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Obama's Tactic

Biden. Tested political tactic Photo: Yehonatan Tzur
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Obama. 'Chicago-style bluster' Photo: AFP
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Hammer the Jews

President Obama’s advisors choose Jerusalem as ground for their big fight

Michael Fenenbock
Published: 03.16.10, 18:08 / Israel Opinion

A “Sister Souljah moment” in American politics occurs when a politician chooses to loudly rebuke a traditional ally to show they’re not beholden.

 

The Biden dust-up is such a moment.

 

Israelis are right to be insulted by the unequal and coerced treatment they have received at the hands of the Obama Administration. President Obama’sintentions are public and on the record. His Administration’s hostility toward the Jewish State is embedded in their agenda.

 

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No amount of hand wringing will change the facts. No amount of “Hasbara” will deflect their enmity. No amount of “explaining” will alter the Administration’s animosity or change their intentions.

 

Imposing a two-state solution is at the heart of the Administration’s foreign policy. They are mesmerized by the idea of a two-state solution.

 

Create a Palestinian state and in one stroke America will defang Islamic terrorism and achieve political detoxification of the Middle East. Acting as midwife to a Palestine state, America's image in the Muslim world will be remade. Transformed in an instant.

 

In response to last week’s Biden dust-up, President Obama has employed a time tested political tactic for turning a negative into a positive. Shine a media spotlight on it. They’ve turned the Biden dust-up into really big news. On purpose.

 

From the Obama Administration’s perspective, their “let me remind you who is boss” Chicago style bluster and fury aimed at Prime Minister Netanyahu this past week is a winner.

 

Now they have a political excuse to “hammer the Jews” and show the world how tough minded they can be. The American president sent a message. He intends to apply unrelenting pressure on Israel. Cheering from the sidelines a spellbound Europe chants, "And about time."

 

The political truth is that the Obama Administration will get away with their “hammer the Jews” strategy unless there is a political price to pay in the 2010 American elections.

 

Which brings us to an interesting juncture. A crossroads has been reached. Will the two-state train continue to roar down the track or can it be derailed?

 

To fully comprehend the circumstance we must take into account an important development. Right now the Obama Administration is in a politically weakened condition.

 

Ball in our court 

Let me repeat that. The Obama administration is plagued with serious political problems. Obama’s poll numbers seven months out from the 2010 mid-term elections are dismal. According to the daily track from Scott Rasmussen 42% strongly disapprove of the way Obama is performing as president while 27% strongly approve. Overall, 53% somewhat disapprove and 46% somewhat approve. (Sunday, March 14, 2010)

 

Health Care, his signature domestic legislation, has the Administration tied in knots with no options but bad ones. His foreign policy is perceived a dismal failure. He is particularly vulnerable on charges of being soft on terrorism.

 

At the moment the American political dynamic is propelled by discontent. Anger over a broken economy. Unemployment. Debt and spending. Cronyism. Scandal.

 

The president’s party has suffered major election defeats in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Each one seen as a rebuff to his policies. He’s lost independent voters. Moderate Democratic Party office holders are scurrying away.

 

For President Obama the 2010 midterm election is a looming disaster.

 

There is organized, determined opposition to the president and his policies. His opposition is almost universally supportive of Israel. His antipathy toward the Jewish state is not shared. “Hammer the Jews” is not a consensus policy in America. A two-state solution is not a foregone conclusion.

 

Many who oppose the Administration see an opportunity to make their own point about a myopic Obama foreign policy that coddles terrorists at home, bows to the Saudi king abroad, offers public apologies to Islam, and twists the arm of its allies.

 

The president is vulnerable. The opposition intends to cause damage. Real damage. Political damage. The kind they pay attention to.

 

President Obama’s political advisors have embraced this “Sister Souljah moment.” They have chosen Jerusalem as the ground for their big fight.

 

The ball is now in our court.

 

We should take up the challenge.

 

Michael Fenenbock is a long-time American political consultant. He and his wife Daphne Weisbart live in New York, but spend a great deal of time in Jerusalem

 

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