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Abraham Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a position he has held since 1987.  He has worked for the organization since 1965. In 2006, he was awarded[…]

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

Question: Are Obama and Biden true friends of Israel?

Abrahamrn Foxman:  I think they are friends, I think what’s troubling to the rnAmerican Jewish community, troubling to me, is I think there’s been a rnchange of strategy, and I think that comes as a result of the fact that rnthe United States today is facing a major challenge in the world.  It’s rnnot Russia, it’s not China, it’s not Chavez; it’s the Arab Muslim rnworld.  We’re at war; America is at war with two Muslim countries, we rnmay be at war with a third.  Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most rnterrorists are Muslims.  It’s a major challenge for the U.S.  And I rnthink what we’re seeing in this administration is an effort to deal withrn it, and I think part of that effort is this notion of linkage; that if rnonly you could solve the Arab/Israel conflict, the Messiah will come in rnthe Middle East.  And it’s that notion, that analysis that is motivatingrn American policy.  And so, yeah, I think friends, but when I think the rnPresident went to the Middle East, Istanbul, Cairo, Riyadh, three rntimes... he was in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, didn’t visit rnJerusalem, sent the wrong message.  Sent the message that we’re reachingrn out to the Arab Muslim world at the expense of our friendship or rnrelationship with Israel.  I think focusing on settlements without rnfocusing on Palestinian incitement and stuff, was another mistake.  So Irn think what we’re seeing is a policy which sees itself distancing the rnUnited States from Israel in order to reach out in some manner to the rnArab Muslim world.  I don’t think it’s worked, and so many in the Jewishrn community have been concerned that this nuanced, or non-nuanced change rnis I believe, as I indicated earlier, is hurting prospects of peace rnbecause if Israel does not feel that its only ally continues to be its rnfriend, then it will not risk, it will not compromise to the extent thatrn it has.  And if you take a look at it during the Bush Administration, rnwhether you like Bush or not, the first president to come out for a rnPalestinian state was Bush.  Why?  Because Israel trusted him, and rnSharon trusted him to the point that when President Bush announced that rnthe Americans for Palestinian state, Prime Minister Sharon left his rnpolitical party because they were opposed.  Disengagement from Gaza rnhappened under Bush.  The Annapolis talks... so when it’s closer... now rnwe have no talks.  The Palestinians and Israelis are talking through rnproximity, which is they’re 15 kilometers away, nine miles away, and rnthey’ve got to talk through the United States.

Recorded on June 11, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman