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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Philip Gordon, "Bibi’s man in D.C., still spinning for the boss": A Hatchet Job of a Book Review



On Friday night, the White House was awash with the colors of the rainbow to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision that marriage equality is a constitutional right. The light show came at a time when the Obama administration was seeking to finalize a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which hangs homosexuals. Of course, Obama has always voiced his opposition to the murder of gay men by Iran . . . or has he? As observed by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, who serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University, in a Front Page Magazine article entitled "An Execution Wave Against LGBT Iranians":

"President Barack Obama has long depicted himself as a defender of women’s and LGBT rights not only in the United States but across the world as well. Yet, where is his voice when it comes to the growing number of executions and the persecution of the gay and lesbian community as well as the repression of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran? In addition, why has the LGBT movement not criticized the Obama administration or made a movement over these injustices, egregious actions, and human rights violations committed in the Islamic Republic against the gays and lesbians?

As the Obama administration continues to communicate and diplomatically negotiate with Iranian officials in Vienna, New York, and elsewhere, President Obama has not even slightly expressed his concern about the unfair actions, executions, discriminations and prosecutions of LGBT individuals, as well as the increasing repressions of women under the Rouhani administration."

Also in the news on Friday, we learned that a Geocartography Institute poll has determined that a whopping 48.5 percent of Jewish Israeli respondents said that Obama's proposed nuclear deal with Iran was a threat to Israel’s existence. Moreover, 44.5 percent of the respondents said they did not trust Obama to maintain Israel’s security. But what could Israelis possibly know about their own survival?

Against the backdrop of the foregoing, today The Washington Post has published an opinion piece/book review entitled "Bibi’s man in D.C., still spinning for the boss" by Philip Gordon of Michael Oren's "Ally." As noted by the opinion piece/book review, Philip Gordon "is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations" and "[f]rom 2013 until this spring he was the White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf region." Michael Oren was the Israeli ambassador to the US from 2009 to 2013 and is now a member of the Israeli parliament, although he does not belong to Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud Party.

Acknowledging that Obama's desire to reach a nuclear deal with Iran is "a signature foreign policy initiative of the U.S. president," Gordon writes of Oren's book, whose release was timed around the June 30 deadline for an agreement between the P5+1 and Iran:

"The value of the book is that it reflects a view genuinely held by many Israelis: that the Obama administration, naively seeking to repair U.S. ties to the Muslim world and failing to appreciate Israel’s value to the United States, broke with decades of U.S. policy toward the region by systematically siding with the Palestinians and seeking a reconciliation with Iran. The problem with the book is that Oren’s main argument is a caricature, bolstered by exaggerations and distortions that will probably contribute to the deterioration of the very relationship the author purports to cherish.

Take, for example, Oren’s contention that by publicly airing differences with Israel, Obama broke with a long-standing principle that there should never be 'daylight' in the relationship. Really? To take just a few examples, Dwight Eisenhower slammed Israel for the 1956 Suez operation and forced it into a humiliating retreat; Gerald Ford froze arms deliveries and announced a reassessment of the relationship as a way of pressing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai; Jimmy Carter clashed repeatedly with Prime Minister Menachem Begin before, during and after the 1978 Camp David summit. Ronald Reagan denounced Israel’s strike on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq and enraged Jerusalem by selling surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia; George H.W. Bush blocked loan guarantees to Israel over settlements; Bill Clinton clashed publicly with Israel over the size of proposed West Bank withdrawals; George W. Bush called for a settlement freeze in the 2002 road map for peace and afterward repeatedly criticized Israel for construction in the West Bank. In other words, Oren has a point — except in the case of virtually every Republican and Democratic U.S. administration since Israel’s founding."

Or stated otherwise, Gordon would have us know that Obama's difficulties with Israel are no different from those of other US presidents (Jonathan Broder makes a similar argument in Newsweek) . . . or are they? You see, Obama declared in a December 2014 NPR interview:

"So, when I came into office, the world was divided and Iran was in the driver's seat. Now the world's united because of the actions we've taken, and Iran's the one that's isolated.

They have a path to break through that isolation and they should seize it. Because if they do, there's incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of — inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people."

Excuse me, Phil, but which other US president ever envisioned Iran as "a very successful regional power"? Iran is a country that hangs gays, stones to death women accused of adultery, brutally persecutes Baha'is, Christians, Kurds and Sunnis, executes poets for "waging war on God," supports the murderous Assad regime in Syria, exports terror via Hezbollah, and routinely threatens Israel with annihilation. Obama is apparently convinced that he can export "Change" to a savage Iranian theocracy, and is therefore willing to sign a deal whose sunset clause will allow the mullahs to build nuclear weapons within 10 years (if they don't cheat before that time - which they will). Who is being naive?

Gordon accuses Oren of "leveling the outlandish charge that Obama made 'deliberate mistakes' to damage U.S.-Israeli relations — a notion not just oxymoronic but inconsistent with the story and analysis in the book." Gordon, however, makes no reference to recent calls for "Death to America" from Iran's parliament (when people threaten to kill me, I believe them) or Iranian efforts to build ICBMs, which will bring the Iranian nuclear threat to American shores. Of course, all this and more (e.g., Iran's support of the Houthi insurgency in Yemen) should be ignored in order to realize Obama's "signature foreign policy initiative." Who is being moronic (as opposed to "oxymoronic")?

Gordon concludes his opinion piece/book review by accusing Oren of "peddl[ing] a false narrative of American abandonment of Israel." Sorry, Phil, but no one is talking about "American abandonment of Israel." Rather, we are talking about Obama's abandonment of Israel, and yes, I agree with Mike.

Judging from the panicky response of Obama's inner circle, Oren obviously touched a raw nerve.

1 comment:

  1. They can not censor the reviews at Amazon.com
    5-stars, by readers who respect an historian who writes so well, as a primary source.

    Meanwhile, this WH is re-writing American History, [self-censoring examples].

    False narratives are a problem for this WH - do they even know which ones they are pushing?

    ReplyDelete