UPDATE: Fortunately, Congress is taking a different path towards Israel than the Obama administration. While the President and his team are taking an increasingly hard line against the Jewish State, an overwhelmingly bipartisan consensus in Congress is standing strongly with Israel. On Tuesday for example, “the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution on Tuesday condemning the Goldstone Report, that accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, and calling on the Obama administration to oppose its endorsement. 334 representatives voted for the resolution while only 36 voted against and 22 abstained.” This bodes well.
(Jerusalem, Israel) — If I had to rank the most pro-Israel leaders in the Western alliance right now, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would top the list. President Obama wouldn’t even be on the list.-
Last Friday night, I gave an address to the Christian Embassy banquet in northern Virginia. The title of my talk was, “Train Wreck: The Coming Collision of U.S.-Israeli Relations.” With deep concern and regret, I noted that just as the Iranian nuclear threat is worsening, we are currently witnessing the worst strains in U.S.-Israel relations in memory.
- Before January, polls showed 88% of Israelis believed President Bush was pro-Israel.
- In May, a Jerusalem Post poll found that only 31% of Israelis believed President Obama was pro-Israel.
- By August, a Jerusalem Post poll found only 4% of Israelis believed President Obama was pro-Israel.
Israel’s plummeting confidence that the White House truly understands their security needs and will stand with them as a faithful ally is the results of numerous actions and statements by the President and his senior advisors.
- During the primaries, then-Senator Obama described Iran as a tiny country that didn’t pose much of a threat, and vowed to enter direct talks with Iranian leader Ahmadinejad and senior Iranian officials without preconditions. He later said Iran was a “grave threat,” but his initial analysis raised real doubts about his understanding of the situation.
- As President, Mr. Obama seems determined to pursue a policy of “direct engagement” with Iran in the absence of any evidence that Iran’s Radical Islamic leadership wants a better relationship with the U.S. and the West — to the contrary, Iran is accelerating its nuclear and ballistic missile development programs and becoming more belligerent towards the U.S. and Israel.
- President Obama refuses to impose crippling economic sanctions on Iran, despite the revelation of a third secret Iranian nuclear facility, this one located on a military base near the religious city of Qom.
- In May, Gen. James Jones — the President’s national security advisor — appeared on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopolous and referred “Israel’s preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat” — preoccuption? That’s like pooh-poohing Jewish “preoccuption” with Hitler in the late-1930s.
- In May, CIA chief Leon Panetta was sent to Israel reportedly to warn Israeli leaders not to launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities without permission from the U.S., though he offered no proof the U.S. had an effective strategy to stop Iran from getting the Bomb.
- In the summer of 2009, President Obama did precious little to support the Reformers on the streets of Tehran after a rigged “re-election” of Ahmadinejad, and said he refused to “meddle” in other countries’ affairs.
- Yet the Obama administration seems perfectly willing to “meddle” in Israeli affairs.
- Gen. Jones told a European diplomat in May that President Obama “will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel that we have been under Bush.”
- Since then, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special Mideast envoy George Mitchell has applied intense pressure on Israel to stop building, improving and expanding Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
- President Obama has also called for a comprehensive final peace treaty in which Israel returns to the 1967 borders, a requirement that would force Israel to divide its capital city of Jerusalem and give up the strategically vital Jordan Valley.
- In the fall of 2009, the Obama administration reneged on security commitments the U.S. had made to Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defenses, causing many in the U.S. and Israel to wonder if other security commitments to American allies would be respected or rescinded in the future.
- The Obama administration is doing precious little to persuade the world to denounce and then ignore the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, which essentially charges Israel with war crimes for defending her citizens from thousands of rocket, missile and mortar attacks emanating from Gaza. [TUESDAY: U.S. Congress poised to vote on resolution to condemn Goldstone Report]
These are just a few reasons for the meltdown in Israeli confidence in White House support for the Jewish State. But such trends have real-world effects. How could the Israeli people be expected to postpone a preemptive strike against Iran much longer if they don’t believe the White House has a serious and effective plan to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them? How could Israeli people be expected to make major concessions in return for peace with the Palestinians if they don’t fundamentally believe Israel’s most faithful historic ally will truly be there for them if the going gets rough?
On April 14th of this year, I said on the Glenn Beck show that I believed we were witnessing a coming “train wreck” in U.S.-Israeli relations over the Iran and Palestinian issues. The situation has only worsened since then.
That’s why I’m in Israel for the next few weeks, leading a Joshua Fund “prayer & vision trip” — to better understand the dynamic that’s underway, and to mobilize evangelical Christians in the U.S., Israel and around the world to bless Israel in real and practical ways, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray for wisdom for Israeli leaders, and pray for a change of heart in the Obama administration. The tour begins Friday. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, and would be grateful for your faithful and continued prayers for these issues as well.
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Israeli police arrest new suspect in Jewish terrorist case
- Israeli Military Intelligence Chief: No possible civilian use for secret Iranian nuclear facility in Qom
- Wall Street Journal Column: When No Means No: Pleading with Iran will get the West nowhere — “I once overhead a guy try to make a date over the phone. His end of the conversation went roughly as follows: ‘How about Friday?’ (Pause.) ‘Not Friday? Because I’m free most of the weekend.’ (Pause.) ‘Not this weekend? What about next Saturday?’ (Pause.) ‘Are you free at all next week?’ (Long pause.) ‘Well, are you ever free?’ Apparently she was not, at least as far as he was concerned. Now it’s the turn of the Obama administration to play the guy who won’t take a hint. And it falls to the Islamic Republic of Iran to be the girl who’s hard—actually, impossible—to get….”
- Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says Hamas rockets can now reach Tel Aviv
- Merkel: Iranian threat to Israel threatens us all — German chancellor addresses US Congress, says ‘nuclear weapon at the hands of an Iranian president who denies the Holocaust, threatens Israel and negates its right to exist is simply unacceptable’
- IDF executes largest-ever terror attack simulation
- North Korea claims to expand arsenal of atomic bombs
- WSJ: Waiting for Obama: Hamid Karzai isn’t the biggest problem in Afghanistan.
* LEARN: The Inside The Revolution film on DVD is available for 20% off at Barnes & Noble
* LEARN: Sign up for Joel’s email alerts with geopolitical analysis on trends in Israel and the Middle East, Joshua Fund project updates and prayer requests
* PRAY: Join Joel’s “Epicenter Team” on Facebook
* GIVE: Would you like to help The Joshua Fund educate Christians about God’s love for Israel, as well bless Israel and her neighbors with food, clothing, medical supplies and other relief aid, especially as we pray for peace and prepare for the growing possibility of a war with Iran? A gift of $50, $100, $250 or more would make an enormous difference, as would becoming a monthly financial partner. Learn more at www.joshuafund.net.
* GO: See Joel speak at the 2010 Break Forth Conference in Edmonton, Canada January 29-31. Other headliners include Michael W. Smith, the Newsboys, Anne Graham-Lotz and Lee Strobel.