Sunday, May 16, 2010

"We Screwed Up" - Duh!

With the real possibility, according to none other than James Carville, that Democrats could lose control of Congress; and with billionaire Haim Saban, reportedly one of the biggest, if not the biggest contributor to the Democratic Party, calling the state of relations between the US and Israel "a disaster" (read a translation of the Israel Channel 10 TV interview here); and finally, a major poll suggesting that a slight majority of Jews would consider voting for someone other than Obama, it is no wonder that the Obama administration has moved into panic mode in trying to shore up its support in the American Jewish community.

The latest evidence of Obami hysteria is today's front page
Jerusalem Post story of this past Thursday's meeting between White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and a group of rabbis, in which Rahm fesses up that the administration "screwed up the messaging" about its support for Israel over the last 14 months, and it will take "more than one month to make up for 14 months".

But it's not about messaging: it's about policy, and here's what the story says about what Rahm had to say to the rabbis about Iran:

"Regarding Iran, Emanuel said that the US could not unilaterally impose sanctions and have them effective.  He said that if the US would move before sanctions pass the UN Security Council, it would give a gift to Russia and China and get them off the hook as far as having to take a stand on sanctions.

"The sanctions that are being drawn up will not be incremental and will impact the Iranian economy in a serious way, Emanuel was quoted as saying.  But the sequence is important, he said, and has to be first UN sanctions, followed then by EU ones and then finally by steps from Washington."

So this is how Obama plans on winning back the Jews? UN sanctions? EU sanctions? As Alan Dershowitz
points out, we all know what Neville Chamberlain is remembered for, and it's not for bringing back financial stability to England.

If the Obami think that the latest PR blitz and redoing the messaging is going to change the nature of the current relationship, I think they are obviously underestimating at least some portion of the American Jewish community. In addition to Iran, I would add an incomplete list of at least some other items that are making the pro-Israel community and (most) Israelis feeling very uncomfortable:

1. Nuclear policy - raising the issue of a "nuclear free Middle East" (and we all know what that means), while they should have been focusing on Iran; they are desperately trying to walk this one back with all sorts of reassurances;

2. Islamic terrorism: the Obama administration - most notably Eric Holder, but also the President himself - is unable to say the words "radical Islam" or to concede that Islam has anything to do with terrorist attacks on American soil; Janet Napolitano called the most recent failed attack in NYC a "one-off affair"; 
3. Jerusalem: Gilo and Ramat Shlomo are not soon to be forgotten - what's next? 
4. Unequal (or complete lack of) pressure on the Palestinian Authority (it's worth reviewing again Jackson Diehl's column of exactly one year ago on "Abbas's waiting game") - wait to see what kind of reception Abbas gets when he comes to Washington in June as opposed to the insulting way in which Bibi was treated; do you think for a minute that the President is going leave Abbas stewing while he runs off to dine with the family? 
5. UN: Re-engaging with the UN, including the UN Human Rights Council, has been a disaster; the Obama administration is also now seriously flirting with joining the anti-Israel UN-backed Alliance of Civilizations.
6. Syira: sending an ambassador - a prize for what? for becoming an Iranian surrogate? for allowing anti-American terrorists and weapons to slip into Iraq through its borders?

These are not just public relations and marketing issues, but matters of substance as well. 

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