When It Comes to Israel, Barack Obama’s Memoir Is Filled with Distortions

While Michael W. Schwartz finds much that is praiseworthy in the 44th president’s account of his first term in office, he considers Barack Obama’s treatment of the Jewish state to be “not just an inaccurate mess but an inaccurate mess of a very particular sort—a propagandistic mis-telling.” Schwartz writes that a reader coming to the book without prior knowledge would learn

that the roots of the Jewish state lie in a unilateral declaration by imperialist Great Britain issued while it was “occupying” “Palestine”; that the subsequent growth in the territory’s Jewish population was the result of “mobiliz[ation] by “Zionist leaders” who “organized highly trained armed forces” to protect their “settlements”; that the UN resolution calling for the creation of Jewish and Arab states in the territory was rejected by the Arabs because “they were just emerging from colonial rule”; that the resident Arabs were “driven from their lands” by the Jews; . . . and that the formation of the PLO [in 1964] was the “result” of Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel took control of the West Bank from the Jordanians.

Whence all this falsehood? Schwartz believes the most likely culprit to be the education Barack Obama received at Columbia University, and the influence of such prominent academics as Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, who have done much to propagate the view that the Zionist project is inherently unjust:

What is most deeply disappointing about Obama’s parroting of the Said/Khalidi line in his memoir is not merely that it puts the prestige of a former U.S. president behind its distortions, but that it represents a huge missed opportunity to probe and question a false narrative—one that has caused untold violence and suffering. What might be called the lachrymose version of Palestinian history has left its adherents stuck in a world of grievance, envy, violence, and hatred. . . .

For all Obama’s interiority and self-questioning, he somehow couldn’t bring himself to apply that skeptical and self-challenging mindset to this particular subject. It is a perverse compliment to the power of this phony narrative that even a man committed to avoiding “truth decay,” and who has nothing more to achieve in his political life, could not put it under the magnifying glass, but mindlessly repeated it.

Read more at JNS

More about: Barack Obama, Edward Said, Israeli history, Rashid Khalidi

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship