How Obama is using flotilla raid to distance US from Israel

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Public condemnation of Israel over its seizure of a terrorist-supported aid flotilla to Gaza has been led by Turkey, where the ships embarked from, and has been loudest in the halls of the UN. But US President Barack Obama, too, has used the incident as a means of further distancing his administration from the Jewish state.

In his public rhetoric, Obama has refrained from condemning Israel outright, though he has leveled veiled criticism, but his actions speak far louder than his words.

The first action that demonstrated whose side Obama was taking in the matter was the canceling of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House scheduled for the day after the flotilla raid took place.

As the news of the raid broke, Netanyahu at first announced that he would remain in the US and finish his North America diplomatic tour, including his meeting with Obama. But just hours later, the Israeli leader abruptly changed his plans and said he would be returning home to "deal with the crisis."

There was no reasonable explanation for canceling the meeting, though Obama and Netanyahu tried to offer some, except for that Obama didn't want Netanyahu to use the White House as a podium from which to explain Israel's position, as that would upset those of Israel's enemies the Obama Administration is trying to make nice with.

Diplomatic sources in Washington and Jerusalem acknowledged as much to the Israeli financial newspaper Globes when they revealed that the Obama team told Netanyahu, "Don't come."

The second way in which Obama discreetly used the flotilla incident to move the US away from its traditional support of Israel was in his handling of the emergency UN Security Council session called in the wake of the confrontation.

Displaying its double standard toward Israel, the UN moved with lightning speed to set up the session and draft a resolution condemning the Jewish state. The UN's Muslim states wanted to get the session underway while Lebanon was still the acting president of the Security Council. Lebanon was scheduled to be replaced by Mexico at 12 PM on the day of the flotilla incident.

In that short space of time, the Security Council met, discussed the matter and unanimously approved a resolution that laid the blame for the almost solely on Israel. In the past, Washington has used various methods to block the Security Council from fast-tracking hostile resolutions against Israel in the aftermath of such incidents.

The Obama Administration also raised no objections when the UN Human Rights Council decided to suddenly amend its procedural rules and hold its first-ever "urgent debate," which naturally concluded with a strong condemnation of Israel.

Israeli observers and the Jewish state's true friends in America noted that while Obama did not produce any direct condemnations himself, it was his actions that enabled the international media and the UN to really skewer Israel. It is difficult to believe Obama didn't know what he was doing.

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