Skip to comments.Do Israelis "hate Obama's guts"?
Posted on 12/20/2010 4:49:58 PM PST by HearMe
Do Israelis "hate Obama's guts"? 1.
This post will have to start with explaining the context of the question above. Why do I ask the question? Why now? Well, it all started a couple of weeks ago really, in a nice restaurant in Tel Aviv where I was having a conversation with Ben Smith of The Politico. When Smith traveled back to Washington, he wrote a long story dealing with usual Middle East stuff: The peace process, Israel, Arabs, Obama, settlement freeze. I was quoted in this story. Heres the relevant paragraph:
Israelis really hate Obamas guts, said Shmuel Rosner, a columnist for two leading Israeli newspapers. We used to trust Americans to act like Americans, and this guy is like a European leader.
The quote was picked up by bloggers and commentators. Some did it because they were unhappy with Smiths story and were trying to discredit it (you can read my response to these people here here), others just thought it was a quote worth repeating.
I thought it was an unfortunate quote. Blunt, lacking in nuance, dumb. Some friends in Washington thought so too, but most were polite enough not to say what they really think. Ive decided to write more about this topic and explain what I was trying to say. But before I do, an apology would be appropriate. I shouldnt have used such language. 1. Because what I said is not true. 2. Because one doesnt use such language on record.
So do all Israelis really hate Obamas guts? Answering this question will be easy. No, not all Israelis really hate Obamas guts. Of course not. Israelis disagree on many things, one of them being Obama.
That was the easy answer, and the easy way out, while my goal here is to try and describe the way Israelis do feel about Obama and by way of doing this, to also explain why Ive said such ill-mannered thing. And the truth is, some Israelis do hate Obamas guts, and some dont hate him but still dislike him, and many are suspicious about him, and many question his policies and motives.
Im familiar with all the published polls in which the question of Obamas likability and approval by Israelis was asked, and also with some unpublished polls, and Ive also talked to a couple of knowledgeable Israelis before writing this post. The story both numbers and analysts tell is of an Israeli public that doesnt trust the American President, that thinks he is naïve at best.
Not long ago, I went to see a demonstration of settlers opposing the freeze in Jerusalem, and some of them were claiming Obama is an enemy of Israel; Ive seen signs in another occasion on which Obama was dressed in kafiya; A couple of months ago, I was on TV having a debate with PM Netanyahus brother-in-law who had claimed Obama is an anti-Semite. Ive said his were nutty allegations, and he wasnt quite happy with my candor.
Of course, vast majority of Israelis would never go that far, would never feel comfortable with such signs or allegations. But how many would feel the need to defend him? Praise him? In Israel, the people still thinking Obama is great are mostly the people of the far left. And as you all know, the Israeli left is pretty small. Israelis on the right more Israelis are on the right can become fairly direct when Obama is mentioned. And those in the very broad center, moderate Likud voters, Kadima voters, many Labor voters they really dont know what to say. On the one hand, they were schooled to think that the American President is Israels best friend. On the other hand, Obama doesnt always seem to them like your average best-friend American President.
No, not because of skin color - because of his approach and his policies; Because of his lack of warmth; Because of the Cairo speech, and settlement freeze. Many Israelis feel almost uncomfortable as they express their true feelings towards Obama. They feel that something is wrong but also think, hey, maybe it is all big misunderstanding.
Youre all familiar with the polls showing Obamas favorability ratings in Israel are very low. Heres Gil Hoffman, writing about one such poll:
When asked whether they saw Obamas administration as more pro-Israel, more pro- Palestinian or neutral, just 10 percent of Israeli Jews said more pro-Israel, 46% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 10% did not express an opinion.
These are terrible numbers. Israelis expect the American President to be pro-Israel. You might think such expectation is stupid, that Israelis have no right to expect such thing, but they do. 80% of Israelis thinking Obama is pro-Palestinian or neutral means 80% thinking Obama isnt a friend. Do they hate his guts? I think theyd be more appreciative had they thought Obama was pro-Israel. In fact, when Obama was elected Israelis were much more positive about him. As you can see here (beware: Hebrew!), after the 2008 election 52% of Israelis thought Obama was good for Israel. One year later almost a third thought Obama was hostile, 40% thought he was indifferent (not a compliment), and only one-fifth thought he was friendly towards Israel.
Most of the polls telling you other stories those trying to convince you that Israelis really support Obama - are bad polls. These are usually polls with agenda (showing that Obamas policies are really what Israelis were waiting for). Heres one example of one such bad poll (to be accurate, the problem isnt the poll, it is the misleading headline).
Im not quite sure what to make of last weeks Brookings poll of Israelis (I wrote quite critically about another poll from this same team - read it here, it deals with the poll about Americans approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict). In this poll, the pollsters claim that 41% of Israeli Jews have very or somewhat positive view of Obamas. Of course, thats still pretty bad for an American President (a majority of Israeli Jews see Obama very negatively 15% - or somewhat negatively 36%). However, I believe that even the 41% positive is much too high. A friend of mine who happens to be a professional on such matters had suggested that the word negative might have been decisive in making some Israelis disinclined to rank Obama the way they really feel.
In this Brookings poll, Obama came second on the question: Which world leader (outside your own country) do you dislike most. 10% of Israeli Jews find Obama to be the leader they dislike more than any other world-leader. If you had any doubt as to whether some Israelis do hate Obamas guts I guess this can serve as definitive proof that such group exists (It should be mentioned, though, that Obama is also Israelis third most admired leader with 5%).
Theres also that thing Ive said about acting like a European leader. Surprisingly or maybe it is not a surprise I didnt hear even one word of criticism related to that part of my comment. Acting like a European leader isnt quite a compliment. Not in Israel.
To conclude: Israelis do not hate Obamas guts. Repeat: They do not. When I was using that expression in a conversation my intention was to say that Obama isnt trusted the way previous Presidents (notably Clinton and the second Bush) were trusted. So heres the revised paragraph Id suggest had I had the power to re-edit Bens piece:
Most Israelis really dont trust Obama and many also dislike him, said Shmuel Rosner, a columnist for two leading Israeli newspapers. We used to trust Americans to act like Americans, but they think this guy is more like a European leader.
Any Jew with brains should see this man selling them and their country down the tube..
Do Israelis “hate Obama’s guts”?
“hate Obama’s guts”?
I call BS — Obama has not yet demonstrated that he has any guts at all....
I HATE Obama’s guts and I’m Lutheran and live in Michigan.
I surely cannot speak for the Israelis, but I sure as hell do hate obama’s guts.
That is assuming that the narcissistic little bastard has any guts.
Now, do you want to know what I REALLY think?
The certainly should if they value their very existence.
Whether or not Israelis hate Obama’s guts is irrelevant to the very strong probability that Israel will not survive two more years of Obama’s policies.
Israeli leadership needs a real American president, that believes in protecting freedom and democracy, to work with. Presently, we do not have one. Israel should wait until January of 2013 to again take up serious work with America and in the meantime, look out for its own interests.
I love my country and feel barry is a POS.
"Israel also attempted to block the US from selling F15 planes to Saudi Arabia. US and Israeli officials repeatedly discussed the importance of maintaining Israel's "qualitative military edge" in the Middle East."
"Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the US was on September 11, 2001," Military Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said to Congressmen in May, 2009."
Obama is Coward-In-Chief
Eich Ein Israeli...or something like that. Today, I claim to be a citizen of Israel, and I HATE 0bama, and all he stands for, supports, or brings into being. So the answer has to be YES.
As any American should. And do.