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Do Israelis "hate Obama's guts"?
Jerusalem Post ^ | 12/19/2010 | Shmuel Rosner

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. Here’s the relevant paragraph:

“Israelis really hate Obama’s 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 Smith’s 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. I’ve 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 shouldn’t have used such language. 1. Because what I said is not true. 2. Because one doesn’t use such language on record.


So – do all “Israelis really hate Obama’s guts”? Answering this question will be easy. No, not all “Israelis really hate Obama’s 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 I’ve said such ill-mannered thing. And the truth is, some Israelis do “hate Obama’s guts”, and some don’t “hate” him but still dislike him, and many are suspicious about him, and many question his policies and motives.

I’m familiar with all the published polls in which the question of Obama’s likability and approval by Israelis was asked, and also with some unpublished polls, and I’ve also talked to a couple of knowledgeable Israelis before writing this post.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 doesn’t 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; I’ve 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 Netanyahu’s brother-in-law who had claimed Obama is an anti-Semite. I’ve said his were nutty allegations, and he wasn’t 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 don’t know what to say. On the one hand, they were schooled to think that the American President is Israel’s best friend. On the other hand, Obama doesn’t 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.


You’re all familiar with the polls showing Obama’s favorability ratings in Israel are very low. Here’s Gil Hoffman, writing about one such poll:

When asked whether they saw Obama’s 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 isn’t a friend. Do they “hate his guts”? I think they’d 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 Obama’s policies are really what Israelis were waiting for). Here’s one example of one such bad poll (to be accurate, the problem isn’t the poll, it is the misleading headline).

I’m not quite sure what to make of last week’s 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 Obama’s. Of course, that’s 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 Obama’s 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%).


There’s also that thing I’ve said about acting “like a European leader”. Surprisingly – or maybe it is not a surprise – I didn’t hear even one word of criticism related to that part of my comment. Acting “like a European leader” isn’t quite a compliment. Not in Israel.


To conclude: “Israelis” do not “hate Obama’s guts”. Repeat: They do not. When I was using that expression in a conversation my intention was to say that Obama isn’t trusted the way previous Presidents (notably Clinton and the second Bush) were trusted. So – here’s the revised paragraph I’d suggest had I had the power to re-edit Ben’s piece:

“Most Israelis really don’t 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.”

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel
KEYWORDS: israel; obama
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To: HearMe

Do Israelis really hate Obammy?
I think the relevant question should be, do Americans really hate Obammy?

21 posted on 12/20/2010 5:40:34 PM PST by Joe Boucher
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To: HearMe

Why wouldn’t they?

22 posted on 12/20/2010 6:03:41 PM PST by rogue yam
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To: Perdogg; Kevmo; AdmSmith; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; bigheadfred; ColdOne; ...

Wait until Obama has his summit meeting with Ahmednutjob.

There’s been no annoucement or rumor of any such meeting, other than Obama’s “without preconditions” campaign pledge.

23 posted on 12/20/2010 6:09:48 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Obama won 77% of the Jewish vote in 2008.

Do people here think that 2012 will be very different?

All of my Jewish friends have taken the “Palin is an idiot” bait, hook, line and sinker. I find this quite amusing because Palin is among the most pro-Israel politicians out there. Some of the smart Jewish neocons like William Kristol know this and have been big supporters of her.

But obviously Kristol isn’t very influential in the world of American Jewish politics, or McCain whould have done better with them.

I suppose there is some percent of American Jews who don’t like Israel, and are fine with Obama’s policies towards it. But I have to believe that most of the 77% are unable to think their way out of the paper bag they are stuck in.

I’m looking forward to the 2012 elections for many reasons, and seeing how much this demographic and their vote changes is one of them.

It’s very hard to understand why Jews vote Democratic in such overwhelming numbers. They are not affirmative action beneficiaries. They pay a lot of taxes, and don’t take many services. The GOP has never treated them badly. Nixon was a great friend of Israel. So was Reagan. In contrast Carter is a great enemy of Israel.

I don’t get it. Evidently many others do not either, which is why Dennis Prager wrote a whole book on the topic, a book I have not yet read, unfortunately.

24 posted on 12/20/2010 6:51:30 PM PST by Jack Black ( Whatever is left of American patriotism is now identical with counter-revolution.)
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To: jennings2004

And may we all have many more birthdays!

If for no other reason, but to piss the worthless little community organizer off.

25 posted on 12/20/2010 8:43:24 PM PST by Howie66 (I can see November (2012) from my house.)
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To: Jack Black
It’s very hard to understand why Jews vote Democratic in such overwhelming numbers. They are not affirmative action beneficiaries. They pay a lot of taxes, and don’t take many services.

