New Dem panic: If Obama’s such a great friend, why didn’t he go to Israel?

Panic among the Democrats on the Jewish front. Ron Kampeas reports on a call to Jews from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic congresswoman and head of the Democratic National Committee, along with Robert Wexler, the FL congressman turned Israel lobbyist, reminding Jewish Dems about our “values.”

Notice the defensiveness on Wasserman Schultz’s part and the real fear that Rick Perry will be able to peel away Jews on this issue (here’s the Dems new website: Jews have never had a better friend than Obama– just what New York Magazine says, in declaring Obama a Jewish president). Kampeas:

[Wasserman Schultz said,] “Beyond Israel there is nothing, I mean nothing that the Republicans are proposing …. That are in line with our values.”

She also acknowledges nervousness about Obama.

“I know many of you feel overwhelmed by the partisan fearmongering and deliberate distortions of our president’s record on Israel.

“The uncertainty within the community continues for many.”
…There is, however, a GOP/conservative response to the call and the website that seems to have real legs:  Wasserman Schultz and Wexler were hyperdefensive about Obama’s failure so far to visit Israel as president.

@DWSTweets protests too much on BHO not going to #Israel; it stands out b/c he was in the neighborhood for Cairo speech but stayed away.

The first Jewish leader to ask Obama why he was not planning a visit to Israel, way back in the summer of 2009 — a month or so after his Cairo speech — was Debra DeLee, the CEO of Americans for Peace Now. He still hasn’t adequately answered.

None of their answers  — Reagan never went, GW Bush waited seven years, etc. etc. — got to the point, succinctly put by the Republican Jewish Coalition in a tweet:

About Philip Weiss

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Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 44 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. MLE says:

    Wasn’t there concern that Obama could be assassinated if he went to Israel? That the Israeli government couldn’t guarantee his safety?

    • MRW says:

      (1) Obama isn’t the President of Israel.

      (2) Israelis would murder him.

      (3) What part of this don’t you understand?

      • DBG says:

        can anyone document this security threat to Obama if he would travel to Israel?

        • iamuglow says:

          I can’t document it, but if you were a certain ‘special ally’ and wanted to cement the support of the American people for your flailing cause….you’d make sure that the attacker was muslim, ideally a Palestinian.

        • Kathleen says:

          Death threats way up when it comes to Obama. Some of Max Blumenthals video clips demonstrated the hatred and anger of some of the radical Zionist.
          link to

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Because what, Israelis have NEVER used targeted assassination against politicians they don’t approve of? Even on Israeli soil? Really.

        • DBG says:

          Kathleen, all your link proved is Obama shouldn’t leave the WH.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          You forgot to accuse her of “moving the goalposts,” DBG. That’s your standard Pavlovian reaction when you fall back on a faulty debate tactic yourself, after all, accuse someone else of doing exactly what you just did.

        • RE: “can anyone document this security threat to Obama if he would travel to Israel?” ~ DBG

          SEE: Assassination of Yitzhak Rabinlink to

        • DBG says:

          again, WTF does that have to do with Obama going to Israel. JFK, RFK, and MLK were assassinated in the 1960s, does that mean any foreign leader should be afraid to visit the US?

        • lysias says:

          Interesting sidelight of the JFK assassination: the reactor at Dimona went critical in December 1963.

        • Antidote says:

          “can anyone document this security threat to Obama if he would travel to Israel?”

          can anyone document this security threat to Israel if Palestine became a UN member? If the occupation ended?

        • Real Jew says:

          “can anyone document this security threat to Israel if Palestine became a UN member? If the occupation ended? ”

          Ouch! I heard that smack across DGB’s face all the way from Baltimore. Lol. Notice he didn’t respond

        • mymarkx says:

          The JFK, RFK, and MLK assassinations mean that moral US leaders should be afraid to stay in the US.

        • DBG says:

          how do you figure fake jew? it is totally unrelated to what I am taking about.

          Just for the record I am for Palestine becoming a UN member and an end to the occupation. I just do see why you guys can’t stay focused on one subject. I get it there is no document threat against Obama in Israel, this is why every single reply to my question is answered with some diversion tactic.

