2011: The Year The Right-Wing Media's Foreign Policy Argument Fell Apart
Research ››› ››› MIKE BURNS
Since President Obama took office, right-wing media have argued that his foreign policy is making the United States less safe and is bent on attacking Israel. Those attacks have continued in 2011, even as the Obama administration has overseen the death of Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Anwar Al-Awlaki, repeatedly supported Israel, and been praised by Israeli leaders.
Since Obama Took Office, Right-Wing Media Have Repeatedly Suggested That He Is Weak On Terror And Not Serious About Defending America From Terrorism Threats.
- Fox News' Bill Sammon: In Not Using The Word "Terrorism" Or Any Of Its Variants, Obama Showed "He Has Taken Us Off A War Footing As A Nation." [Email from Bill Sammon, 6/4/09, via Media Matters]
- Tammy Bruce: Obama "Perhaps Secretly Wishes This Nation To Be Harmed ... His Mother Certainly Did." [Talk Radio Network, The Tammy Bruce Show, 6/18/09, via Media Matters]
- Michael Scheuer: Obama "Obviously Does Not Care" About "Protecting Americans." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/28/09, via Media Matters]
- Calling Obama "Post-American," John Bolton Blamed "Risk Of Continuing Global Terrorism" On "Obama Approach." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/11/09, via Media Matters]
- Gretchen Carlson: "Let's Face It," "When It Comes To Terror" The White House's "Tone" Is "Not Quite That Serious." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/8/10, via Media Matters]
- Sarah Palin: Obama "Reflects A World View That Is Out Of Touch With The Enemy That We Face." [CNN Transcripts, 2/6/10]
- Sean Hannity: "Obama Is Weak. He's An Appeaser." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/3/10, via Media Matters]
- Brian Kilmeade Falsely Accused Obama Of Neglecting Fight Against Terrorism. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/4/10, via Media Matters]
- Scheuer On Obama: "When It Comes To Defending America ... He's Generally Pretty Quiet." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/1/10, via Media Matters]
In 2011, The Right-Wing Media Continued To Claim That Obama Is Making The Country Less Safe.
- Glenn Beck: "We're On A Suicide Mission Here As A Nation." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 3/31/11, via Media Matters]
- Charles Krauthammer: Obama Has "Made War On The War On Terror." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/12/11, via Media Matters]
- Fox & Friends Asked If "WH Policies" Will Make It "Tougher" To "Catch A Terrorist."
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/9/11, via Media Matters]
- Fox's Camerota: "Al-Qaeda's Number Two [Is] Now Dead, But Does That Mean That America Is Any Safer?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/30/11, via Media Matters]
REALITY: Obama Administration Oversaw The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden And Other Terrorist Leaders
[The New York Times, 5/2/11]
Obama Authorized The Operation That Resulted In The Death Of Osama Bin Laden. Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Washington Post reported that the "surgical" special forces operation that resulted in the terrorist leader's death was authorized by President Obama on Friday, April 29 after months of intelligence gathering, and was carried out early the following Monday morning (local time) as a small force of elite American troops descended on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. According to the Post, the U.S. "did not share any intelligence with foreign governments, including Pakistan's." From a May 2 Post article:
Osama bin Laden, the long-hunted al-Qaeda leader and chief architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, was killed by U.S. forces Sunday in what officials described as a surgical raid on his luxury hideout in Pakistan.
In a rare Sunday night address from the East Room of the White House, President Obama said a small team of U.S. personnel attacked a compound Sunday in Pakistan's Abbottabad Valley, where bin Laden had been hiding since at least last summer. During a firefight, the U.S. team killed bin Laden, 54, and took custody of his body in what Obama called "the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaeda."
The killing of the terrorism mastermind who had eluded U.S. forces for nearly a decade drew a spontaneous, cheering crowd outside the White House gates and at New York's Ground Zero, the site of al-Qaeda's 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
"We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies," a somber Obama said in his nine-minute statement that aired live on television worldwide. "We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done."
