I struggle to find words that describe my response to today's speech by President Obama. It looks to me like the United States has just thrown Israel under the bus, harming a longtime ally in an attempt to score points with others in the Middle East.
The United States just reneged on commitments we made in 2004 when we promised Israel we would not force them to return to the 1967 borders--which are not defensible. We might say our commitment to Israel is "unshakeable," but actions speak louder than words. And by our actions we have just put Israel in an untenable position.
It seems as if we have committed our country to a policy of ethnic cleansing, publicly demanding that Israel abandon land that has historically belonged to the Jewish people. For example, from 1948 till 1967 all Jews were forcibly excluded from the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and denied access to the Western Wall, the holiest location in Judaism. Is it our official position to demand that the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem be judenrein?
We are quick to pressure Israel to make concessions, but similar pressure isn't being applied to the Palestinians. When the Palestinian Authority announced a unity government with Hamas, our response was muted, even though Hamas refuses to abandon it's formal position calling for the destruction of Israel. We continue to fund Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority even though he has refused to negotiate with Israel. We say we are committed to Israel's security, but our statements don't align with our actions.
My concern with America's current foreign policy decisions in the Middle East extend beyond just Israel. We abandoned longtime ally Hosni Mubarak, publicly calling on him to step down within days after demonstrations began. We were quick to throw our support behind the "pro-democracy" demonstrators in Cairo. But we didn't actively support the protestors who demonstrated against rigged elections in Iran. And we still haven't called for the removal of Bashar Assad of Syria, even though he has killed nearly a thousand demonstrators over the past several weeks. Yet we pressured Bahrain to give in to the demands of Shiite protestors even though there is evidence that the unrest in Bahrain is being fomented by Iran. Our actions against the leadership in Egypt and Bahrain have offended and alienated Saudi Arabia, which also feels abandoned by the U.S.
It looks like our current national policy is to distance ourselves from friends in the hope of courting the favor of enemies. This won't work. We will end up with no friends...and more emboldened enemies. What western, secular politicians perceive as tolerance and even-handedness is viewed in the Middle East as weakness and vacillation. America's new policy is a policy of appeasement...and it looks much like an earlier version promoted by Neville Chamberlain just before World War II. And my fear is that the results will be similar.
While I'm concerned for Israel, I believe God will take care of them. I'm more worried about the United States. If we turn against Israel, we will be turning against God. As God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, "And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse." I don't want the United States to become a nation cursed by God. But the path we seem to be choosing is not encouraging!