        • Real Jew says:

          “I get it there is no document threat against Obama in Israel, this is why every single reply to my question is answered with some diversion tactic”

          Similar to the same “diversion tactic” your applying in return to Antidote’s question aside from a hollow claim of support. If you actually read my response it mentioned nothing about threats to Obama. And I doubt anybody believes you’re for “Palestine becoming a UN member and an end to the occupation” considering you’re a proven zio who constantly defends Israels policies

          So tell me DGB, what is the threat to Israel by recognizing Palestine at the UN?

  2. mig says:

    So this is the level where American political entity has landed. Nothing matters as much, even in domestic politics, but just remember to visit Israel. From here on, every US President must go through 2 inauguration ceremony. One in front of US people, and the other in face of Knesset. I dont know why to bother do that in US, because it looks like in front of Knesset is more important….

    Sorry to say but jeez….

  3. Paul Norheim says:

    This is dizzyingly ironic (from the NYT today):

    “WASHINGTON — When the Obama administration wanted to be certain that Congress would not block $50 million in new aid to the Palestinian Authority last month, it turned to a singularly influential lobbyist: Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

    At the request of the American Embassy and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Netanyahu urged dozens of members of Congress visiting Israel last month not to object to the aid, according to Congressional and diplomatic officials.”

    link to

    How are we to interpret this political comedy?

    Those great “friends of Israel” who actually go to Israel, are so eager to support Netanyahu that they actually undermine his position by being more extreme than him! And then Obama has to use Netanyahu as a Pro Israel Lobby to beg those ultra-radical Israel visitors not to work against Israel’s interests!

    • iamuglow says:

      This morning, for the first time I called into a radio station. They were talking about the UN vote on AM 1600 WWRL in NYC. Supposedly a progressive station…I don’t know them enough to say.

      They put me on air. I held sway for the minute or two saying things you don’t typically hear on US radio. ‘Its in the interest of the US to recognize Palestine. Our position on I/P was one of the motivators behind the 9/11 attacks..’ the moderator interrupted me to say the main gripe was our base in KSA…’ heaven forbid someone links I/P to 9/11…I pointed to the transcripts and interviews, etc…then the moderator went off on saying, ‘well Obama can’t recognize Palestine because look at what happened in the 9th District, Koch, etc.’ I said yes that’s true but that points to a more serious problem with our election process if issues of national importance are being decided by domestic campagain donations made by a minority of Americans.’

      Then there was silence. Hello? Hello? They cut me off. I called back up and they said they had moved on to another subject. Figures.

      I will see if I can find a transcript somewhere. I was quite pleased with getting on air and preaching the truth, if only for a few minutes.

      • Kathleen says:

        good for you. Keep it up. Call the national shows. Washington Journal, etc. Stay focused on the facts just the way you did.
        As vigilant citizens we can use what ever means possible to us to get out the facts direct people to particular websites etc.

        You can master your responses, your readiness, what you thing their answers or comments will be and your ability to get a great deal of information out with the time you have.

        Good going!

    • Kathleen says:

      DN! Netanyahu in 2001 US Won’t Get in the Way of Israeli Expansionism

      • Kathleen says:

        Netanyahu in 2001: US “Won’t Get in the Way” of Israeli Expansionism

        link to
        A newly revealed tape shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once openly discussed his intent to attack the Palestinian government, undermine the Oslo peace accords, and manipulate the United States to ensure its approval. The 2001 recording shows Netanyahu meeting with Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu was then out of government after serving his first stint in office. Apparently unaware he was being recorded, Netanyahu talks openly of a “broad attack” on the Palestinian government, saying, “The main thing, first of all, is to hit them. Not just one blow, but blows that are so painful that the price will be too heavy to be borne.” Netanyahu also outlines how he would undermine the 1993 Oslo accords, he said, which established the basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, by declaring any West Bank land that Israel wants to retain as “military” and “security zones.” Addressing potential US opposition to Israeli expansionism, Netanyahu says, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in the way.”

  4. Surely, in the back of most Jew’s minds is that Obama will be free to do what he wants about Israel if he gets a second term. Never facing another election means never being scared of AIPAC. A President free of AIPAC just might see the Palestinians’ problems in a whole new light.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      A president who decided not to run for a 2nd term would be free of AIPAC. But a president who appointed the arch-Zionist Wasserman-Schultz to that position in the first pace is a president hard in AIPAC’s chains.

