ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing November 12, 2010, on Townhall.com.
With his remarks in Jakarta, Indonesia, President Obama made history once again. Sadly, it’s a most unenviable title. I believe he is the most anti-Israel President in U.S. history.
In going to Jakarta, Indonesia, to launch his latest attack, he literally went to the ends of the earth to give voice to his displeasure. He emphasized his opposition to the policies of the elected government of Israel.
He used his Jakarta platform to complain about Israel building apartments for her growing population. Where? In Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
To make matters even worse, Jakarta is a city no Israeli is allowed to enter! The symbolism of saying what he said in the country and city where he said it is simply atrocious.
He was in Indonesia less than 24 hours. If he had to make such a one-sided and unfair pronouncement, couldn’t he at least have waited until he got to South Korea? Touting Indonesia’s great tolerance is offensive. We love everyone here in Indonesia, except the Israelis, of course, and except Catholic school girls who get beheaded on their way to school.
What could he have been thinking in traveling to his boyhood home–in what is widely described as the largest Muslim country in the world–and sharply criticizing Israel? It’s as if he is determined to take an unfriendly stance and to reinforce it with his own biography: This place was a second home to me, and I am telling you, Israel, to knock it off! Those were not his actual words, but how else can we interpret his bizarre sense of time and place?
President Obama’s foreign policy puts much greater emphasis on the UN as a world body. He has changed previous policy by bowing to the UN’s horrendous Human Rights Council. This is a body that contains Russia, China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia–those paragons of human rights. It is to this body that the Obama administration finds it necessary to “report.” The reports we have submitted essentially apologize to these brutal despots at the UN for not fully implementing more of the Obama legislative agenda at home.
The President has admitted he and his party took a “shellacking” in the midterm elections. So implementation of that agenda looks increasingly problematic. Shellacking it may be, but you cannot put a high-gloss veneer on what happened November 2nd. Voters streamed into the polling places to render a vote of “no confidence” in this administration.
Interestingly, if the United States had a constitutional system similar to the parliamentary social democracies that Mr. Obama and so many of his liberal allies clearly favor, they would all be out of office. None of the leaders he will encounter in his G-20 meeting in South Korea this week would be appearing in the group photo if their parties had been given such a shellacking by the voters in their countries.
President Obama can thank his stars for the fact that under the United States Constitution, he still has a full two years to try to implement what’s left of his program. He’ll have a hard time doing it with 60+ new members of the House of Representatives who won their seats touting their staunch opposition to Obama policies.
Here’s an idea he might suggest that could help build consensus and restore his frayed mandate: President Obama should announce that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will be moved–to Jerusalem.
By doing that, he could demonstrate that he is not reflexively anti-Israel. Every other U.S. Embassy in the world is in the host nation’s capital city. When Germany united twenty years ago, the new government there designated Berlin as their capital. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn obediently packed up and moved to Berlin in 1999.
By moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, he could reassure Israelis–only 4% of whom think he is a friend of Israel. And he could show “the Muslim world” that he keeps trying to appease that the United States will not abandon its historic alliance with Israel. It’s a sad commentary that such a reassurance is increasingly necessary.