President Obama will be visiting Israel this spring for the first time since he was elected in 2008 even though Israel is America’s strongest, most loyal and most important friend and ally in the Middle East and is essential to the national security of the United States. This is Obama’s second trip to the region since being elected and he chose not to visit Israel the first time around for personal, political and ideological reasons. The visit will probably take place around the end of March and will be part of a regional tour which will most likely include Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ramallah in the West Bank, which is bad news for Israel.
Visiting Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ramallah is bad news for Israel because Obama will be bombarded with anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric in all of those places and any others he might go to outside Israel and Obama being Obama he will believe the tripe and act on it when he returns to Washington. Israel will be blamed for all of the problems in the Middle East and she will be attacked and vilified by all concerned. Her adversaries will do everything they can to convince Obama that the Middle East would be an oasis of peace and stability if not for Israel and that Israel lies at the root of all of their difficulties. They will put enormous pressure on Obama to put pressure on Israel to change her behaviour to their liking and will try and convince him that peace and security will come if she does and won’t if she doesn’t…in particular, enormous pressure will be put upon him to force Israel to agree to various Palestinian demands prior to the resumption of the moribund peace process even though it is the Palestinians fault that it is moribund, not the Israelis. Since Obama’s antipathy and dislike for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is well-known and well-documented and since his sympathies for Islam and the Islamic world are also well-known and well-documented ( there are those personal, political and ideological reasons) putting pressure on Israel when he gets back to Washington is exactly what he will do and he will use his discussions with various Islamic leaders on this trip as a rationale.
Obama will make all the right statements about America’s enduring and unshakeable, unbreakable bond with Israel and about America’s unshakeable, unbreakable commitment to Israel’s national security but his actions will belie his words, as they always have. Indeed, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ramallah on this trip belie words he has spoken in the past. He isn’t visiting Israel on her own, he is conducting a regional tour and including her on it, which is something very different…it isn’t a trip to Israel as such it is a trip to the Middle East which includes Israel and that is a very clear distinction.
If Obama was truly committed to Israel’s national security and by extension the national security of the United States, if he wasn’t in fundamental agreement with Islam and its teachings and imperatives, he would travel to Israel, spend a few days touring the country, make all the right statements about bonds and security, do something concrete to back up his words and make them believable and forget about travelling to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ramallah or anywhere else in the Arab/Islamic world…he would also call upon the Arab/Islamic world to change its attitude and behaviour towards Israel and Jews in general both as a necessary precursor to peace and security in the Middle East and because they are hateful, backwards, uncivilized, destructive, self-defeating and unacceptable… he would also do something concrete to back up his words and make them believable.
Will he do any of that?
Not a chance.
He will however put pressure on Israel as soon as he returns to Washington after the trip is over.
Watch for it.