suggested that he only treats countries with liberal values as allies. How does Obama send billions of dollars to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is one of the most repressive regimes in the world?

Comment: Obama threatened Israel. While Obama ignored the many statements and long history of Netanyahu negotiating with the Palestinian Authority, and ignored the actions and statements of surrounding Arab governments, he threatened Israel. Threatening a country is a far cry from having a difference of opinion or being upset with momentary excited statements from an individual. When Turkish leader Erdogan called Zionism a “Crime against Humanity”, the White House denounced the statement but never threatened Turkey. When Erdogan called for Muslims to conquer Jerusalem, the White House was silent; no threats were issued. Indeed, Obama considered Erdogan one of his closest friends among world leaders.

As detailed in FirstOneThrough “International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu”, the relationship between Israel and the United States is both unique and not one of peers. Israel relies on the US on many levels. Therefore, Obama’s double standards for Netanyahu, coupled with Obama’s global pronouncement that he will punish the entire country of Israel, is an abuse that has angered Israel supporters around the world.

  • 6)  Obama has no issue criticizing Israel on the global stage, as he stated: “the one argument that I very much have been concerned about, and it has gotten stronger over the last 10 years … it’s less overt than the arguments that a Sheldon Adelson makes, but in some ways can be just as pernicious, is this argument that there should not be disagreements in public

Comment: Obama has double standards about criticism in public. Obama lectured Netanyahu that Bibi’s election eve comments and actions ran counter to Israel’s laws. Would Obama feel it is appropriate for Netanyahu to lecture him about America’s ongoing use of the death penalty which most of the western world abolished? Would Obama care to hear about Netanyahu’s views on how the US should treat gay marriage or gays in the military as running afoul of America’s foundation documents? Or would Obama feel that such comments have nothing to do with Israel and that he doesn’t need to listen to a lecture about his own country’s laws from a foreign leader?

Yet, when Netanyahu criticized Obama’s negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program – which poses a direct existential threat to Israel – Obama did not just get offended, but rallied his Democratic loyalists to boycott Netanyahu’s speech in D.C.

 

OBAMA’S “VALUES” RED HERRING

  • 7)  Obama received talking points from liberal rabbis. Obama’s interview was peppered with remarks specifically intended for a Jewish audience: “we creating a safe Jewish homeland, but also we are remaking the world. We’re repairing it.” Obama also said “when you show intolerance and when you are persecuting minorities and when you are objectifying them and making them the Other, you are destroying something in yourself,”

Comment: Obama learned only half a lesson from the rabbis. The phrases used by Obama are uniquely Jewish referring in English to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, and “Acher”, the Other. The choice of language was so out of place that it would be the equivalent of a Jewish person littering a conversation with “Grace”. The Atlantic’s Goldberg even made the comparison stating “Obama, when he talks about Israel, sounds like a rabbi in the progressive Zionist tradition.” The aggressive Obama sales tactic was clearly courtesy of a progressive rabbi to parrot to a Jewish audience.

Regrettably, Obama only learned (or was taught) half of the lesson. The most important Jewish value of all is the preciousness and sacredness of life. Protecting life supersedes almost every other commandment. It is precisely for that reason that Jews have turned against Obama and his poll numbers have dropped. Enabling Iran to get a nuclear weapon threatens millions of people in Israel. Obama’s threats to suddenly withhold support for Israel at the United Nations risks putting Israel’s border security and economic viability at risk.

  • 8)  Obama has higher expectations for Israel. it’s true, I have high expectations for Israel, and they’re not unrealistic expectations, they’re not stupid expectations, they’re not the expectations that Israel would risk its own security blindly in pursuit of some idealistic pie-in-the-sky notions”

Comment: Obama has double standards for Israel. There is no crime in having high expectations for someone; indeed, it is often thought of as a compliment. However, if one uses those higher expectations to punish the party, that is a form of discrimination. For example, Obama cannot make demands on Israel for preconditions for final status talks but make none on Palestinian Arabs. Obama cannot wage wars thousands of miles from his shores against enemies who cannot possibly destroy the US, while berating Israel for fighting against an enemy on its borders that threaten to destroy Israel.

  • 9)  Obama thinks there is nothing unique about Jewish values or a Jewish State.Goldberg question: you want Israel to embody Jewish values. Obama: I want Israel, in the same way that I want the United States, to embody the Judeo-Christian and, ultimately then, what I believe are human or universal values that have led to progress over a millennium”

Comment: There is one Jewish State called Israel and its Jewish Values stress the sanctity of life. Obama managed to roll Judaism into Christianity and ultimately human and universal terms. While I am sure that he intended this as a compliment, it also undermined the uniqueness of Israel.