There are many, many reasons. I know some of them, and I don't even have time to list all of those, but I'll name a few:

1. Many Jews have always confused government with society -- going all the way back to when they lived in tribal enclaves of no more than a hundred or so people in Biblical times.
2. Many Jews have so prided themselves on their high intelligence that they use it as a an excuse, or defense, against any psychological problems that they have. They even look down their noses at anyone who isn't an academic intellectual who believes exactly as they do.
3. Many Jews carry with them an age-old family tradition of laying guilt trips on each other -- causing many psychological problems.
4. Many Jews advocate the most extreme form of pure altruism, claiming that if ANY personal benefit comes from ANY action you take -- then it is therefore evil (Comes in handy when laying guilt trips on family members and others). This tradition even predates Immanuel Kant in the early 19th century, who codified pure altruism, virtually claiming it was the only moral code available to mankind (which it most emphatically is not).
5. Some Jewish families still carry a grudge against Republicans as representing the Eastern Establishment blue bloods who kept grandpa out of their exclusive clubs.
etc. etc. etc.

26 posted on 12/20/2010 8:59:00 PM PST by FreeKeys (We DESPERATELY need a constitutional amendment to ELIMINATE LAME DUCK SESSIONS of congress.)
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To: Jack Black

6. Many Jews steadfastly cling to the myth that the ancient left-right political spectrum — which puts capitalism next to fascism and Nazisim — is valid. And they fervently believe that when politicians and big businessmen get together it’s initiated by the businessmen (instead of the politicians, who actually initiate the collusions 99% of the time).

27 posted on 12/20/2010 9:39:24 PM PST by FreeKeys (We DESPERATELY need a constitutional amendment to ELIMINATE LAME DUCK SESSIONS of congress.)
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To: RnMomof7

“Any Jew with brains should see this man selling them and their country down the tube..”

Then every jew in West Hollywood never had one. I’m still amazed that these pious Jews would act Jew in front of me but vote Dem in every election.

28 posted on 12/20/2010 9:58:30 PM PST by max americana
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To: HearMe

I’m sure they don’t “hate” hate Obama, but I bet they ‘feel better when he’s not around.’

29 posted on 12/21/2010 8:18:58 AM PST by Daniel II (Really??????)
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To: HearMe
Too many ideas as to why Obama is a very open anti-semite. Being in Reverunt Wright's church for 20 years, his continued lashing out at Obama to slam the Joooo tell me Wright has probably heard and schooled obama in Jew hatred and has now become a hypocrite in Wright's eyes.

The Cairo speech as the article stated gave the finger to all Jews and American's. Remember, he spoke FIRST to muslims on Islamic TV before granting interviews to American stations( that adore him) so not only did/does he sound anti-semitic but anti-American

There's too much more like his trying to force a freeze on "settlements" and turning a blind eye to arab squatter buildings,holding the F-22 raptors ransom to force Israel to sit with known terrorists that do not acknowledge Israel at all. The 80 billion of arms going to Saudi Arabia under the guise it's to defense against Iran( shi'a vs Sunni) though it destabilizes the balance ot power in the ME once again

My daughter is Israeli, not me. She's ambiguous leaning toward disliking him but there's enough problems in Israel the last I asked her even a question concerning Obama was months ago. I don't think her mind has changed. The issues in the past was giving Gaza money with vague stipulations( I think it was around $500 million and never mentioning a thing with the danged terrorist ships attempting to run Israeli blockades or halting the ships coming from America. I don't know myself if Obama condemned or condoned; as usual he said nothig which to me is proof he condones just as he's silent on Assange. He's not just a hater of Israel and he certainly isn't America friendly. Were I living in Israel, I'd be watching Obababwami's every move as a very probable hostile to jews in America( IRS notes to pro Zionist synagogues ) Israel as a whole. Botom line, Obama has done zippo for Israeli's to prove he's an ally even though "we the people" are allied with Israel.

30 posted on 12/21/2010 10:03:04 AM PST by Karliner (Now this is not the end. .... But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning, Churchill 1942)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.


31 posted on 12/21/2010 12:28:47 PM PST by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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To: HearMe
This Israeli doesn't hate Obama's guts any more than I hate the rest of Obama.

32 posted on 12/21/2010 1:32:13 PM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: SJackson

Actually, he has rather nice guts. His tummy is nice and flat, and the boom mike has never picked up the sound of flatulence. It’s his mind, his heart, and his desires as they pertain to Israel that I can’t stand. But his guts are just fine.

33 posted on 12/21/2010 3:19:59 PM PST by Eleutheria5 (End the occupation. Annex today.)
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