Bin Laden's killing will provide a clear moment of victory for Obama at a time of deep political turmoil overseas that is upending long-standing U.S. policy in much of the Muslim world, particularly the Middle East.
It also comes nearly 10 years after bin Laden orchestrated the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil, when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked three passenger jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and crashed a fourth jet in rural Shanksville, Pa.
"Today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people," Obama said. "The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever it is we set our mind to. That is the story of our history."
The discovery that bin Laden had been hiding in a well-populated part of Pakistan, rather than a remote location, raised new questions about the extent to which Pakistan is cooperating with the United States in combating terrorism.
U.S. forces flew to bin Laden's hideout in helicopters about 1 a.m. Monday (late Sunday afternoon in Washington). Bin Laden was shot in the head after he and his guards resisted the U.S. attackers, the Associated Press reported. U.S. personnel identified him by facial recognition.
National security adviser Thomas E. Donilon prepared the formal orders and convened senior national security officials that afternoon to plan for the operation. The United States did not share any intelligence with foreign governments, including Pakistan's, and only a "very small number" of people within the U.S. government knew about it, one official said.
Throughout the afternoon Sunday, Obama met with senior officials in the Situation Room for briefings on the operation. At 3:50 p.m., Obama learned that bin Laden was tentatively identified, and the president remained "actively involved in all facets of the operation, " a senior administration official said. [The Washington Post, 5/2/11]
- The Operation Was In Accordance With What Then-Candidate Obama Said He Would Do If Elected President. In an August 1, 2007 speech delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., Obama, who was then seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from that country's government. ABC News reported at the time:
On August 1, 2007, a young Democratic presidential candidate -- criticized by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, for being "irresponsible and frankly naïve" on foreign policy matters -- surprised many of his supporters by pledging to conduct military operations in Pakistan with or without that country's permission.
"I understand that President (Pervez)Musharraf has his own challenges," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of the man who was then president of Pakistan, "but let me make this clear: There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
At the time, Obama's speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., seemed an attempt by the young senator to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where he hoped to be seen as a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the United States from terrorist attack. [ABCNews.com, 5/2/11]
Obama Ordered Drone Strike That Killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, An American-Born Al Qaeda Leader. Reuters reported on September 30:
The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen on Friday by a U.S. drone strike is the culmination of two years of extensive U.S. efforts to track down the American-born member of al Qaeda and put him out of action.
Awlaki, identified by U.S. intelligence as "chief of external operations" for al Qaeda's Yemen branch and a Web-savvy propagandist for the Islamist cause, was killed in an attack by missiles fired from multiple CIA drones in a remote Yemeni town, U.S. officials said.
Among three other people killed in the attack, a U.S. official said, was Samir Khan, another American who turned to militancy and served as editor of "Inspire," a glossy magazine used as a propaganda and recruitment vehicle by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Yemen-based group is deemed by U.S. officials to be one of al Qaeda's most dangerous offshoots.
A U.S. official described the other two people killed in the attack as "unidentified associates" of Awlaki and Khan.
President Barack Obama hailed the Awlaki strike as "another significant milestone" in efforts to defeat al Qaeda and proof that it and its allies will find no safe haven. "The death of Awlaki is a major blow to al Qaeda's most active operational affiliate," Obama said. [Reuters, 9/30/11]
Under Obama, FBI And DEA Agents Foiled Alleged Iranian Plot To Assassinate Saudi Ambassador To The U.S. ABC News reported on October 11:
FBI and DEA agents have disrupted a plot to commit a "significant terrorist act in the United States" tied to Iran, federal officials told ABC News today.
The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. Bombings of the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were also discussed, according to the U.S. officials.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in an announcement today that the plan was "conceived, sponsored and was directed from Iran" by a faction of the government and called it a "flagrant" violation of U.S. and international law.
"The U.S. is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions," Holder said.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said the arrest of a suspect in the plot shows the U.S. will "bring the full weight of [the] law to bear on those responsible" and that "any attempts on American soil will not be tolerated." [ABCNews.com, 10/11/11]
Numerous Other Terrorist Leaders Have Been Killed During Obama's Presidency. In a September 30 blog post, ABC's Jake Tapper compiled a list of senior terrorist leaders killed during Obama's presidency. From Tapper's post:
Earlier this month officials confirmed that al Qaeda's chief of Pakistan operations, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, was killed in Waziristan, Pakistan.
In August, 'Atiyah 'Abd al-Rahman, the deputy leader of al Qaeda was killed.
In June, one of the group's most dangerous commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed in Pakistan. In Yemen that same month, AQAP senior operatives Ammar al-Wa'ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan were killed. In Somalia, Al-Qa'ida in East Africa (AQEA) senior leader Harun Fazul was killed.
Administration officials also herald the recent U.S./Pakistani joint arrest of Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta.
Going back to August 2009, Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mahsud was killed in Pakistan.
In September of that month, Jemayah Islamiya operational planner Noordin Muhammad Top was killed in Indonesia, and AQEA planner Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in Somalia.
Then in December 2009 in Pakistan, al Qaeda operational commanders Saleh al-Somali and 'Abdallah Sa'id were killed.
In February 2010, in Pakistan, Taliban deputy and military commander Abdul Ghani Beradar was captured; Haqqani network commander Muhammad Haqqani was killed; and Lashkar-e Jhangvi leader Qari Zafar was killed.
In March 2010, al Qaeda operative Hussein al-Yemeni was killed in Pakistan, while senior Jemayah Islamiya operative Dulmatin -- accused of being the mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombings -- was killed during a raid in Indonesia.
In April 2010, al Qaeda in Iraq leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed.
In May, al Qaeda's number three commander, Sheik Saeed al-Masri was killed.
In June 2010 in Pakistan, al Qaeda commander Hamza al-Jawfi was killed. [Political Punch, 9/30/11, via ABCNews.com]
Right-Wing Media Criticize Obama's Actions In Libya
- The Weekly Standard On Obama's Decision To Seek A UN Security Council Resolution On Libya: "This Is Not So Much A Feeble Response As A Non-Response." [The Weekly Standard, 2/23/11]
- The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol: Obama Administration Is "Dithering" On Libya. [The Weekly Standard, 2/25/11]
- Karl Rove: Obama Is "Dithering" On Libya And "As A Result America Has Looked Weak." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/28/11, via Media Matters]
- Fox News Anchor Jon Scott: "If I Were President Obama, I Would Unilaterally" Enforce Libya No-Fly Zone. [Fox News, Happening Now, 2/28/11, via Media Matters]
- AEI's Steven Hayward: "I'm Not Sure I Ever Thought I'd See the Day That The United Nations ... Would Look Tougher Than The President Of The United States." [National Review Online, 3/17/11]
- NRO's James Carafano: "If U.S. Officials Had Moved To Stop The Fighting" Before The U.N. Resolution Passed "They Would Have Done So When Tripoli Was On The Ropes." [National Review Online, 3/18/11]
- Dick Morris And Eileen McGann: "Does [Obama] Understand That He Could Have Stopped The Bloodshed In Libya By Declaring A No Fly Zone Three Weeks Ago?" [DickMorris.com, 3/18/11]
- Beck: "If I Would Have Told You A Year Ago That France Would Lead" On Libya Intervention, "Would You Have Believed That?" [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/18/11, via Media Matters]
- Beck Predicted That Action In Libya "Would Sweep, Destabilize, And Drag Us All Down." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/18/11, via Media Matters]
- Big Peace: Obama Is "Wasting Precious Time, Costing Civilian Lives, And Complicating The Task." [Big Peace, 3/21/11]
- Ralph Peters: "You Really Can't Do War Part Way, Just Like You Can't Get A Little Bit Pregnant." [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/21/11, via Media Matters]
- David Asman: "There's No Respect For An Administration That Fears Taking The Lead." [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/21/11, via Media Matters]
- Hannity: "There Was A Great Reluctance By The President To Even Get On Board." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/21/11, via Nexis]
- Oliver North: Obama "Does Not Really Know What He Wants To Do." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/21/11, via Nexis]
- American Spectator: "Obama's Doctrine Of Multilateralism Is A Profession Of Weakness To All The Terror-Sponsoring Nations" And "Is Provoking Our Enemies To Action." [American Spectator, 3/21/11]
- Big Peace: Obama "Waited Far Too Long," Allowing "The French, The French, To Become The Boosters Of Liberty In Our Place." [Big Peace, 3/21/11]
- Peter Johnson, Jr.: "We Have To See Whether This Becomes President Obama's Iraq." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/11, via Media Matters; CNN.com, 3/21/11]
Right-Wing Media Suggest Obama's Libya Policy May Set The Stage For Military Attack On Israel
- Frank Gaffney: "The Gadhafi Precedent: Could Attack On Libya Set The Stage For Action Against Israel?" [The Washington Times, 3/21/11]
- Fox Nation: "Op-Ed: Could Attack On Libya Set State For Action Against Israel?" Fox Nation highlighted and linked to Gaffney's column under the headline: "Op-Ed: Could Attack on Libya Set Stage for Action Against Israel?." From Fox Nation:
[Fox Nation, 3/22/11]
- WorldNetDaily: "American Military Targeting Israel?" [WorldNetDaily, 3/22/11]
- Beck: Obama Administration's "Responsibility To Protect" Doctrine Invoked With Regard To Libya Could Be Used Against Israel. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/29/11, via Media Matters]
REALITY: With U.S., NATO Support, Libyans Overthrew Gadhafi
Wash. Post: Libyan Rebels Captured, Killed Gadhafi Following "Unprecedented NATO Air Campaign." The Washington Post reported on October 20:
Former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was killed Thursday after being seized in a sewage tunnel in his home town -- the final triumph for pro-democracy fighters who have struggled for eight months to take control of the country.
Gaddafi's death came on a day of intense military activity in Sirte, the last loyalist holdout in Libya, where his supporters had fended off better-armed revolutionaries for weeks. Before his capture, a U.S. drone and French fighter jets fired on a large, disorganized convoy leaving the city that he appears to have been in. It was not clear whether the airstrikes hit Gaddafi's vehicles, NATO officials said.
Gaddafi was shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire between his supporters and revolutionaries as he was being whisked away from the tunnel in a truck, according to Mahmoud Jibril, the interim prime minister. But cellphone videos played on Arab-language TV stations showed an already bloodied and dazed Gaddafi being escorted to the truck, raising questions about exactly when he was hit. One of Gaddafi's sons, Mutassim, and his army chief of staff were also killed, officials said.
The taking of Sirte and Gaddafi's death marked the climax of a war that was backed by an unprecedented NATO air campaign aimed at protecting civilians. Thursday's events clear the way for the appointment of a temporary government that is to steer the country toward elections.
Fighters on the ground told Reuters that Gaddafi and a handful of his men appeared to run from their convoy after the NATO bombing and take shelter in two drainage pipes.
"At first we fired at them with antiaircraft guns, but it was no use," Salem Bakeer said while being feted by his comrades near the road. "Then we went in on foot."
The prime minister said Gaddafi was discovered with a group of supporters in a sewage pipe in Sirte, armed with a pistol and wearing pants and a long-underwear shirt -- a far cry from his famously flamboyant outfits. He did not resist arrest.
As Gaddafi was being walked to a truck, however, he was shot in the right arm in an exchange of gunfire between his supporters and revolutionaries, Jibril said.
The truck then got caught in crossfire as it headed toward a hospital, and Gaddafi was shot in the head, Jibril said.
"That was the deadly shot," he said in an interview. The former leader died shortly thereafter, he said.
