Is the Obama Administration Pro-Israel Enough?

Question: Are Obama and Biden true friends of Israel?

Abraham\r\n Foxman:  I think they are friends, I think what’s troubling to the \r\nAmerican Jewish community, troubling to me, is I think there’s been a \r\nchange of strategy, and I think that comes as a result of the fact that \r\nthe United States today is facing a major challenge in the world.  It’s \r\nnot Russia, it’s not China, it’s not Chavez; it’s the Arab Muslim \r\nworld.  We’re at war; America is at war with two Muslim countries, we \r\nmay be at war with a third.  Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most \r\nterrorists are Muslims.  It’s a major challenge for the U.S.  And I \r\nthink what we’re seeing in this administration is an effort to deal with\r\n it, and I think part of that effort is this notion of linkage; that if \r\nonly you could solve the Arab/Israel conflict, the Messiah will come in \r\nthe Middle East.  And it’s that notion, that analysis that is motivating\r\n American policy.  And so, yeah, I think friends, but when I think the \r\nPresident went to the Middle East, Istanbul, Cairo, Riyadh, three \r\ntimes... he was in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, didn’t visit \r\nJerusalem, sent the wrong message.  Sent the message that we’re reaching\r\n out to the Arab Muslim world at the expense of our friendship or \r\nrelationship with Israel.  I think focusing on settlements without \r\nfocusing on Palestinian incitement and stuff, was another mistake.  So I\r\n think what we’re seeing is a policy which sees itself distancing the \r\nUnited States from Israel in order to reach out in some manner to the \r\nArab Muslim world.  I don’t think it’s worked, and so many in the Jewish\r\n community have been concerned that this nuanced, or non-nuanced change \r\nis I believe, as I indicated earlier, is hurting prospects of peace \r\nbecause if Israel does not feel that its only ally continues to be its \r\nfriend, then it will not risk, it will not compromise to the extent that\r\n it has.  And if you take a look at it during the Bush Administration, \r\nwhether you like Bush or not, the first president to come out for a \r\nPalestinian state was Bush.  Why?  Because Israel trusted him, and \r\nSharon trusted him to the point that when President Bush announced that \r\nthe Americans for Palestinian state, Prime Minister Sharon left his \r\npolitical party because they were opposed.  Disengagement from Gaza \r\nhappened under Bush.  The Annapolis talks... so when it’s closer... now \r\nwe have no talks.  The Palestinians and Israelis are talking through \r\nproximity, which is they’re 15 kilometers away, nine miles away, and \r\nthey’ve got to talk through the United States.

Recorded on June 11, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman

We’re seeing a policy that distances the United States from Israel in order to reach out to the Arab Muslim world.

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