By now, you’ve all heard about the White House’s indignation over “Israel spat in our face-gate.” The whole brouhaha came to light when Benjamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation from House speaker John Boehner and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to speak before a joint session of Congress about the crisis with Iran’s nuclear build-up. The White House promised to veto any action passed by Congress that involved sanctions against Iran, so the Republican leaders retaliated by inviting the Israeli leader. One White House official went so far as to say, “he (Obama) has a year and half left in office and there will be a price to pay.” Such nice and diplomatic language from an administration that holds and maintains the importance of protocol (and respect).
Make no mistake. This White House has sought to bring Benjamin Netanyahu to his knees from the day Barack Obama became president. To make the claim, “he spat in our face,” you have to place the relationship in its proper context. For one to “spit in one’s face” you have to be able to demonstrate that there was a genuine friendship based on mutual respect and understanding, when out of nowhere, the other side attempted to show the other one up. But that’s not what happened here. In 2013, When it was disclosed that the Obama White House had been spying on our European allies by tapping their embassies and cell phones, a strong case for “spitting in our face” could have been made by the EU, but wasn’t. This is a clear case of the White House looking for any excuse to teach this Israeli leader and the state of Israel a lesson they’ll never forget.
Some will say, Netnayahu is the one who caused the estrangement between the two countries with his intransigence towards the “peace process.” Nothing could be further from the truth. From the early days of his administration, Barack Obama made a point to disrespect Israel and to dismiss their safety concerns and history.
In 2009, the president’s first visit to the Middle East was to Egypt, not visiting Israel at all, to address students at the University of Cairo. In his speech, which you can google, He told students that they cannot deny the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. In the very next sentence he said, “On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland…..” Thus, Barack Obama is the first president in history to make a moral equivalence between the Holocaust and “Palestinian refugees.” If we are talking about “spitting” in people’s faces, I think 6 million Jews could certainly make a case in this instance.
In March of 2010, Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the White House to discuss the “peace process. “ Apparently frustrated that Bibi would not accede to his “list of demands” including many dangerous concessions, Obama left Bibi and his staff to sit alone in the Roosevelt Room while he went to have dinner with Michelle. Talk about a “spit in the face” and disrespect.
In November 2011, while the president was in Europe for a conference of European leaders, unaware that a “hot mic” was present, Obama told French president Sarkozy – after Sarkozy called Bibi a liar, “you’re fed up with him, I have to deal with him even more than you do.”
In March of 2012, President Obama pressured Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey’s president Erdogan for casualties that resulted from an Israeli attack on a flotilla filled with terrorists and pro Hamas supporters en route to crash through the Gaza blockade. This is the same Erdogan who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany.
In September of 2012, in a brazen display of no respect and “spitting in Netanyahu’s face,” Obama adviser, Susan Rice, walked out of the UN hall as Bibi was getting up to speak, but remained seated when Iran’s Ahmadinajad addressed the world body.
In April 2014, in a closed door meeting with world leaders, Secretary of State John Kerry said that if Israel doesn’t make peace with the Palestinians, they risk becoming a “apartheid state.” Using Israel and “apartheid” in the same breadth is not something that just happens by accident. Never mind that apartheid means “the minority ruling over the majority,” which would have no application here, this administration adopted the terminology of Israel’s enemies.
This past November, there were a string of terrorist attacks inside of Israel by Palestinians driving their cars into crowded areas, random stabbings…..including a massacre in a shul in Jerusalem. Barack Obama’s released statement of sympathy for the victims and their families also included, “too many Palestinians have died…” Talk about a “spit in the face!”
In October of 2014 Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic wrote a lengthy article citing an anonymous senior White House official describing Netanyahu as “recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery,…as well as being a coward and the now infamous “chickens**t.”
This past January, it was reported that the United States broke an agreement it had made with Israel when the US Consulate in Jerusalem started arming and training Palestinians for specific security details.
There are other examples of this administration abusing, disrespecting, “spitting in Israel’s face, ”and harming Israel, for anyone to take the White House’s latest hissy fit seriously. It is however a reminder of how dangerous the world is, particularly if you are Jewish. With the rapid and dangerous resurgence of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, this administration has remained on the sidelines.
At most, Israel might have been more sensitive about the timing of the congressional invitation, but the invitation was certainly within the rights of congressional leaders to extend, and had this not been Israel, there would have been no outcry from this White House.