Moses said to the people in his final charge "I put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...Be strong and resolute..for the Lord will not forsake you" Deut. 30 and 31. Former US National Debate Champion and Ordained Rabbi tackles issues of Public Policy, Israel, Islamic Terrorism, Antisemitism, Jewish Wisdom and the Chicago Bears
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, left, looks on as President Obama speaks at the White House on March 3, 2014. Obama urged Netanyahu to “seize the moment” to make peace, saying time is running out to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
President Obama has continued his run of anti-Israel moves, despite delivering a frothy speech recently at the Israeli Embassy. His latest step was in issuing a directive that goods from the West Bank must be labeled as such. A statement from the administration this month revived a 1995 labeling rule that has rarely been enforced. This is akin to the European Union’s move late last year, one denounced by members of both parties and part and parcel with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
The administration disingenuously claims this is not a “boycott,” but in fact it enables boycotts, and in any event, is the manifestation of modern anti-Semitism disguised as Israel policy. Singling out Israel rather than many countries with internal issues cannot be justified on the merits; it is done because Israel is a Jewish state. That is not just a Republican view, by the way:
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) implicitly accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of inadvertently aiding the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, minutes before Kerry was expected to take the stage at the AIPAC Policy Conference’s Monday evening plenary. . . .
Last month, Kerry warned that Israel was facing a growing delegitimization campaign that will increase should Israel fail to achieve peace in this round of talks.
“The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott,” Kerry said. “That will intensify in the case of failure,” Kerry said, and faced a firestorm of criticism by Israeli officials in response.
Schumer also said that the BDS movement fit in to a long historical pattern on unfair treatment of Jews that could only be described as “anti-Semitism.”
In response to the administration’s decision on labeling, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced legislation to reverse the decision and put out a statement:
The United States must stand with Israel and against any action to undermine its legitimacy. The Obama administration, however, last week issued a policy directive that required the special labeling of goods produced in the disputed territories, and threatened enforcement actions against those who do not comply. That directive plays right into the hands of those who are driving insidious efforts to boycott Israeli goods. While some say the directive merely restates an old labeling rule originally drafted 20 years ago with no intention to stigmatize Israel, the truth is the rule was lightly if ever enforced and serves little purpose today. Its vigorous enforcement now — coming after a concerted lobbying campaign on the part of groups looking to weaken Israel — will have the undeniable effect of isolating our closest friend in the Middle East and giving other nations an excuse to unfairly treat Israel in trade relations. That is why I’m introducing a bill today to rescind the administration’s nonsensical rule and halt this latest effort to put daylight between the United States and Israel. There is an effort in some quarters around the globe to delegitimize Israel. Those behind it know they are too weak politically and too wrong morally to succeed in quick and dramatic fashion. They instead seek to achieve their aims gradually with incremental steps like labeling rules. It’s incumbent on all those who stand with Israel therefore to remain ever vigilant.”
It will be interesting to see if Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail join him. In any event, the president’s move should signal that this president is unique in his approach to Israel. And that is not a good thing.
Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.