Jeffrey Goldberg and US President Barack Obama are at it again. Reading Goldberg’s latest Obama PR piece feels like watching a conversation between someone on a good acid trip and someone else on a bad acid trip. (Goldberg, full of angst and worry but still detached from reality, is the one on the bad trip.) Indeed, it is hard to imagine any other explanation for Goldberg’s comparison of Obama to any one of 50 rabbis that Goldberg claims to have spoken to recently.
In the current installment — and I assume there are still more to come before 2017 — we get some insight into the President’s own definition of anti-Semitism. Obama, the man who put a de facto arms embargo on Israel in the middle of a defensive war, says that if you are not anti-Semitic, “then you should be able to align yourself with Israel where its security is at stake.”
If you are not anti-Semitic, continues the man who threatened to withhold the US veto at the OIC-controlled bad joke that is called the UN, “you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora.”
The man who spent six solid weeks lambasting the Israeli Prime Minister for having the gall to accept an invitation from the Speaker of the US House of Representatives then said, if you are not anti-Semitic, “you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”
Reading his words about feeling obligated to constantly condemn Israel and its democratically elected Prime Minister “precisely because I care so much about the Jewish people,” Obama sounds like a domestic abuser who claims that he beats his victim because he loves her so much. The threats to do her harm, the public degradation, the black eyes, are all for her own good. Like the abuser, it’s possible that Obama even believes it. The most deeply held belief that such actions are for the benefit of the abused, however, doesn’t change the fact that the behavior is pathological.
The arrogance with which the US President lectures, seemingly endlessly, about the values that he thinks Israel should embody is nothing short of surreal. His demand, essentially, is that Israel prioritize the ideals that he, Obama, deems important over the protection of Israeli lives. Israel’s founding principles, however, never required it to protect “kids” who kill or try to kill, at the expense of the lives of its own citizens. Indeed, Obama’s demand that Israel prioritize abstract ideals over human life is arguably contrary to Jewish law.
Obama may have taken the advice of Jewish members of Congress, that in order to sell his Iran deal, he needed to stop “getting into a daily argument” with Prime Minister Netanyahu. His actions throughout his term, however, especially earlier this spring, have already revealed his true feelings. No amount of flowers and candy can erase what he has already done.
It’s important not to ignore Goldberg’s own impression of Obama, as it is probably shared by many Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish:
This is my interpretation of his worldview—he holds Israel to a higher standard than he does other countries because of the respect he has for Jewish values and Jewish teachings, and for the role Jewish mentors and teachers have played in his life.
“Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is within President Obama’s own State Department definition of anti-Semitism. Whether the double standard is applied because of overt malice or based on the best of intentions, it makes a demand on Israel that is impossible to meet, and then blames Israel for failing to meet it. Yes, Israel is a democracy, and yes, it has high ideals. But let’s also remember that Israelis, like the rest of us, are only human. Obama himself has certainly made his share of ill-advised campaign statements, and he’s also unquestionably been responsible for the deaths of civilians. It’s neither fair nor realistic to expect Israel or its Prime Minister to be better than the US. In setting forth such an expectation, however, Obama and Goldberg ensure that Israel can never live up to what is expected of it, and that they will always have an excuse to condemn it. If that is not anti-Semitic, then I really don’t know what is.