By way of comparison, does Obama have dreams that Turkey will embody Judeo-Christian values? How about Norway or Greece? Costa Rica? He probably does, but he would never make such a statement as those countries have distinct Islamic or Christian characters. To state that he wished they embody several cultural values does several things:

  • It minimizes the difference between the religions
  • It suggests that the country does not live up to those values

Regarding the first point, Obama minimized the fact that there is only one Jewish state. While Israel has religious freedom for all, it is the Jewish homeland. Israel’s goal is not to embody Obama’s dream of a Star Trek-like future of universalism.

Regarding the second point, Obama needs to be re-educated by the progressive rabbis that coached him, about the paramount Jewish value of the sanctity of life. It is precisely for that reason that Netanyahu came to address the joint session of Congress to talk about the Iranian nuclear threat. That exact value and speech that Obama boycotted.

  • 10)  Obama thinks Jewish Values are about freedom and human rights. Obama continued from his comments above about Judeo-Christian and universal values: “The same values that led to the end of Jim Crow and slavery. The same values that led to Nelson Mandela being freed and a multiracial democracy emerging in South Africa. The same values that led to the Berlin Wall coming down. The same values that animate our discussion on human rights and our concern that people on the other side of the world who may be tortured or jailed for speaking their mind or worshipping—the same values that lead us to speak out against anti-Semitism. I want Israel to embody these values because Israel is aligned with us in that fight for what I believe to be true. And that doesn’t mean there aren’t tough choices and there aren’t compromises. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have to ask ourselves very tough questions about, in the short term, do we have to protect ourselves,

Comment: Obama doesn’t know that Israel is the most liberal country from Greece to Singapore to South Africa.  What was this Obama rant? Was there an insinuation that Israel is an apartheid state (why mention Jim Crow or Nelson Mandela)? Was there a suggestion that Israel’s Security Wall which it built to stop Palestinian terrorism in 2002 is like the Berlin Wall? Does he think that people are being tortured or jailed for speaking their mind or worshipping in Israel? Israel is a thriving liberal country in the heart of a backwards Middle East. What were these bizarre comparisons? Why does Obama say that he “wants Israel to embody these values” rather than acknowledge that it DOES embody those values?

Should Netanyahu wax about his dream for America to not shoot unarmed black people?

  • 11)  Obama claimed to understand the need for protecting Jerusalem.  As he stated above and continued: “I was the first one to acknowledge that you can’t have the risk of terrorists coming up right to the edge of Jerusalem and exposing populations

Comment: Obama lied about understanding security for Jerusalem. If Obama understood the need for security for Israel’s capital, how can he condemn Jews LIVING in Jerusalem? Why did Obama condemn Jews moving into homes they legally purchased?

How can Obama state that Israel’s development of E1 which protects Jerusalem from the east, is a bad idea that hinders a final agreement?  Obama in March 2013 to Palestinian Arabs: “You mentioned E1, in particular.  I think that is an example of at least a public statement by the Israeli government that would be very difficult to square with a two-state solution.”  E1, which connects Jerusalem to Maale Adumim, a city which every Israeli Prime Minister has always insisted on retaining, is the exact solution for keeping “terrorists [from] coming up right to the edge of Jerusalem and exposing populations.

  • 12)  Obama thinks he is a better at Jewish Values than Netanyahu.  Obama concluded the thought above with “So this isn’t an issue of being naive or unrealistic, but ultimately yes, I think there are certain values that the United States, at its best, exemplifies. I think there are certain values that Israel, and the Jewish tradition, at its best exemplifies. And I am willing to fight for those values.”

Comment: Obama continued to move the discussion away from defending Israel’s security to defending its values.  In a fitting conclusion of delusion, Obama placed himself in the center of defending Israel.  How is he doing it? By enabling Iran to get nuclear weapons and withholding support for Israel at the United Nations.  Doesn’t seem logical to you?  Well, let me explain the Obamian logic:

  • Since Obama said he has Israel’s back, you must believe him.  Just ignore that his words about preventing Iran to get nuclear capacity have been meaningless; that the Syrian red line was crossed without consequence; that Obama has ignored US’s treaties to support Ukraine and let Russia take over half of the country.
  • Since Obama said he is willing to fight for Jewish Values, you must believe him. Just ignore that he doesn’t understand that the primary Jewish value is the sanctity of life. Ignore that he thinks Israel isn’t the most democratic and humane country for thousands of miles in every direction.

Obama clearly does not appreciate the values that Israel lives each day.  If he did, he would be doing the opposite of his current actions by nixing a bad Iranian deal and by standing proudly next to Israel in international fora like the United Nations.

