December 22, 2014

Middle East Media Sampler for March 9, 2012


1) We are not reassured

Yossi Klein Halevi writing in The New Republic explains Why Israel Still Can’t Trust That Obama Has Its Back:

Consider how Obama squandered Netanyahu’s ten-month settlement freeze. Rather than pressing the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, Obama provoked an ugly public fight with Netanyahu over building in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The message conveyed to the international public by that and other humiliations was that the special relationship was fraying.

Obama’s resolve on Israel often comes too late, an attempt to compensate for his own clumsiness. Like his speech defending Israel to the U.N. General Assembly last September. It was a powerful speech—I wrote about it enthusiastically in TNR at the time. But in retrospect the speech was irrelevant. Except for the Jews, no one seemed to be listening. In the Arab world the speech was dismissed as electioneering. The missed moment was as much a part of the story as the speech itself. That was the speech Obama should have delivered in Cairo in 2009, when he had the attention of the Muslim world. Instead, he squandered a historic opportunity to affirm Israel’s legitimacy, and by the time he did deliver the right speech, it was too late.

All too often that defines Obama’s relationship to Israel. He finally says the right thing and it no longer matters. Because the context is wrong. Or the timing. Or because he seems to be addressing one audience while in fact addressing another—like seeming to talk tough to Iran while in fact trying to restrain Israel.

In Obama vs. Israel, Charles Krauthammer adds:

So what is Obama’s real objective? “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel,” an administration official told The Post in the most revealing White House admission since “leading from behind.”

Revealing and shocking. The world’s greatest exporter of terror (according to the State Department), the systematic killer of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, the self-declared enemy that invented “Death to America Day” is approaching nuclear capability — and the focus of U.S. policy is to prevent a democratic ally threatened with annihilation from preempting the threat?

Indeed it is. The new open-ended negotiations with Iran fit well with this strategy of tying Israel down. As does Obama’s “I have Israel’s back” reassurance, designed to persuade Israel and its supporters to pull back and outsource to Obama what for Israel are life-and-death decisions.

2) Debate means 5 vs. 2

The New York Times has an ongoing feature, Room for Debate. The current debate is whether or not Israel should Accept a Nuclear Ban. The debate consists of seven responses. Five of those responses say that Israel's current policy is outdated, immoral or conterproductive. Only two, one by Meyrav Wurmser and another by Daniel Gordis support Israel's current nuclear stance. If that's not bad enough, one of the five isn't even someone who can be considered an expert, but is a blogger at the anti-Israel 972 site.

3) Not news: UN condemns Israel

Ha'aretz reports UN women's rights panel due to condemn Israel in close of annual session

(h/t memeorandum)

However, the panel is expected to also an eight-clause resolution, determining that the "Israeli occupation" in territories, including East Jerusalem, is the main obstacle for the advancement of the Palestinian woman.

Apparently, honor killings are not an obstacle.

"An average of 12 women are killed annually in the Palestinian Territories on honour grounds," she said. "Men are taking advantage of the law," she stressed.

A man who kills a relative is either pardoned, given a suspended sentence or six months to three years imprisonment which is reduced further once appealed, she said. However, when a woman murders her unfaithful husband, she is given a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. "This is not acceptable any more," she said.

"The Palestinian courts do not even investigate the women's cases, and once the accused men claim they had acted on honour grounds, their claims are approved and sentenced accordingly," she said. "This is unfair."

Israel Matzav adds:

The country that currently has three parties in the Knesset headed by women (Kadima, Labor and Meretz) is going to be the only country condemned by the UN for its treatment of women.

About Daniel Goldstein

Daniel Goldstein is a media critic and recovering blogger. He has been critiquing media bias against Israel since his first letter to the editor in 1987.