    • Kathleen says:

      I have read and heard that the I lobby and Israel had turned against Carter because they did not want to see the Camp David negotiations implemented. Carter mentioned this again during his interview with Rachel Maddow last Friday. Good interview.
      Rachel Maddow interviews Former President Jimmy Carter
      link to

    • Shingo says:

      Surely, in the back of most Jew’s minds is that Obama will be free to do what he wants about Israel if he gets a second term.

      That’s a false argument. Whilre presidents only have a maximum of 2 terms, Senators and Congressmen can be there indefinitely and it is they who will pile on th pressure, just as tey did with Obama after Cairo.

  5. Dan Crowther says:

    Strange that DWS says that “nothing the republicans propose beyond Israel is in line with our values.”

    If you support Israel, as she does, reflexively and unconditionally, you are really supporting neo-liberalism/colonialism, wars of aggression, public separation of religious and ethnic groups, a ever expanding and monstrous surveillance state, militarism, attacks on civil liberties and the transfer of public wealth to the already wealthy.

    Seems like they have a whole lot in common.

  6. Kathleen says:

    What has been easy to see about Wasserman Schultz is like Schumer and other Dem Jewish Reps is that their allegiance to Israel trumps the National security of the US over and over again. They know the illegal settlements are wrong they know demolishing Palestinian homes is wrong, they know cutting down Palestinian olive trees is wrong. They know that this has and continues to undermine US national security. Yet they support Israel beyond the pale. When Wasserman Schultz was chosen to be the head of the DNC they block any movement.

    When Steve Israel became head of the DCCC closed the door for addressing this issue.

    Dennis Ross one of the main negotiators. Close the door to real progress.

    The I lobby has been doing this for decades in both parties. Choke movement and progress off at the pass

  7. Kathleen says:

    What percentage is the Jewish vote? Know that the donation thing is huge. But as the Muslim population in the states grows who rounds up these votes could counter the Jewish vote but more than likely not the funds.

    The Muslim vote is going to come into play.

    • Proton Soup says:

      it’s not the vote, it’s the funding. it’s the money that goes into attack ads. it’s also the access to the media apparatus, controlling who the public thinks the serious candidates are.

      until someone else has control of the eyeballs in america, nothing will change.

      • Kathleen says:

        it is the vote also

        • mymarkx says:

          The vote is the least important thing in the US. Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, John Kerry won the popular vote in 2004, but Bush took office both times. The US Constitution says the popular vote doesn’t have to be counted and it often isn’t. Those with big money behind them don’t have to worry about the popular vote. The popular vote is a sham, a mere formality, and it doesn’t decide the outcome of elections. link to

  8. seafoid says:

    “nothing the republicans propose beyond Israel is in line with our values.”

    Perry wants to dismantle social security. He’s more dangerous than al Qa’ida ever was. The Republican project is about reducing government to the point it can be drowned in the bathtub. Except for military spending of course.

    Any middle class or lower middle class Jew who would vote Perry because of Israel needs their head examined.

  9. chocopie says:

    Since Obama is black and has an Arabic name, he can’t really expect to get into Israel without a strip search. Maybe he’s just shy.

  10. chet says:

    Pres. Obama probably should have gone to Israel following the Cairo speech.

    He would have been able to expound further on the principles he enunciated, pointing out where Israeli cooperation was essential and perhaps have left a veiled suggestion that Israeli intransigence would have consequences – it has often been pointed out that the Israeli populace is very reactive to American displeasure.

    Oh well, shoulda, woulda, coulda.

  11. munro says:

    Cast Lead began on US election day Nov 4 2008 and ended on Jan 21 2009 the day after Obama’s Inauguration – I think to show the schw—za who wears the pants. Now the Lobby pushes Perry (advisor Feith), Bachmann (advisor Gaffney), Palin (advisor Kristol), Marco Rubio (first trip the day after becoming FL senator – not to Latin America – but to Israel). Does the Lobby really believe the Israel connection will be forgotten when an EPA/Social Security/Medicare/Worker’s Rights/Civil Liberties/Climate Science/DOE destroying Evangelical fascist wins the White House (again) because of hardline Israel credentials?