Try as he may, Obama can’t break Israel-U.S. bond

The Obama administration’s military support for Israel has been strong. But you have to wonder about its political credibility.

Mr. Obama proclaims that making Israel vulnerable would be a failure of his presidency. Yet why did he and his State Department: 1. interfere with Israel’s elections by having the State Department fund a left-wing Israeli lobbying group; 2. abusively attack the right of the Israeli prime minister to address Congress; 3. actively support the vehemently anti-Israel former Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt; 4. reveal Israeli nuclear secrets while keeping classified those of France, Germany and the U.K.; and 5. accuse Israel of leaking “secret” information about the Iran negotiations to Congress?

These few facts suggest that Mr. Obama understands well that America’s bond with Israel is unbreakable, because he’s tried so hard to break it and he hasn’t been able to pull it off.

Desmond Tuck   |   San Mateo


Questioning the questions

Asking questions is an important part of the Passover seder. And even the question of the “wicked” son is to be heard and answered because no question should be considered outrageous. Right?

But the question posed by Newsmax.com struck me as outrageous. The conservative media enterprise asked its online readers to vote yes or no on the question: “Should the U.S. continue to support Israel?”

At our seder, we discuss the distinction between “questions” and “questioning.” Newsmax’s “simple” question manages to question not only U.S. support for America’s sole reliable ally in the Middle East, but the sentiments underlying the question seem not far from those expressed loudly by Iran and its Hezbollah and Hamas clients.

One wonders what’s next. Will Internet questionnaires ask people worldwide to vote yes or no on an even more outrageous question: “Does Israel have the right to exist?”

June Brott   |   Walnut Creek


Support for Jewish homeland

Kol hakavod to Bay Area members of Congress who are among 79 co-signers of Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s letter to President Obama affirming support for Israel as a democracy and a homeland for the Jewish people:

Ami Bera, Mark DeSaulnier, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Mike Honda, Jared Huffman, Barbara Lee, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney and Jackie Speier.

Had they just affirmed Israel as a democracy … Dayenu.

Had they just expressed support for Israel’s physical security … Dayenu.

Had they just recognized the shared values of Israel and the United States … Dayenu.

Had they just restated U.S. support for a two-state solution … Dayenu

Had they just encouraged the president to continue to support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship … Dayenu.

Molly Freeman   |   Berkeley

J Street S.F. Bay Area


Bibi cartoon was off target

J.’s March 27 editorial cartoon, depicting Benjamin Netanyahu as parting the U.S. and Israel and uttering “Ha, they said it couldn’t be done,” was simply disgusting.

Most probably, the impetus for the cartoon was the Israeli prime minister’s decision to raise awareness regarding the Iranian nuclear “deal” without the White House’s “permission.”

It is childish to presume that his speech before Congress has destroyed the time-tested mutual respect and trust between the Americans and Israelis. Aside from Netanyahu’s heartfelt appeal to carefully examine the terms of the “deal” — and maybe because of it — the speech brought to the fore the animosity of the current White House occupier toward the Israeli leader.

What really parts the U.S. and Israel is pretending that this agreement — and any agreement leaving Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place and its international terrorism unaddressed — alleviates the mullahs’ threat to wipe out the Jewish state from the globe.

By retreating from the strong sanctions into the fog of Iran’s promises, the U.S. administration has illustrated once again that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” And Israel, together with the entire world, may pay for it a terrible price.

Vladimir Kaplan   |   San Mateo


‘Never again’ applies to Iran

Amid more joyous themes, the Passover haggadah reminds us of post-Pharaoh attempts to destroy the Jewish people. After the last such effort, the murder of 6 million Jews, its survivors vowed “never again!” and helped create the State of Israel.

One modern state, Iran, has proclaimed its “non-negotiable” resolve to destroy Israel.

World leaders have signed a “framework” agreement with Iran to try to deter its development of atomic weapons. President Obama has said its final provisions would keep Iran from fully employing such weapons for at least 10 years.

We hope those leaders will carefully weigh the enormously consequential difference between “10 years” and “never again!”

Earl D. Raab   |   Forest Knolls


U.S.-Israel tension is all on Obama

History helps us understand the current hostility between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In December 2009 Netanyahu declared a 10-month construction ban in the West Bank in an attempt to revive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. President Obama could have used this remarkable move by a right-of-center leader to bring the two sides together. Rather, he called for an extension of the ban to Jerusalem, and then stayed aloof. Only in July 2010 did the president call for the resumption of direct negotiations. The two sides met for a brief time before the 10-month period expired. Having played the clock down, the president then pressured Netanyahu to continue the ban, placing the onus on Israel for the termination of negotiations.

Now the president has overreacted to what was a plainly political election-eve appeal to a base disillusioned with Netanyahu’s failure to support a pro-settlement policy. President Obama could have worked with Netanyahu to walk his position back to the center for the resumption of negotiations.

The president’s aggressive stance continues the hostile manipulations noted above. This story does not seem headed to a good ending. In the words of President Lincoln, “Let us confidently hope that all will yet be well.”

Steve Astrachan   |   Pleasant Hill