But cellphone videos showed Gaddafi being loaded on a truck, blood spattered on his face and chest, suggesting he was wounded before boarding the truck.
"We got you!" revolutionaries in camouflage yelled as they crowded around the wounded former leader. [The Washington Post, 10/20/11]
NY Times: The U.S. "Remained The Backbone Of ... NATO Offensive[s]" In Libya. The New York Times reported on October 21:
Even as Washington put a European mask of command on the operation -- an effort described as "leading from behind" -- shortages in allied intelligence-gathering aircraft, aerial refueling tankers and precision-guidance kits for bombs proved the United States remained the backbone of any NATO offensive.
To be fair, while the fighting has dragged on longer than anticipated, the death on Thursday of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, gave senior Obama administration officials an opportunity to trumpet the new American way of war to a nation weary of ground combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
For command bunkers in Tripoli as well as Colonel Qaddafi's final hide-out in Surt, NATO increasingly relied on American Predator drones that fly high overhead for hundreds of hours, chronicling the "pattern of life" below until allied commanders feel confident the site is a legitimate target. On Thursday, for instance, a Predator helped to guide a French warplane to attack Colonel Qaddafi's convoy as it tried to flee Surt. (NATO said Thursday it did not know Colonel Qaddafi was in the convoy then.)
Ditto with refueling tankers: The United States had to provide most refueling aircraft.
Likewise with the GPS packages, which turn gravity bombs into precision-guided weapons to hit their targets while minimizing civilian casualties. While alliance officers say no missions were delayed or canceled due to shortages of precision-guided munitions, there was a scramble to borrow from American and other stockpiles for NATO aircraft.
For the record, non-American alliance and partner aircraft flew 75 percent of all sorties of the war. And non-American alliance warships carried out 100 percent of the missions to enforce the arms embargo at sea.
For all the talk that no American combat troops were deployed in Libya, ground forces were required to topple the government. But they were Libyan rebel forces, and they required ample assistance and advising from outside powers. [The New York Times, 10/21/11]
There Have Been No UN Security Council Resolutions Authorizing Force In Israel. [UN.org, accessed 12/12/11]
- Beck: Members Of The Obama Administration Are "Openly Deliver[ing]" "Out-Of-Line Anti-Semitic Comments." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/31/11, via Media Matters]
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama Has A "Real Problem With Israel, But He Can't Say It." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/5/11, via Media Matters]
- Limbaugh: Obama Urged Israel To "Destroy Itself" And "Submit Its People To Potential Genocide." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
- WND's Larry Klayman: Religious Freedom Is "Under Attack By Our 'Muslim' President And His Fellow Anti-Semites." [WorldNetDaily, 5/21/11]
- WSJ's Bret Stephens Called Obama "An Anti-Israel President." [The Wall Street Journal, 5/24/11]
- Beck: Obama Administration "Embraces" Anti-Israeli, Anti-Semitic, And Anti-American "Bigotry." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/6/11, via Media Matters]
- Bolton: Obama's Policies Are "The Most Anti-Israel Of Any President Since The Creation Of The State Of Israel." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/22/11, via Media Matters]
- Fox's Linda Chavez: The Obama Administration "Is The Most Anti-Israel Administration" In Israel's History. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/9/11, via Media Matters]
- Pamela Geller Blamed Obama For "Jew-Haters" In His Administration And Claimed He Has "Judeophobia." [Atlas Shrugs, 12/3/11]
- Kristol: Obama Is "Acting To Weaken The Security Of The State Of Israel." [The Weekly Standard, 12/3/11]
- American Thinker: "You Can't Be Pro-Obama And Pro-Israel." [American Thinker, 12/4/11]
REALITY: Obama Has Stood By Israel And Lobbied Against Palestinian Statehood At The UN
Obama Declared His Opposition To Palestinian Statehood Bid At The UN
Obama: "Peace Will Not Come Through Statements And Resolutions At The U.N." The New York Times reported on September 21:
President Obama declared his opposition to the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood through the Security Council on Wednesday, throwing the weight of the United States directly in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.," Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. "If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now."
Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should keep pushing Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital.
But, he said, Palestinians must make peace with Israel before gaining statehood themselves. Israelis and Palestinians, he said, have grievances and the United Nations must be an arbiter.
"This body, founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide; dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every person, must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis," he said. "We will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down together, to listen to each other and to understand each other's hopes and fears. That is the project to which America is committed, and that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come."
Several times as Mr. Obama spoke, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in the audience, put his forehead in his hand. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called the speech a "badge of honor." [The New York Times, 9/21/11]
- The UN Did Not Hold A Vote On Palestinian Statehood Due To A Lack Of Support. [The Guardian, 11/11/11]
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Has Repeatedly Praised Obama
Netanyahu On Obama's Opposition To A Unilaterally-Declared Palestinian State: "I Think This Is A Badge Of Honor And I Want To Thank You For Wearing That Badge Of Honor." From a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
I want to thank you, Mr. President, for standing with Israel and supporting peace through direct negotiations. We both agree this is the only way to achieve peace. We both agree that Palestinians and the Israelis should sit down together and negotiate an agreement of mutual recognition and security. I think this is the only way to get to a stable and durable peace. You've also made it clear that the Palestinians deserve a state, but it's a state that has to make that peace with Israel, and therefore their attempt to shortcut this process, not negotiate peace -- that attempt to get state membership in the United Nations will not succeed. I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state in the international community, but they're not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return.
I think that standing your ground, taking this position of principle, which is also, I think, the right position to achieve peace -- I think this is a badge of honor and I want to thank you for wearing that badge of honor, and also to express my hope that others will follow your example, Mr. President. So I want to thank you. [Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9/21/11]
Netanyahu "Offered A Special Thank You" To Obama For Helping To Free Israelis Detained In Cairo. From a Jerusalem Post article:
Israel will continue to adhere to the peace treaty with Egypt, which serves the interest of both countries, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Saturday night, at the end of a dramatic 24-hours during which an Egyptian mob laid siege to Israel's embassy in Cairo.
All of Israel's emissaries to Cairo -- including six security guards who were holed up behind a metal door in the embassy and extracted by Egyptian commandos -- returned to Israel on Saturday, with the exception of one diplomat who will remain to represent Israel in the Egyptian capital.
Netanyahu, in a televised announcement on Saturday night, offered a special thank you to US President Barack Obama who "said he would do everything he could" to extricate the six security guards, "and did."
"He used all the means and influence of the US, which are significant, and I think we owe him a special thank you. This testifies to the strong alliance between Israel and the US. This alliance is critical, especially during these days of great storms buffeting the Middle East," the prime minister said. [Jerusalem Post, 9/11/11]
Netanyahu "Expressed His Deep Appreciation" For U.S. Funding For Missile Defense System For Israel. From an April 18 Agence France-Presse article:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 18 thanked U.S. President Barack Obama for helping fund a missile defense system protecting the Jewish state from Palestinian rockets, the White House said.
Netanyahu "expressed his deep appreciation for U.S. funding for the 'Iron Dome' rocket and mortar defense system, which he noted has successfully intercepted several rockets aimed at Israeli communities," the White House said in a readout of the phone call. [Agence France-Presse, 4/18/11, via DefenseNews.com]
Former Israeli Prime Minister And Current Defense Minister Ehud Barak: "I Can Hardly Remember A Better Period Of ... American Support" For Israel Than "Right Now." From the August 3 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
VAN SUSTEREN: What's sort of the general opinion now of the Obama administration, especially in light of the fact that the president has said that they'd like to see it go back to the pre-1967 borders and with the two states? And I know that that was not well-received among many people, but as the sort of -- I know that we're good friends, our countries are good friends, but are Israelis disenchanted a little bit with the Obama administration?
