During a visit to the Gaza town of Sderot in July this year then presidential candidate Barack Obama offered his opinion of the terrorist bombings and rocket attacks carried out by Hamas against neighboring Israeli citizens,
“If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” he told reporters in Sderot, a small city on the edge of Gaza that has been hit repeatedly by rocket fire. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”
Well, the Israelis are doing just that and the New York Times is not quite sure what to make of this. Alternating between admonishing Obama to respond “harshly” to Israel’s “policies” (such as condoning settlements in disputed territories) and suggesting Obama “pressure surrogates to lean on Hamas”, the Times is offering the same tired, failed ideas that have been served up by every statesman from George Schultz to Madeline Albright to Condoleezza Rice.
However, David Axelrod said yesterday that,
“the president-elect stood by the remarks he made in the summer and, when asked, noted the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel.”
Is this perhaps evidence that the new administration will somehow demonstrate some resistance to what has historically been, at least in the Middle East, the foreign policy equivalent of Einstein’s definition of insanity?
President elect Obama has an historic opportunity to put a serious foreign policy problem behind him by offering open support for Israel to destroy Hamas. In doing so he can also send a clear message to Iran that the US will not tolerate foreign sponsors of terror in Israel. The political risks in this policy are manifest: Obama must deal with not only the ignorant anti semitic fringe on the Left but also the knee jerk appeasers that will never favor a robust millitary response to any problem.
Obama’s refusal to press such an opportunity would present an opening for Republicans to openly support Israel’s response and make this an issue in the confirmation hearings of several Obama cabinet appointees.