“Well, they’re living in a happy harmony
Tweedle-dee Dum and Tweedle-dee Dee.”
—Bob Dylan, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
When it comes to Israel, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may not exactly be Tweedledee and Tweedledum. But they’re close. That’s why pro-Likud fanatic Sheldon Adelson’s efforts to convince American Jews to vote against Obama, reported in a piece in the New York Times, are so ridiculous.
Of course, Adelson is singing in harmony with Romney, who’s about to arrive in Israel for the mandatory, pre-election visit. We’ll get to Adelson in a minute, and to Romney’s accusations against Obama, but we’ll also point that the pro-Obama forces’ own defense of the president can also be read as an indictment of the White House’s craven capitulation to Israel since 2009.
According to Jeff Zeleny in the Times, Adelson—who spent tens of millions singlehandedly propping up Newt Gingrich’s campaign—will spend a chunk of his fortune on ads that try to drive a wedge in between Obama and Israel. The ads will feature an angry Jewish Democrat from New Jersey named Michael Goldstein:
Mr. Goldstein said he gradually became disenchanted with Mr. Obama when his promises to change Washington did not come to pass. He said he was particularly incensed by the administration’s stance toward Israel, particularly the president’s view that the 1967 borders should be a starting point for negotiations for a two-state peace solution. He said he also believed that Mr. Obama showed disrespect to Mr. Netanyahu.
As Haaretz, the Israeli daily, reports, in his much-reviled speech to the VFW this week Romney managed to blast Obama on Israel:
“He has undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was. And even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel’s enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem.”
Yadda, yadda. So, then, what are progressives to make of the “defense” of Obama by the National Security Network, a pro-Democrat advocacy group, which compiled a stunning list of Obama’s support for Israel. To those who support the Palestinian cause, it’s a mind-boggling list of excess and unneeded support for Israeli expansionism, Israel’s military-industrial complex, and more.
The NSN notes that then under President Obama the United States has vastly increased security assistance to Israel, providing more than $3 billion in the “largest such request in U.S. history,” provided “bunker-buster bombs” (GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators) that Israel might use to blow up Iranian nuclear sites, engaged in intensified military maneuvers, authorized $205 million to “support the production of an Israeli-developed short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome,” ran diplomatic interference for Israel (including a veto at the UN Security Council), conducted “joint exercises allow us to learn from Israel’s experience in urban warfare and counterterrorism” and joint research on “sensors, unmanned aerial vehicle technology, surveillance equipment, and detection devices to seek out IED’s that support our forces,” and much, much more.
A lot of NSN’s laundry list is drawn from a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel think tank, by Andrew J. Shapiro, a top State Department official, whose remarks were entitled: “Ensuring Israel’s Qualitiative Military Edge.”
The NSN also quotes Ehud Barak, Israel’s minister of defense:
“I can hardly remember a better period of support, American support and backing and cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us than what we have right now.”
And NSN quotes Benjamin Netanyahu, an old friend of Romney’s from their days as pirate capitalists, saying:
“I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. I asked for his help. This was a decisive and fateful moment. He said, ‘I will do everything I can.’ And so he did.”
So he did.