Friday, March 26, 2010

How to Treat Friends

When the elderly president of Czechoslovakia, Dr. Emil Hacha, visited Adolf Hitler in the late winter of 1939, his country had already agreed to measures designed to placate the dictator. The Czech cabinet had banned the communists and booted out all Jewish school teachers. The Czechs were fully prepared to make other concessions.

But Hitler was no about to accept any further conciliatory gestures. He had already abandoned any pretense of diplomacy because his real intent was to render Czechoslovakia powerless. He was determined to take the country over by force.

But before Hitler gave the aged and probably senile Hacha Germany's ultimatums, the dictator completely humiliated him. Hacha was not summoned into Hitler's presence until 1:15 A.M., at which time, after Hacha had groveled before him begging for mercy, Hitler exploded. Hacha had no choice but to sign a document of surrender and give in, the dictator fumed. Annihilation awaited if the Czechs dallied.

When Hacah and his envoy protested, Hitler stormed out of the room and handed Hacah over to Goering and Ribbentrop, who browbeat the confused and ailing president, finally bludgeoning him into signing the death warrant for his country at 3:55 A.M., March 15, 1939. [The fuller story of Dr. Hacah and Hitler can be found in William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pp. 444-448.]

The treatment of Dr. Hacah is a lesson in how authoritarians treat their enemies.

Who would ever have believed similar tactics of humiliation and browbeating would be used by our administration against a long time friend and ally?

Though not as severe a beating as was administered to Hacha; nonetheless, our president gave US long time friend and ally a good hard smack in the face, humilating and dismissing Bibi Netanyahu as if he were an upstart lackey. While unlike Hacha, Netanyahu neither fainted nor caved in, the behavior of our president reeks of Chicago style thuggery. It has the unsavory smell of authoritarianism.

By now most observers of the political scene know the story. Jim Hoft of PajamasMedia quotes Adrian Blomfield of The Telegraph:

Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family, it emerged on Thursday. The snub marked a fresh low in US-Israeli relations and appeared designed to show Mr Netanyahu how low his stock had fallen in Washington after he refused to back down in a row over Jewish construction in east Jerusalem.

… (Mr. Obama) immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.” As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. “I’m still around,” Mr Obama is quoted by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. “Let me know if there is anything new."

Obama's behavior toward the head of state of one of our most trusted and valuable allies goes beyond ignorance and immaturity. Our president acted as tyrants and thugs behave, not as the leader of the most powerful nation in the free world should behave.

Mr Hoft adds:

The ritual humiliation of the Israelis is an absolute disgrace, and yet another example of how the Obama administration views its allies with indifference, contempt, and at times outright hostility. It is extraordinary how far the Obama team has gone out of its way to grovel to state sponsors of terrorism, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Muammar Gaddafi, while kicking America’s friends in the teeth.

It is no wonder Obama's approval rating within Israel has fallen to single digits.

There are many disturbing lessons to be drawn from our president's treatment of Israel. None are good.

But the chief lesson to be learned is that the new realpolitik of the current administration continues to minimize our friends while courting our enemies.

European leaders may shrug and wait it out until a friendlier administration works to repair the damage done by our current administration.

But for Israel, the minimzation of her standing and the thuggish behavior of our president could well be catastrophic as the fire breathing nations who surround her see an opportunity to increase their hostility and gain legitimacy to their complaints that Israel and the Jews should not exist at all.

Just as bad, the stinging repudiation of Israel as a prime ally and friend could well stoke the fires of anti-semitism, not only in Europe, where the brush fires of antisemitism are fast turning into bonfires of hatred similar to those of the 1930's, but also here in the US.

After all, never has this country had a president who is more overtly hostile to Israel, who surrounds himself with so many anti-semitic sycophants and who is so ready to give severe qualifications concerning the legitimacy of the Jewish nation and its claims to its land.

All the more reason to vote him and his cronies out of office.

1 comment:

  1. Bebe is a real leader, maybe it is professional jealousy.