Obama turns back on Is­rael

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

The real mean­ing of Pres­i­dent Obama’s re­cent ad­dress to the Mus­lim world in Cairo is that he is turn­ing his back on the Jews, at a time when they face an­other pos­si­ble holo­caust.

Mr. Obama called for a “new beginning” in re­la­tions be­tween the United States and Is­lamic civ­i­liza­tion. He praised Is­lam’s com­mit­ment to “peace,” “jus­tice” and “re­li­gious tol­er­ance.” He listed the Mus­lim world’s sup­posed con­tri­bu­tions to his­tory — al­ge­bra, the com­pass and the print­ing press, among oth­ers.

There is only one prob­lem: It is all false. Mr. Obama’s out­reach to the Arab street is pred­i­cated on a mas­sive mul­ti­cul­tural fic­tion. He be­lieves that, if only he praises Is­lam enough, some­how he can talk the Mus­lim world into em­brac­ing Amer­ica — and the West. “The Holy Ko­ran tells us, ‘Be con­scious of God and speak al­ways the truth,’” said Mr. Obama, quot­ing the Mus­lim holy book. Yet, his speech was rid­dled with lies. It was not Is­lam, but the Greeks, who in­vented al­ge­bra; the Chi­nese who gave us the com­pass; and Jo­hannes Guten­berg — a Ger­man — who cre­ated the mod­ern print­ing press. What’s next: Is­lam in­vented the In­ter­net?

The ad­dress, how­ever, was more than a puerile and pa­thetic ex­er­cise in po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. It will be re­mem­bered as the piv­otal mo­ment in his­tory when the United States ceased to be a su­per­power. Sapped of its self-con­fi­dence and sense of grandiose des­tiny, Amer­ica chose the pol­icy of ap­pease­ment over con­fronta­tion, lies over truth, il­lu­sion over re­al­ity. At the heart of Mr. Obama’s speech, as well as his for­eign pol­icy, is the no­tion that we are not “at war” with Is­lam. But the real is­sue is the very op­po­site: po­lit­i­cal Is­lam is at war with us — or to be more pre­cise, rad­i­cal fun­da­men­tal­ists are bent on de­stroy­ing Amer­ica, Is­rael and the West.

The lib­er­als’ mantra is that the ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims are non-vi­o­lent mod­er­ates. This is un­de­ni­ably true. But it misses the point.

Dur­ing the 1930s, ap­pease­ment was based upon the no­tion that a ma­jor­ity of Ger­mans were de­cent peo­ple, who sim­ply wanted peace and na­tional self­de­ter­mi­na­tion. Hence, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Neville Cham­ber­lain’s fate­ful de­ci­sion to give away the Sude­ten­land, Cze­choslo­vakia’s eth­nic Ger­man re­gion, to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. By be­tray­ing the Czechs at the Mu­nich con­fer­ence, Cham­ber­lain be­lieved he had se­cured “peace in our time.” In­stead, he had em­bold­ened Hitler to wage a war of con­quest. The end re­sult was a Europe in tat­ters, 50 mil­lion dead and the Holo­caust. The fact that there were count­less moderate, anti-Nazi Ger­mans meant noth­ing. Their re­fusal to speak out against Hitler’s Aryan racial­ism guar­an­teed its march to power — and de­struc­tion. His­tory re­veals that it is mil­i­tant mi­nori­ties — not rea­son­able ma­jori­ties — that of­ten drive events.

Across the Mus­lim world, Is­lamists are on the march. They may rep­re­sent only 10 per­cent of the Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion, but that still amounts to nearly 150 mil­lion peo­ple. Mr. Obama rarely men­tioned democ­racy and never said the word “ter­ror­ism.”

Yet, the Mid­dle East does not need greater em­pa­thy or mul­ti­cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity. Rather, it needs to hear cold, hard truths: Its back­ward­ness is rooted in the lack of En­light­en­ment moder­nity and lib­eral democ­racy. The re­gion’s despots foster anti-Semitic, anti-Amer­i­can ha­tred to dis­tract cit­i­zens from their pro­found mis­rule. The ab­sence of press free­doms, po­lit­i­cal ac­count­abil­ity and the rule of law has only fu­eled Is­lamic fas­cism. The dark­ness of dic­ta­tor­ship breeds ji­hadism; to drain the ter­ror­ist swamp re­quires sys­temic demo­cratic re­form — which Mr. Obama re­fused to ad­dress openly and can­didly.

He could have called for Egypt’s cor­rupt au­toc­racy to release demo­cratic dis­si­dents rot­ting in its jails. He could have called for Saudi Ara­bia to no longer fund rad­i­cal madras­sas. He could have called on Arab rulers to stop per­se­cut­ing Jews and Chris­tians. He could have called on Syria to end its sup­port for Ha­mas and Hezbol­lah. But he did not.

In­stead, Mr. Obama high­lighted the core prin­ci­ple of his for­eign pol­icy: tak­ing a tough line against Is­rael. He re­peated his call for an in­de­pen­dent Pales­tinian state and for Jerusalem to halt ex­pand­ing set­tle­ments. The key is­sue in the re­gion, how­ever, is not Pales­tine. It is Iran.

Mr. Obama is re­peat­ing Cham­ber­lain’s tragic mis­take — ex­cept this time, the Is­raelis are to play the role of the Czechs, the sac­ri­fi­cial lamb at the al­tar of ap­pease­ment. Se­nior Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials ad­mit the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has pri­vately told Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu that Wash­ing­ton can live with an Ira­nian nu­clear bomb. Mr. Obama be­lieves it is only a mat­ter of time. More­over, should Is­rael at­tack Iran’s nu­clear sites to pre­vent the mul­lahs from achiev­ing the bomb, Jerusalem — not Tehran — will be blamed for any mil­i­tary con­flict.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ar­gues that Is­rael’s nu­clear arse­nal can serve as a strate­gic de­ter­rent to the Ira­nian bomb, sim­i­lar to how mu­tu­ally as­sured de­struc­tion (MAD) be­tween the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. kept the peace dur­ing the Cold War. But Soviet Rus­sia was a ra­tio­nal, athe­is­tic power. Iran’s mul­loc­racy is a mes­sianic, apoc­a­lyp­tic Shi­ite regime, which is will­ing to sac­ri­fice mil­lions of Ira­ni­ans to achieve the Fi­nal So­lu­tion.

Ay­a­tol­lah Hashemi Raf­san­jani, a so-called “moderate” and the pre­de­ces­sor to Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad, has vowed that Tehran will not be de­terred by the fear of Is­raeli nu­clear re­tal­i­a­tion. “If the day comes when the world of Is­lam is duly equipped with the arms Is­rael has in its pos­ses­sion,” he said, “ap­pli­ca­tion of an atomic bomb would not leave any­thing in Is­rael, but the same thing would just pro­duce dam­ages in the Mus­lim world.” In other words, the mul­lahs be­lieve that Iran can sur­vive a nu­clear ex­change, while Is­rael can’t.

Th­ese are the words — and ideas — of mad­men. Mr. Obama lacks the courage and will to con­front Amer­ica’s dead­li­est en­e­mies.

Jef­frey T. Kuh­ner is pres­i­dent of the Ed­mund Burke In­sti­tute, a Wash­ing­ton think tank.

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