“The violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace," Obama said. Then, departing from printed remarks made available to reporters beforehand, he added: "And that’s something worthy of reflection within Israel."
Israelis need the President of the United States to tell them what to reflect on during our holy days?
Too many Israelis are ready to abandon the hard work of peace? What planet is the President inhabiting? This is unbelievably offensive and factually wrong. Has he ever seen the graves of the thousands of young people on Mt. Herzl? The memorials to terrorist victims? Has he heard the prayers for peace?
I know of no Israeli who is "ready to abandon the hard work of peace" or who doesn't pray or hope for peace daily. To make such a statement at any time is offensive and insulting. To do so on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, when every Jew prays for a peaceful year, reflects on the past year, and tries to rededicate himself to a worthy life, is just unbelievably insensitive.
Despite all of my criticisms of President Obama's foreign policy, and my many concerns about his policies that have hurt Israel and the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, I have always tried to regard him with the respect a President deserves. However, this is simply outrageous and I have no respect left for this president.
Over and over again, Israelis have taken great steps for peace, only to be faced with terrorism, missiles, and hate. Israelis continue to reach out to their Palestinian neighbors and to be willing to make great sacrifices for a real peace. And, after having done so, when we must then defend ourselves from a less than optimum position, the world condemns us, with the U.S. Secretary of State publicly and sarcastically mocking our efforts at precision.
We are always ready for the “hard work of peace.” We have not ever abandoned it. But we are not willing to put our children in harm's way, and our country in jeopardy for a fleeting hope of peace.
Somehow President Obama thinks that the U.S. has every right to bomb countries around the world to protect Americans. But, Israelis who defend themselves and refuse to compromise their security without real and permanent peace when they have no margin of error are, in the President's thinking, "ready to abandon the hard work of peace."
Menachem Begin once said that the world likes its Jews as victims. He could have had President Obama in mind. Sorry, President Obama, not again. Even if you incredulously accuse us of giving up on working for peace.
(Originally published in The Times of Israel)