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Bias Against Israel

8:15 PM, Jun 30, 2014 • By NOAH POLLAK
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Tel Aviv
Here is what bias against Israel looks like. Three Israeli teenagers are abducted by the terrorist group Hamas, and after a desperate weeks-long search for the boys, they are finally found—dead in shallow graves near the site of the abduction. While all this is happening, Hamas instigates a new round of missile attacks from Gaza, firing 56 rockets at southern Israeli communities. The Obama administration's response? Express sympathy but call on Israel to refrain from responding.

Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Moments after the news broke today that the bodies of the teenagers had been found, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. was "urging restraint"—that is, urging Israel not to respond to the murder of its citizens.

Likewise the president's condolence statement concluded with an admonition that "all parties refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation." Make no mistake—this is not a call on "all parties." It is a call directly to Israel, as Hamas already acted to "destabilize the situation" by abducting and murdering three teenagers and it continues to "destabilize the situation" by launching dozens of rockets a day at Israel, including 16 this morning. Throughout this rocket campaign Obama issued no statements calling on Hamas to stop "destabilizing the situation." Hamas is prosecuting a multifaceted terror offensive—and Obama's position is to call on Israel not to respond, on the grounds that that would be "destabilizing."

The murder of the teens and the rocket fire from Gaza are, of course, entirely the fault of Hamas. But it would be taking too narrow a view of the situation not to consider the way over the past five years the Obama administration has shaped the environment in which these events are unfolding. 

A few examples: Israeli intelligence believes the Hamas cell that carried out the abduction was run by a Hamas leader who lives openly in Turkey. The Erdogan regime has, of course, made Turkey a comfortable haven for anti-Israel terrorists, allowing weapons smuggling to Hezbollah, staging the terror flotilla to Gaza in 2010, hosting (and feting) Hamas leaders, and so on. Obama's protest? None. In fact, a few years ago Obama said that Erdogan was his favorite Middle East leader, and Obama over the years has offered nothing but lavish public praise for Erdogan. 

Another example: The Obama administration has consistently adopted policies whose effect is to make Hamas rule in Gaza easier. One of the first foreign policy moves the administration made—you can read all about it in Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices, where she writes earnestly and proudly about her involvement—was to pressure Israel to weaken its blockade on Gaza after Operation Cast Lead, the short war that ended days before Obama's inauguration in 2009. Every dollar of aid provided to Gaza is a dollar freed up for Hamas to spend on terrorizing Israelis—and the Obama administration for five years has been insistent on Gaza receiving substantial aid, and Israel relaxing its blockade. Clinton and Obama pushed through another loosening of the Gaza blockade after Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. 

Yet another example: The Obama administration, including Secretaries Clinton and Kerry, has always insisted that the U.S. taxpayer should continue funding the Palestinian Authority even if it forms a "unity government" with Hamas, which after many years of trying was finally consummated last month. The Obama administration even coached the Palestinians on how to organize the new unity government so that the administration would be able to claim that it does not violate a 2006 law forbidding the funding of exactly such a PA (instead of Hamas terrorists receiving ministerial positions in the Palestinian Authority, there are Hamas-approved "technocrats" occupying the ministries—i.e., cutouts who do the bidding of Hamas).

And thus, with Hamas and Fatah joined in an Obama-approved unity government that will continue receiving hundreds of millions of dollars a year in U.S. funding, we arrive at the events of the past three weeks—the increased rocket fire, the abduction and murder of the teenagers, and, of course, the administration's admonition that Israel not respond to events the administration itself has played a role in bringing about.

And all the while the Obama administration insists on its "unshakable commitment to Israel's security," a phrase invoked with repetitive meaninglessness. The most important part of that commitment is being a source of moral clarity on days like today, and treating an ally like an ally, instead of a problem that must be contained. The administration has failed on both counts. 

Noah Pollak is on Twitter @NoahPollak.

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