Obama’s unmistakable message to Israel: You stand alone

In speech on Iran nukes, president uses a tactic that US Jewish opponents of the deal will find hard to combat: insinuating misplaced loyalty

WASHINGTON — In March 2013, US President Barack Obama addressed the Israeli people in Jerusalem, reassuring them that the world’s sole superpower would have their back in the face of threats from Iran and other Middle Eastern states seeking their annihilation.

On Wednesday, in a speech at American University in Washington, Obama sent the opposite message to Jerusalem: You are indeed alone.

While he said he “deeply shares” the American people’s “sincere affinity” for Israel and remains committed to maintaining its “Qualitative Military Edge,” when it comes to your government’s ferocious but “wrong” opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, he made clear, you are on your own.

“Because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support,” Obama said. “The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and nonproliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors who served under Republican and Democratic presidents support it.”

This was a biting barb aimed at highlighting Israel’s isolation. Though aired via discreet diplomatic channels, the Arab Gulf States’ apprehension over the nuclear deal is the Middle East’s worst-kept secret. Obama is worried that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incessant attacks on the deal have started making inroads among the American public and — more importantly — among US legislators who can still kill the deal. Therefore he unsubtly asserted that with its vocal opposition, Israel stands against the rest of the world.

Americans “have to take seriously concerns in Israel,” he noted, mentioning the administration’s willingness to increase military aid and intelligence cooperation “to help meet Israel’s pressing security needs.”

But then Obama went for the jugular, making an argument that is hard to counter for American Jews, Israel supporters and other opponents of the deal.

“I believe the facts support this deal,” he said. “I believe they are in America’s interests and Israel’s interests, and as president of the United States it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.”

In other words, Obama implied, if the commander-in-chief chooses to pursue a certain strategy, then opposing it based on the opposition of another country, even an allied one, is beyond the pale.

Full article: Obama’s unmistakable message to Israel: You stand alone (The Times of Israel)

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