This past Sunday, while preaching on the name of Jesus — perhaps the most well-known resident of Israel (past, present, or future) — I asked those in the congregation to call out the first thing that they associated with the name of the person I would mention. When I mentioned Osama bin Laden, several yelled out “dead.” The same for Elvis and Sinatra — “dead!” When I mentioned the name Barack Obama, there were audible boos and cat-calls. While not excusing the reaction of some within the congregation, I quickly reminded everyone something my mother taught me: if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say it at all — or at least not in a house of worship on a Sunday morning!
Notwithstanding that piece of advice, I can understand why a chorus of boos and cat-calls are coming in from Israel and her true friends today. Following President Obama’s Mid-East speech today — which, by the way, should have surprised no one who has followed the increasing hostility of this Administration toward the State of Israel — the people of Israel and Jews around the world must be thinking: “with friends like President Obama, who needs enemies?”
Ever since I heard that President Obama has called for Israel to withdraw to the borders prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli, one thing kept popping into my head — Obama sure threw Israel under the bus. Apparently, Mitt Romney and many others have had the same reaction:
“President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace,” Romney said in a statement. “He has also violated a first principle of American foreign policy, which is to stand firm by our friends,” added the former Massachusetts governor.
Of course, President Obama has become the master of throwing his friends and family under the bus — witness his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright and his “typical white” grandmother. Throwing Israel under the bus seems like it maybe second nature for this President.
In a break with past U.S. foreign policy, President Obama — only one day in advance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington — the President publicly took the side of the Palestinians in their ongoing “dispute” over the Promised Land. Of course, if by dispute you mean that the Palestinians — including the terrorist group Hamas — want ALL of what is currently the land of Israel and to drive the Jewish people into the sea, then what a dispute we have. Is it any wonder that more and more Americans question this President’s Christian bona fides?
At this point, President Obama’s words about Israel ring hollow. Surrounded on every side by enemies — or at best, very weak friends — Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. Ever since President Harry Truman immediately recognized the new State of Israel on May 14, 1948, American Presidents — both Democrats and Republicans — have stood steadfastly by Israel and the Jewish people, both in word and deed.
How much more does President Obama have to say and do to make his opposition to the Jewish state of Israel abundantly clear? Many Americans, including those within the Jewish community, were looking forward to hope and change that would be implemented by this transformative President. I’m not quite sure that President Obama’s stance against the nation of Israel meets that expectation, unless you want to redefine the words “hope” and “change.” But, as we’ve seen with this President, anything’s possible!