I say Obama started it; maybe you say Bibi. Or Boeher.
Regardless, the casualty list is growing:
A wall-to-wall array of Jewish groups condemned an ad accusing National Security Adviser Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide.
“Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide,” said the ad appearing in Saturday’s New York Times, touting a talk on Iran this week in Washington hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the New Jersey-based author and pro-Israel advocate.
As soon as the Sabbath ended, Jewish groups rushed to condemn the ad. The American Jewish Committee called it “revolting,” the Anti-Defamation League called it “spurious and perverse”, the Jewish Federations of North America called it “outrageous” and Josh Block, the president of The Israel Project, said it was “entirely inappropriate.”
Marshall Wittmann, the spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which will host Rice on Monday at its annual conference, said, “Ad hominem attacks should have no place in our discourse.”
I get why they’re trying to distance themselves from the ad, even if I think the ad is valid. History teaches that Jews take the hit in time of conflict; these guys are ducking for cover. But this time is no different. Iran is frantically working toward an arsenal of nuclear weapons. The United States and Israel stand opposed (as does every Arab state, and most other nations in the world). Yet it is Israel and America who are fighting it out in the news.
I would say this is entirely how Iran intended it, and that would be true—but it would be less than half the story. This is how Obama intends it. This is his doing, and Susan Rice or Samantha Power or John Kerry are only his instruments. To his way of thinking, Israel and the US share one too many traits, colonialism most prominently. For the son of a Kenyan Marxist (and philanderer and alcoholic), that is unpardonable.
The climax of Obama’s narrative is when he goes to Kenya and weeps at his father’s grave. It is riveting: “When my tears were finally spent,” he writes, “I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America–the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I’d felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago–all of it was connected with this small piece of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain that I felt was my father’s pain.”
In an eerie conclusion, Obama writes that “I sat at my father’s grave and spoke to him through Africa’s red soil.” In a sense, through the earth itself, he communes with his father and receives his father’s spirit. Obama takes on his father’s struggle, not by recovering his body but by embracing his cause. He decides that where Obama Sr. failed, he will succeed. Obama Sr.’s hatred of the colonial system becomes Obama Jr.’s hatred; his botched attempt to set the world right defines his son’s objective. Through a kind of sacramental rite at the family tomb, the father’s struggle becomes the son’s birthright.
Colonialism today is a dead issue. No one cares about it except the man in the White House. He is the last anticolonial.
Obama may not want to “wipe Israel off the map”, as Iran does, but he would like to see it cut down to size. The era of European outposts in indigenous lands (as he sees the Zionist entity) is over. It is past time that the post-colonial powers redress the “legitimate grievances” (a phrase Obama even when talking about ISIS!) of those oppressed by the past, be they African or Arab, Sunni or Shiite. The so-called Palestinians may be an invented identity, squatting in historically Jewish lands, but in Obama’s eyes they are perfectly cast in the role of oppressed minority. He’s not alone in that way of thinking, of course—even Condoleezza Rice likened the so-called Palestinians to the civil rights strugglers of her youth.
Who is this upstart, then, to speak against his dearest held beliefs? This foreigner who speaks English almost as well as His Articulateness? (Better, I would argue, as Netanyahu’s rhetoric is grounded in military and political battle, while Obama has been handed every success, including the presidency, based on an invented autobiography written by Bill Ayers.) Obama may hate Netanyahu—he sure seems to—but this mess is more than about private beefs. It’s a profound dispute over civilization.
If Early Obama was about getting high, and Middle Obama was about getting elected, Late Obama is about getting even. We have seen his recent determination in domestic politics by legally questionable executive orders and actions that bypass Congress, rewriting legislation (often more than once) to fit his fancy. And we see it in matters of state by this fight he and he alone has picked with Netanyahu. Everyone else—Rice, Kerry, Power, Psaki, the CBC, everybody—merely projects Obama’s thoughts.
Again, while the enmity is personal and deep, it is also philosophical. Netanyahu speaks as leader of a country with religious, cultural, and historic ties to its land. Obama sees it as an anachronism. Netanyahu sees the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran through the eyes of a people who have seen popes, emperors, cossacks, czars and obergrüppenführers sworn to their extinction. Obama sees their “legitimate grievances”.
Worse yet, Netanyahu will speak directly to the people. Obama is most successful when his guard-dog media savages anyone who rises against him. Netanyahu is his worst nightmare: someone who will have direct access to Americans, and speak to them in their own language. (Indeed, his Wikipedia article notes he still speaks English with the Philly accent he learned as a teenager.) And he will speak from the heart—not only his own, but his nation’s and his people’s.
America elected Obama, twice, and Jews make up barely 2% of the population. But America loves Israel anyway, more than Obama knows. Or maybe he does know, and that’s why he’s so scared.