From JPost.com, Jul 19, 2009, by ANNE BAYEFSKY:
President Barack Obama last Monday met for the first time with leaders of selected Jewish organizations and leaks from the meeting now make one thing very clear. The only free country in the Middle East no longer has a friend in the leader of the free world. Obama is the most hostile sitting American President in the history of the state of Israel.
This was the very first meeting with Jewish community’s leaders. Earlier requests for an audience with major Jewish organizations had reportedly been ignored. Six months after taking office the President finally got around to issuing an invitation – to stop the bleeding. Increasing numbers of Jews – even among the overwhelming number who voted for Obama – have been voicing serious concern about his real agenda.
The meeting, however, did not showcase the President’s trademark engagement and dialogue routine. Instead, he decided to cherry pick his Jewish audience to include pro-Obama newcomers with little support in the mainstream Jewish world, such as J Street, while blackballing the Zionist Organization of America. ... This leaves the President willing to engage Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but not ZOA President Mort Klein.
...there is no papering over the distressing reality that emerged. The President told his listeners that he preferred putting daylight between the United States and Israel. His reported justification: “there was no light between the U.S. and Israeli positions for the last eight years, and no progress was made.”
Evidently ...Palestinians are more likely to end terrorism, incitement to violence and rampant antisemitism if the United States applies more pressure on their victims.
Even if Obama doesn’t get it, Mahmoud Abbas does. He is now refusing to negotiate anything with the new Israeli government until President Obama’s settlement conditions are met.
...The President promoted his strategy of putting hard public “pressure” on Israel as a means to build more credibility with Arab states.
...Reports also quote the President as claiming Israel has yet to “engage in serious self-reflection.” Considering Israel is a democratic country forced to send its children into the armed forces for two to three years and its men into reserve duty for another twenty-five, that isn’t the audacity of hope. It’s just plain audacity.
There is no doubt that the pressure on Israel from the Obama administration is going to get a lot worse, as the President told the group “there is a narrow window of opportunity for advancing the peace process.” Everyone understood the threat. The narrow window is Obama’s self-defined political ambitions bearing no relationship to the realities of the Middle East – or the welfare of either Israel or the United States.