Is Barack Obama sacrificing America’s alliance with Israel for the sake of … a shot at a relationship with Iran?
Let’s begin at the end—or, at least, close to the end. The “historic opportunity” to solve the Arab-Jew conflict spoken of by the White House is nothing of the sort, and efforts to pursue it will crash and burn. Then, what happens next will be an awesome and awful fulfillment of an ancient prophecy.
Events this week advanced the situation toward that end.
In the Oval Office on Monday, Israel and America butted heads. Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama agreed on what the top two agenda items should be: the peace process and Iran’s nuclear program. But which to put first?
“The worst danger we face is that Iran would develop nuclear military capabilities,” stressed Israel’s prime minister. For Israel, preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb is a question of survival. Iranian leaders have vowed to eliminate Israel. This threat must be removed before meaningful headway can be made seeking peace. After all, the Palestinian populace is divided in two. Half is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist group whose patron is Iran. If Iran is defanged, its proxies within Israel shrivel, and peace becomes more likely.
President Obama countered that the nuclear issue needs to take a backseat to the peace process. “If there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way,” he said. Gaining ground in the peace arena “strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.” In other words, the United States wants Israel to make more concessions in hopes of appeasing Arab states; then they might be likelier to turn around and pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear aims.
The flaws in the president’s reasoning are deep. In truth, if the Palestinians get a state before Iran is neutralized, the threat to Israel’s existence grows significantly. Palestine would likely become another, larger Gaza Strip: a terrorist camp bristling with Iranian weapons.
Nevertheless, President Obama is taking this position for at least one major reason: He wants a partnership with Iran.
The Afghanistan-Pakistan situation is well out of hand. The border region between the two countries has been overrun by the Taliban, endangering supply lines to U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Obama administration proposes to solve the problem by bypassing it—sending supplies through an alternate route. That means soliciting help from Afghanistan’s western neighbor, Iran.
But AfPak is only one of several foreign-policy challenges hammering Washington. It appears the president has stepped back and reassessed the lot of them—Iraq, Hamas, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Lebanon, nuclear proliferation. He figures that all these problems become more manageable if Iran is onside.
If that is true, the only reason is that Tehran is largely behind all these problems! They wouldn’t exist if not for Iran. Treating it as an ally is like hiring the arsonist into the fire department.
Yes, through back-channel dealings, Washington is looking to forge a military and intelligence partnership with Iran. Of course, Iran’s mullahs aren’t excited about the idea of helping the U.S.—“the great Satan”—to subdue the Taliban. Should they oblige, their price will be steep. But consider all the incentives the U.S. has to offer. It can allow Iran a free hand in Iraq. It can remove economic sanctions.
It can drop its opposition to Iran’s nuclear program.
It can pull back its support for Israel.
How much is America already doing these things? Recently, the U.S. broke a long-standing agreement with Israel by explicitly naming the Jewish state among the world’s presumed nuclear powers. The comment sparked outrage in Israel; many analysts saw it as a sign of the administration’s antagonism. And after President Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu this week, many observers were dismayed at the treatment Israel’s prime minister received. “There wasn’t a single blister that Obama didn’t step on,” wrote Israel’s second-largest daily, Ma’ariv.
“A new era has begun in relations between Israel and the United States,” Eytan Gilboa, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, told Agence France-Presse. “The new American president does not have a particular sentiment towards Israel. He is defending his interests and his global approach to the Middle East, which includes a rapprochement with the Arab world at the expense of privileged relations with Israel” (emphasis mine throughout).
That’s why, when Netanyahu says that keeping nuclear weapons away from Iran should be top priority, Obama balks. In fact, his administration has been downright testy with Israel, demanding that it stop threatening to attack Iran and that it get America’s permission before making any moves. Bottom line: “Washington will not brook any unilateral Israeli military action that might upset U.S.-Iranian moves towards cooperation in the [Afghanistan-Pakistan] arena,” debkafile reported May 2.
What that means is, the U.S. wants Iran’s help more than it seeks Israel’s security. The president is clearly signaling that he will address Iran according to America’s interests rather than Israel’s survival. He labels Israel’s urgency over Iran’s nuclear program “artificial.” He rejects Netanyahu’s apocalyptic view, because it rudely intrudes on his dream of redefining the Middle East.
President Obama believes—correctly—that Iran cannot be persuaded to give up its nuclear activities. What to do, then? According to the Jerusalem Post, senior U.S. officials say off the record that the U.S. has accepted the idea of a nuclear Iran. “As far as the administration is concerned, the only reason Iran would threaten U.S. interests is if Israel provokes it. As far as the administration is concerned, if Israel could just leave Iran’s nuclear installations alone, Iran would behave itself,” wrote Caroline Glick. “But if Israel preemptively takes out Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and Iran in turn attacks Israeli and U.S. targets in the region, the Obama administration will hold Israel—not Iran—responsible for whatever losses the U.S. incurs.” How rich.
For America to suffocate its alliance with Israel is appalling, and it will end in tragedy. To pursue an alliance with Iran is folly, and it will end in ruin.
A “historic opportunity” for peace this is not. By no means is Israel eager to let its crucial relationship with the U.S. fracture—but don’t expect it to stand for such unfriendly treatment for long. It will pay lip service to America’s demands, but then resist conceding much to an “ally” clearly unconcerned about its interests.
For some years, the Trumpet has drawn attention to a biblical prophecy suggesting a division between the U.S. and Israel. Events certainly seem to be vindicating that forecast.
But that isn’t actually the most remarkable storyline that will emerge from these events.
A far more earthshaking prophecy revolves around where Israel will turn once it feels abandoned by the United States. As Stephen Flurry wrote back in January 1996—thirteen years ago, “Because of America’s declining support, Israel will seek help from the only other major world power—the European Union, dominated by Germany, or biblical Assyria (Hosea 5:13). … As the threat of war looms for Israel, look for them to turn to the European Union for help and support instead of America.” This prophecy is explained in our August 2001 cover story, “The Counterfeit Peacemaker”—as is its tragic outcome.
For the Jews to seek help from the enemy that shattered them in World War ii is a measure of their foolishness. But for shunning a staunch ally in order to pursue the false promise of a partnership with an enemy, America carries no small measure of guilt. •