BARAK: No, our countries are good friends, and I'm the minister of defense, I can tell you that I can hardly remember -- I was in uniform for decades -- I can hardly remember a better period of both support -- American support and backing and Israel cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us than what we have right now. And it's true that not all the Israelis are living happily with the positions of the administration, but I should tell you honestly that the president didn't say that Israel should go back to the borders of '67. He made it very clear that he thinks the Palestinians deserve a state of their own. We also believe in two states, Israel side by side, secure Israel side by side with a demilitarized Palestinian state that will basically have the same area that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip had before '67 with certain swaps, with understanding of the changes, transformation on the ground. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 8/3/11, via Media Matters]
A Majority Of Jewish Israelis Have A Favorable View Of Obama
Brookings: "A Majority (54%) Of Israeli Jews Polled In 2011 Expressed A Favorable View Of [Obama]." A "2011 Public Opinion Poll of Jewish and Arab Citizens of Israel" by the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy found that a "majority" of Israeli Jews support Obama:
Key Findings: Poll Results Among Jewish Israelis
Attitudes toward the United States
- In contrast with 2010, when majorities of Israeli Jews expressed unfavorable views of President Obama, a majority (54%) of Israeli Jews polled in 2011 expressed a favorable view of the U.S. President while 39% expressed negative views. [Brookings, 12/1/11]
For more information about the relentless, baseless right-wing claims that Obama does not support Israel, please click here.
RIGHT-WING MEDIA CLAIM: Obama's Speech On Israeli-Palestinian Peace Based On '67 Borders With Agreed Swaps Condoned "Potential Genocide"
Obama: "We Believe The Borders Of Israel And Palestine Should Be Based On The 1967 Lines With Mutually Agreed Swaps." From Obama's May 19 speech on the Middle East and North Africa:
Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them -- not by the United States; not by anybody else. But endless delay won't make the problem go away. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows -- a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -- by itself -- against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/19/11]
CNN's Dana Loesch On Obama's Citation Of 1967 Borders: Obama "Sided With Terrorists." [KFTK, The Dana Show, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh: Obama Urged Israel To "Destroy Itself" And "Submit Its People To Potential Genocide." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Gateway Pundit: Obama "Proposed Giving Half Of Jerusalem ... To Hamas-Fatah Terrorist Alliance." [Gateway Pundit, 5/19/11]
Ace of Spades: Obama Is "'Endorsing The Terrorists' Key Demand." [Ace of Spades, 5/19/11]
Beck: Obama's Policy On Israel Ends With "The Destruction Of Israel" And "The Western Way Of Life." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Beck: Obama Wants To "Destabilize Israel Even More." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]
Geller: Obama's Middle East Policy Is "Obama's Final Solution." [Atlas Shrugs, 5/19/11]
Krauthammer: Obama Is "Tearing Up Bush-Era Agreements." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Hannity: Obama Has Thrown Israel Under "A Bus Full Of Suicide Bombers." [Fox News, Hannity, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Morris: If Israel's Security "Is An Important Factor In Your Life, You Have No Business Supporting Barack Obama." [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Morris: Obama Is Asking Israel "To Commit Suicide." Later on the same program, Morris claimed that Obama is "literally" asking Israel "to commit suicide." [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
REALITY: Obama's Statement On 1967 Borders Is In Line With Views Of Former U.S. And Israeli Leaders
Former Israeli PM Olmert: Israelis Must "Return To The Core Of The Territory That Is The State of Israel Prior To 1967." In November 2008, on the 13th anniversary of the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin -- who was assassinated in 1995 by an Orthodox Jew reportedly opposed to the Mideast peace process Rabin was intent on brokering -- then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated: "We must give up Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and return to the core of the territory that is the State of Israel prior to 1967, with minor corrections dictated by the reality created since then." From Haaretz:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert took advantage of yesterday's special Knesset marking the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin to call for territorial withdrawals in all disputed areas and to denounce violence on the part of Jewish settlers.
