The flotilla of boats intercepted by Israel this week flew the Turkish flag and was paid for by a “charity” deeply implicated in Islamic terrorism. But the “captain” of the fleet was none other than Barack Obama.
From the day he took the oath of office eighteen arduous months ago, Obama has followed a Middle East foreign policy that’s been as hostile toward Israel as it’s been hospitable toward the Islamic world.
Over those months Obama has seldom showed anger toward rogue Muslim governments—not toward the appalling human rights abuses of the genocidal Bashir regime in Sudan. Not toward the government of Iran as it pursues its nuclear weapons program.
Obama refused “to meddle” in Iran’s affairs after the deadly crackdown against protestors following the Islamic Republic’s sham elections. But he was described as “seething” with anger only moments after hearing about a routine decision by Jerusalem’s municipal government to authorize housing units in a well established Jewish neighborhood.
The administration’s latest betrayal of Israel came a couple days before the flotilla episode, when the U.S. joined an international conference that singled out Israel—not Iran—to renounce its nuclear weapons.
From Tehran to Ankara, from Damascus to Beirut, radical Islamists have read the signals as well. They see Obama as weak and they know he feels no bond with Israel. They sense opportunity. That is why missiles are being launched from Gaza again, why Hezbollah says it is yearning for war, why Syria has rejected every U.S. overture and why Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens a second Holocaust.
“Mr. Obama, you are a newcomer. Wait until your sweat dries and get some experience,” Ahmadinejad taunted Obama ahead of the president’s nuclear summit in D. C. two months ago.
Obama’s It’s-Better-To-Be-Loved-Than-Feared foreign policy also explains why Turkey, a U.S. ally and NATO member, allowed the flotilla to be launched. Did Obama even try to convince Turkey to stop the ships? Did he object when Turkey signed a nuclear deal with Iran two weeks ago?
As night follows day, Israel has come under a cascade of criticism for trying to defend its people. But it’s important to remember that Israel imposed the embargo after Hamas violently seized the Gaza Strip three years ago and turned it into a launching pad for rocket attacks against Israeli citizens.
Some 10,000 rockets have rained down on Israel since then, and the air assaults continued this week. Under international law, any nation that is under repeated attack has the right to intercept suspect ships to make sure munitions aren’t being smuggled in.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week, “This incident was the result of an intentional provocation of forces which support Iran and its terrorist enclave, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip. This enclave, Hamas, has fired thousands of missiles at the State of Israel, and it is amassing thousands more.”
The embargo was the only way to stop rockets from being transported to Gaza from Syria and Iran. Israel had already caught several ships filled with weapons. Given Hamas’ stated goal of the annihilation of the Jewish State, and its ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, the embargo is not only justified but also, I would argue, mandatory.
When one of the boats refused to be diverted to allow Israeli inspectors to ensure that only humanitarian goods were on board, Israel was well within its rights to intervene with force.
The media initially tried to portray those on board as “activists.” The Tea Party protestors are activists. The boats were filled with Islamists and their allies – people whose ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel and the U.S. Later reports found that many have links to terrorist groups. Three of the four Turks killed told their families before they left that they hoped to become martyrs.
On Wednesday it was reported that Israeli Security forces found a weapons cache on board the Turkish-flagged merchant vessel. The stash included Molotov cocktails, detonators, knives, slingshots and gasmasks. As Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This was not a love boat. This was a hate boat. These were not pacifists. These weren’t peace activists. These were violent supporters of terrorism.”
Israel’s enemies are succeeding in increasingly isolating Israel. Its one-time ally Turkey, which knew about the flotilla in advance but chose not to stop it, has severed diplomatic ties to Israel. And while Americans are overwhelmingly pro-Israel, their government is downright hostile.
That is why I believe war looms on the horizon, and why the outcome of that war is far from certain. If war erupts, it won’t be because of the way Israel handles the constant stream of provocations and attacks. It will be because Islamic radicals feel increasingly emboldened by a feeble American president.
They have taken the measure of the man in the White House and have found him soft. Peace in the Middle East has been a goal of American presidents for decades. It’s tragic that Obama’s failure to stand with our only Democratic ally in the Middle East is leading us all closer to war.