Obama: Israelis Mistrust Me Because My Name is Hussein

by Hillel Fendel 

Obama and Netanyahu
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Obama and Netanyahu

In an exclusive interview with Israel’s Channel Two, U.S. President Barack Obama was asked why he thinks Israelis mistrust him. “Some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein,” he told interviewer Yonit Levy, “and that creates suspicion. Some of it may have to do with the fact that I have actively reached out to the Muslim community, and I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy.”

Levy interviewed Obama shortly after Obama met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week in a meeting both sides described as “successful.” 

ZOA: It’s the Policies
The Zionist Organization of American (ZOA) said that Obama ignored the fundamental reason why Israelis mistrust him – namely, his anti-Israel policies. 

The true “answer is staring him in the mirror,” said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein. “Israelis distrust Obama because he has proved in office to be a deeply hostile, unsympathetic president… The record shows that Israelis did not initially dislike or suspect Obama of hostility to Israel (though his record of associations with an anti-Israel pastor and church, as well as anti-Israel activists and academics, would have given them good grounds for unease). As recently as May 2009, 31 percent of Israelis were found to regard Obama as pro-Israel, as opposed to merely 14 percent who regarded him as pro-Palestinian and 40 percent who regarded him as neutral.” 

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Cairo Speech Did It
Klein said that Obama’s Jewish support began plummeting after his Cairo speech in June ’09, in which “the right of Jews to their own country in their biblical, religious and legal homeland was written off as a consolation prize for the Holocaust; Palestinian suffering was compared to Jewish suffering under Nazism; and Muslims were lauded in all sorts of inaccurate ways.” 

Asked if he believes that Netanyahu is the right man to bring peace, Obama answered, “I think that not only is Prime Minister Netanyahu a smart and savvy politician, but the fact that he is not perceived as a dove in some ways can be helpful in the sense that any successful peace will have to include the hawks and the doves, on both sides, and in the same way that Richard Nixon here in the United States was able to go to China because he had very strong anti-communist credentials, I think Prime Minister Netanyahu may be very well positioned to bring this about.” 

The Freeze Question
Levy misspoke but quickly corrected herself in her “settlement freeze” question, asking, “Will you, by the way, extend — request that Israel extends that settlement freeze after September?” 

Obama neatly sidestepped the query: “You know, what I want is for us to get into direct talks. As I said yesterday, I think that if you have direct talks between Abu Mazen, Netanyahu, their teams, that builds trust. And trust then allows for both sides to not be so jumpy or paranoid about every single move that’s being made, whether it’s related to Jerusalem or any of the other issues that have to be dealt with..” 

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ZOA President Klein noted that Obama’s opposition to the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria has been another source of Israeli concern about the US leader, saying: 

  • “So too has Obama’s continuing focus on and opposition to Jews moving to and building in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem [been a reason for Israel fears]; 
  • his manufacturing a crisis over Israel merely announcing a building project in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem in which his Administration ‘condemned’ Israel, and called its action an ‘insult’ and an ‘affront’; 
  • Obama’s telling TIME magazine that Israel has made no serious concessions, despite it agreeing to a 10-month freeze on Jewish construction;
  • his ignoring of Palestinian incitement to hatred and murder while increasing aid to the PA to $900 million, then adding another $400 million last month; 
  •  his support for the Arab so-called ‘Arab Peace Initiative,’ which demands Israel’s return to the pre-1967 borders, give up half of Jerusalem and permit Arab refugees and their millions of descendants to move to Israel; 
  • and his insistence of creating what will be another Arab terror state on the pre-1967 borders.”

Obama: Netanyahu Won’t Surprise Me on Iran
When Levi asked if he was concerned that Netanyahu might unilaterally try to attack Iran, Obama responded, “You know what, I think that the [U.S.-Israel] relationship is sufficiently strong and that neither of us try to surprise each other but we try to coordinate on issues of mutual concern.  And that approach is one that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is committed to.” (IsraelNationalNews.com)

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