"We must give up Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and return to the core of the territory that is the State of Israel prior to 1967, with minor corrections dictated by the reality created since then," he said.
Olmert also said that, "Every government will need to tell the truth, which unfortunately will require us to tear out many parts of the homeland in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights." Addressing the settlers, he said: "You, too, will have do carry out a moral reckoning and reach a decision." [Haaretz, 11/11/08]
George W. Bush: "Any Peace Agreement ... Will Require Mutually Agreed Adjustments To The Armistice Lines Of 1949 To Reflect Current Realities." From a 2008 statement by Bush while visiting Jerusalem:
Achieving an agreement will require painful political concessions by both sides. While territory is an issue for both parties to decide, I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous. I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue. [Bush White House archives, 1/10/08]
- "1949 Armistice Line" Is Another Way Of Referring To Pre-1967 Borders. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs refers to the pre-1967 borders between Israel and Palestine as the "1949-1967 Armistice Lines." [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accessed 5/19/11]
For more information about how Obama's statement on the 1967 borders is in line with past U.S. remarks on Israel, click here.
RIGHT-WING MEDIA CLAIM: Obama Is Supporting "Intifada" Against Israel By Restating U.S. Policy Regarding Settlements
Obama Administration Repeatedly Calls On Israel To Halt New Settlement Construction. The Obama administration has repeatedly called on Israel to halt construction of new settlements in the West Bank. The Obama administration has argued that the continued construction is antithetical to peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine. [ABC News, 3/10/10; Associated Press, 3/15/11, via SFGate.com]
Fox Nation On Obama Administration's Criticism Of Settlement Construction: Obama "Slaps Israel Again." From the Fox Nation:
[Fox Nation, 3/14/11]
Geller On Obama Administration's Opposition To Settlement Construction: "Call to End Obama's Intifada." [Atlas Shrugs, 3/16/10]
Jawa Report Headline On Obama Administration Opposition To Settlement Building: "The Obama Intifada." [Jawa Report, 3/16/10]
CNS News Column On Criticism Of Settlement Construction: "This Is The Obama Intifada." [CNS News, 3/17/10, via Media Matters]
REALITY: The U.S. Has A Long-Standing Policy Of Opposing New Israeli Settlements
In 2005, Condoleezza Rice Stated That Israeli Settlement Plan Was "At Odds With American Policy." In a March 2005 interview with the Los Angeles Times, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that Israel's plan to expand its settlements in the West Bank at the time was "at odds with American policy." From the Times:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized Israel in unusually sharp terms Thursday, warning that its plans to expand an Israeli West Bank settlement was "at odds with American policy" and could threaten progress toward peace with the Palestinians at a critical moment.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rice said Israeli explanations of plans to add 3,500 housing units to the Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem were "not really a satisfactory response." [Los Angeles Times, 3/25/05]
President Bush: Israel Must "Get Rid Of Unauthorized Settlements." Before a three-day visit to Israel in January 2008, then-President Bush stated that he expected Israel to "get rid of unauthorized settlements":
Q Unauthorized settlement, it is something which -- an issue which is between the United States and Israel for a long time.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we expect them to honor their commitments. The Israeli government has said that they're going to get rid of unauthorized settlements, and that's what we expect. That's what we've been told.
Q Not before you come, you know.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that will be on the -- that will, of course, be an agenda item. But Prime Minister -- both Prime Ministers with whom I have worked understand our position. Both have agreed, by the way, of unauthorized settlements. [Bush White House archives,1/2/08]
Bush's Ambassador To Israel: "Every U.S. Administration Since 1967 Has Argued Strongly Against Israeli Settlement Activity." In an essay published in Middle East Policy, Princeton Middle Eastern Policy Studies professor Daniel Kurtzer, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel under President Bush, wrote: "Every U.S. administration since 1967 has argued strongly against Israeli settlement activity." [Middle East Policy, accessed on 12/8/11]