Coincidental positions taken by President Obama and Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli Minister of Defense, tell us what a sad state we have fallen into. Obama has just received Mahmoud Abbas, the spokesman for Palestinians on the West Bank, and he came out saying that Abbas has “consistently renounced violence, has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states.” This of a man who has done everything in his power to replace the state of Israel with the state of Palestine, and is frustrated only because he lacks the means.
Ya’alon at that same time was telling an audience in Tel Aviv that the United States is “demonstrating weakness.” Ya’alon is responsible for his country’s security against an Iran that is all the time more deceitful and aggressive. When it comes to negotiating, he emphasizes, the Iranians are better. He puts it directly, “This is a war of civilization. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world.” So the conclusion for Israelis is straightforward. “We have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”
The Obama administration immediately claimed to be shocked and angry and mystified. Of course nobody wants to be told they are demonstrating weakness when that is exactly what they are doing on all fronts, with Russia, Iran, China, Egypt, even the Palestinian Authority. Telling the truth used to be considered not just a virtue but a necessity. One of these two men is confronting unpleasant facts, and one is hiding from them. I know whom I would choose to take decisions for my country.