 

OBAMA UPSET AT BEING CRITICIZED BY ISRAEL SUPPORTERS

  • 13)  Obama knows that double standards are wrong.you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora”

Comment: Obama hasn’t internalized his own double standards for Israel.  Obama spoke about Israel’s history and the history of anti-Semitism even until today which makes it easy to align himself with Israel.  However, his personal higher expectations of Israel and the unique role that the United States has in defending Israel in international for a has made him use double standards for the country.

  • 14)  Obama feels his moral convictions and role as defender of Jewish values can let him criticize Israel without being hostile.we can have a debate, and we can have an argument. But you can’t equate people of good will who are concerned about those issues with somebody who is hostile towards Israel

Comment: Threats and actions that have dire consequences are not debates.  Of course anyone can debate and disagree (in a democracy!) The two questions are 1) how do you do it and 2) what are the ramifications.

Regarding how one disagrees, the notion of being publicly hostile and rallying party loyalist to blacklist the Israeli prime minister is NOT the way to disagree. When the animosity is so public that fellow world leaders would approach you and share their disgust with Netanyahu (French PM Sarkozy in 2011), you have clearly let it be known to the world that you seriously despise the man. Politics is an art of subtlty and getting things moivig along. Mission Failed.

To the second point, on the ramifications of disagreeing, in a civil society, people just go back to their corners and disagree. However, in this situation, the disagreement leads to Iran – which has sworn to destroy Israel – obtaining nuclear weapons. Here the disagreement has led to the threat of the US not siding with Israel at the United Nations to make Israel become a pariah state and subject to various sanctions.

This is not simply “it’s OK to disagree”. Those disagreements will seriously harm the very viability of the State of Israel. And to somehow suggest that putting Israel in grave risk REPEATEDLY should not lead anyone to question the “good will” of those people is puzzling.  To argue that the actions themselves are not “hostile towards Israel” is absurd.

 

While Obama may have won over some Israel-supporters with his heavily coached- discussion on values, the red herring he is marketing is foul.

Related First One Through Articles:

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

For Obama, Israeli security is not so time-sensitive

Bugs Bunny on Obama’s credibility in Negotiating with Iran

Red Herrings on the Red Line

Ramifications of Ignoring American Antisemitism

Summary: Despite furious discussions of attacks on blacks in America and of growing anti-Semitism in Europe, an American Jew is over two times more likely to experience a hate crime than an African American or an American Muslim.

 brooklyn attack
Torching of Jewish-owned cars in Brooklyn, NY

The last eighteen months witnessed a terrible spike in hate. In Europe, anti-Semitism filled the streets with riots and shootings in the heart of European capitals. In America, several blacks were killed by police officers which prompted protests and federal investigations into possible police bias. American Muslims protested a growing trend of “Islamophobia” as they feared being targeted due to jihadist terrorism around the world.

Yet the situation for American Jews is rarely discussed, and when it is, it is viewed as generally satisfactory, especially when compared to the rest of the world.

The statistics may surprise you.

Hate Crimes in America

The FBI compiles a list of hate crimes every year. It tracks the nature of the crime, and breaks the attacks into categories by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability and gender identity. The data is compiled from information gathered from over 15,000 law enforcement agencies around the country.

In 2013, 49.3% of hate crimes were racially motivated, while 20.2% and 16.9% were based on sexual-orientation and religion, respectively. Within the racially motivated crimes, 66.5% were targeted against blacks. For sexual orientation hate crimes, 60.9% were against gays, and for religion-based hate crimes, 60.3% were against Jews.

In total, hate crimes seemed to heavily weigh against blacks, and indeed, crimes against blacks made up one-third of all hate crimes in 2013. However, the black population is significantly larger than other minority groups.

When taking into account that Jews make up only 1.8% of the population of the United States, while gays are roughly 3% and blacks are 13.2% of the population, respectively, the relative frequency of attacks against Jews is much more significant.

There was roughly one anti-Semitic hate crime in the US each year for every 7700 Jews. That compared to an attack against gays for every 10,700 gays and an attack against blacks for every 17,600 African Americans. For Muslims, the rate was one attack per 17,000 Muslims. That means that an average Jew can expect to experience a hate crime at over twice the rate of blacks or Muslims. Jews are the most disproportionately attacked minority in the United States by a significant margin.

Fortunately, hate crimes do not often involve murder.  In 2013, 0.1% of the crimes involved murder and 0.3% were for reported rapes.  Assault (aggravated and simple), intimidation and attacks on property were the typical forms of hate crimes.

Impact on Obama’s World View

Is it possible that the relatively small number of murders that occur in US hate crimes impacts President Obama’s world view?  As Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Can there be a rational, negotiable, relatively reasonable bigot? Barack Obama thinks so.

