Is President Obama Breaking the Brotherhood?
The ultimate significance of the skirmishes this week between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be revealed in the weeks and months ahead. It’s possible, however, that we just witnessed a milestone moment in the U.S.-Israel brotherhood.
Much has been written about President Obama’s provocative speech at the State Department last Thursday, his tense follow-up tête-à-tête with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House Friday, his walk-back speech at aipac (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Sunday, and Netanyahu’s vigorous and unequivocal counterpunch before a joint session of the U.S. Congress yesterday.
Long story short, for many people this week confirmed that President Obama genuinely despises Israel.
Perhaps this is true. But there’s more to it than that. Truth is, the president’s stance on the Jewish state is not inconsistent with his viewpoint on the United States. Consider his speech at the U.S. State Department last Thursday, which was widely billed as a follow-up to his milestone June 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world.
One main theme of the message, particularly in the beginning, was self-determination. Not America’s right to self-determination in the Middle East and North Africa, regions where core national interests are increasingly at risk. Rather, Mr. Obama highlighted America’s responsibility to respect, nurture and advance the rights of the “democratic” forces throughout the region to self-determination, and the pursuit of national interest.
While Mr. Obama recognized, albeit briefly, that America has important national interests in the region, he made it clear that he considers those a second- or third-tier priority. “We must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of [America’s national] interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind,” he stated.
Unless America changes its course in the Middle East and North Africa, he warned, and “broadens [its] engagement [with the region] based upon mutual interests and mutual respect,” it risks a “deepening spiral of division between the United States and the Arab world” (emphasis mine). Peace with the Arab world, the president apparently believes, is a function of American altruism.
The problem is, peace is never a one-sided venture.
The U.S. could stop pursuing its national interests in the region entirely, and it still wouldn’t quench the Iranian mullahs’ desire for America’s destruction; or Hamas’s quest to expunge every Jew from Israel; or radical Islam’s goal to vanquish Western civilization and establish a global Islamic caliphate; or the Muslim Brotherhood’s ambition to create an Islamic Egyptian state, one that would undoubtedly be hostile to American interests.
As long as these (and other) large and powerful forces hate America and seeks its destruction, peace will not come!
Nevertheless, the president is determined to sacrifice America’s national interests on the altar of perceived peace. “There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity,” he continued. That sounds reasonable, but what happens when the “self-determination and opportunity” of the people—as it is in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and among the Palestinians—undermines the national interests of America?
“Quite simply, Obama’s speech represents the effective renunciation of the U.S.’s right to have and to pursue national interests,” Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote last week. “Consequently, his speech imperils the real interests that the U.S. has in the region—first and foremost, the U.S.’s interest in securing its national security.”
Essentially, the president is selling what is ultimately a policy of national self-destruction!
And things really got messy in the president’s State Department address when he tried to sell this policy to Israel.
By now you’re probably familiar with the president’s explicit endorsement, the first ever by an American president—reportedly written by Mr. Obama himself—of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines. The basis for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is clear, he stated: “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
The president also stated that a Palestinian state must be “contiguous.” Consider: Joining the Gaza Strip with the West Bank to create a “contiguous” Palestinian state would require cutting Israel in half!
For Israel, these issues are paramount to national security and national self-interest. As Prime Minister Netanyahu explained last Friday, the central reason Israel cannot return to the 1967 lines is “because these lines are indefensible.”
Mr. Netanyahu put it even more poignantly in his address to Congress Tuesday: “[I]f Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.”
For Israel, the creation of a “contiguous” Palestinian state based on 1967 lines would be an act of national self-destruction!
To give him credit though, America’s president wasn’t asking Mr. Netanyahu to do anything he wasn’t already doing himself: that is, sacrificing national interests—even survival—to pursue peace with an enemy that hasn’t even an inkling of a desire for peace. Mr. Netanyahu’s response was respectful, forceful and entirely unsurprising:No thanks!
Continue to watch the U.S.-Israel relationship closely. The Netanyahu-Obama relationship is clearly at a low point. And looking at some of the likely developments coming in the Middle East, including the possible declaration of a Palestinian state in September, the relationship will no doubt be severely tested in the coming months.
In fact, the way this relationship is going, we could soon witness the prophesied breaking of the historic brotherhood between America and the Jewish state. You can read the prophecy in Zechariah 11:14. Here God says that He will “break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel,” the modern-day nations of Israel and the United States (and Britain), respectively.
About this prophecy, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote back in 2004: “This could be a prophecy of a rift between these two countries—one that would leave Judah very alone …” (Royal Vision, March/April 2004). And what does Bible prophecy say will happen when America abandons Israel, or is even perceived to be abandoning Israel?
Relying this time on a prophecy in Zechariah 14:2, which forecasts the end-time fall of East Jerusalem to the forces of radical Islam, Mr. Flurry continued: “If the brotherhood between superpower America and the Jewish state is broken, that is probably when half of Jerusalem would be taken.”
If you understand Bible prophecy, you know that this conflict over East Jerusalem, which is brewing even now in the increasingly tense debate over peace between Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S., is the event that triggers World War iii—and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!