Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Obama Sold Out Israel to Turkey’s Islamists

by Omri Ceren

The Emergency Committee for Israel has published the full version of its documentary Daylight, chronicling what happened after candidate Obama, who used to reference the U.S./Israel relationship as a “constant wound… this constant sore,” became President Obama, doggedly trying to detonate the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

A lot of people are going to focus on how the president intentionally delegitimized Israel and incompetently suffocated the peace process because of the now debunked theory that Israeli supermarket construction in Jerusalem causes cave-dwellers in Afghanistan to launch rockets and fanatics in Iran to build nuclear weapons. Ergo his repeated and one-sided diplomatic offensives against Israel over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which the documentary duly spends a lot of time exploring.

But don’t miss the middle of the video. Starting just before 15:00, it discusses Obama’s love affair with Turkey and Prime Minister Erdogan in the context of the Gaza flotilla. Israel may or may not make peace with the Palestinians, but nobody seriously believes a third violent intifada has the potential to spiral into a regional war. The damage Obama has done to our alliances and our posture in the eastern Mediterranean, in contrast, will reverberate for decades.

After the flotilla incident, Obama backed Erdogan’s demand that Israel make a groveling apology for defending itself against the Turkish-sponsored terrorists who were aboard the Mavi Marmara. The president even expelled Netanyahu from the White House when the Israeli prime minister tried to tell Israel’s side of the story, ordering him to return to the Middle East. The documentary has a few additional choice quotes from that period, some of which were surreal enough to make it into the trailer sizzle reel, and a rather pointed kicker.

Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu used the crisis as a thinly-veiled pretext to break off relations with Israel and increase Turkey’s naval footprint. Obama was either so naive that he accepted the pretext or so cynical that he was willing to attack Israel as if he accepted it.

Of course, Turkey didn’t actually want to restore relations with Israel. They had long planned to break off relations. The reason the AKP demanded the apology – per a later boastful speech by Davutoglu – was to force Israel to humiliatingly “kneel down” to Turkey.

And Turkey had always intended to expand its naval activities, which had nothing to do with the flotilla. Obama knew as much. Intimidating Israel, and harassing drillers around Cyprus and Greece, is part and parcel of the AKP’s broader neo-Ottoman push. The dynamic was explicitly flagged for Obama as early as 2009, per a Wikileak’d diplomatic cable. The Ottoman legacy itself is enjoying a popular resurgence in Turkey, and Davutoglu speaks openly to top Western reporters about “re-establish[ing Turkey's] leadership in the Ottoman countries of the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia.” He has also predicted (Hebrew) that Israel will disappear as a Jewish state and reemerge as a Turkish-sponsored bi-national entity.

So Obama tried to coerce a democratic ally into abjectly humiliating itself in front of an Islamist enemy with absolutely no possibility of benefit. Figures:

Omri Ceren


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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