In May 2015, President Obama had an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg where they discussed ISIS, Iran and Israel.  Obama clearly stated “that the supreme leader [of Iran] is anti-Semitic ” but he also stated firmly that the Iranian leader would not risk his country’s security in pursuit of such hatred. “At the margins, where the costs are low, they [Iran] may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest.  But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have. That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents.

Has Obama’s view of anti-Semitism been colored by the experience in the United States? Does he simply acknowledge that anti-Semitism exists, but that the “costs are low” to both the victim and the abuser?  Brett Stephens wrote convincingly that the Iranian leader’s actions are driven by a fanatical zeal which has shown it does not mind incurring very high costs.  Stephens concluded: “Maybe Mr. Obama doesn’t understand the compelling power of ideology.

I would add to that sentiment, that Obama has shown by his (in)actions in the Ukraine that the United States will not stand by obligations to support an ally, and therefore the costs to Iran will be very low. Despite commitments and treaties as outlined in the Budapest Memorandums, the US, United Kingdom and others let Russia invade and annex sections of the Ukraine without any intervention. Does Obama think that the Iranian leader doesn’t read the news?

 

In the United States, anti-Semitism remains in full force. It has remained largely “low cost” (to paraphrase Obama) to both victims and perpetrators thus far.  Under President Obama’s foreign policy, it would appear that Iranian anti-Semitism will only become a “high cost” for Israel.


Related First One Through article:

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

America’s Closed Doors

The spring of 2015 has been a tumultuous time for Americans.

Politics and debate are not new and neither are riots and war. However, it is typically the former that resides on America’s shores while the latter remains a foreign phenomenon.

Closed Doors at Home

Historically, when riots broke out in the United States, they were over isolated incidents such as after a sports game, a concert or visit of foreign diplomats. When protests had “a theme,” such as “Occupy Wall Street,” they carried on for a long time, but remained mostly non-violent. Today’s multi-city violent protests over a common cause is unusual.

The black community has had a mixed relationship with police for a long period of time. People on all sides of the political spectrum debate the reasons for the tension between law enforcement and the citizens they are there to protect. No one denies that there is a problem that is capturing more American cities, whether Ferguson, MO, Berkeley, CA or Baltimore, MD.

Liberal arguments have followed two general themes – racism and economic opportunity – which are actually one: Black unrest stems from the fact that a predominantly white populace holds positions of power. The power may be law enforcement (including the police force and lawyers), municipal government, banks or business. They argue that white people’s biases (whether overt or veiled) discriminate against black people.

The racism argument stems from the large number of arrested and incarcerated black people which is disproportionate to their population figures. The Department of Justice report on Ferguson, MO stated that Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes…. Evidence shows discriminatory intent.

Counter-arguments point to the situation in Baltimore, MD where the mayor, the majority of the city council, the head of police and the majority of the police force are black. Yet, an unarmed black youth still died while in police custody and black violence took to the streets.

Regardless of the reason, doors appear closed.

Liberals argue that metaphorical doors to economic opportunity are closed to blacks which create economic hardship and frustration. Conservatives argue that doors are naturally closed to everyone; people need to open the doors on their own.  The conservatives do not agree that metaphorical doors of progress are locked because of white bigotry.

Conservatives are focused on physical doors that are closed. Stores which were looted and burned to the ground may never reopen. Both the businessmen and community suffer from the destruction.  For their part, liberals use such conservative arguments to claim that conservatives care more about business than about the lives of black people.

But more physical doors continue to close.

The city of Baltimore imposed a curfew. It barred people from attending a professional baseball game, the first time in history that a game had no fans in the stands.  What will be next?

Closed Doors Abroad

America’s doors are closing due to violence and political snafus in other parts of the world as well.

In Yemen, the United States closed its embassy doors due to unrest in the country. The Obama administration had been using drones to attack rebel forces for many years, yet the rebels overtook the capital.  It would appear that despite America’s outreach to Iran, the Iranians continue to back rebels in Yemen who fight against American allies.

America’s allies in the Middle East are not happy with Obama.  While Obama invited the leaders of several Gulf countries to visit the White House to sell them on his Iranian nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia and other countries declined the invitation.

Just months before, it was Obama who snubbed the Israeli Prime Minister on his visit to the US, who similarly disagreed with Obama’s Iranian policy.

 

Regarding physical doors, both in the US and abroad, people are locked out of public places and embassies because the government cannot protect them. Metaphorically, America seems to be failing its citizens and allies as well.

At least Obama is focused on opening the door with Iran…. to get nuclear weapons while it chants “Death to America.”

KerryIran
US. Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian FM Zarif shake hands as Omani FM Alawi and EU envoy Ashton watch in Muscat.. (photo credit:REUTERS)