This rhetorical missile shield is slowly being retracted. The administration threatens not to veto anti-Israel U.N. initiatives, Europe is aligning with the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, and anti-Israel activism festers on U.S. campuses. Obama’s unending criticism of Israel, and background quotes calling Israel’s prime minister a “chicken-shit” and a “coward,” provide an opening for radicals to go even further.
The diplomatic rupture endangers Israel in another way. It preceded Obama’s quest for détente with Iran, Israel’s greatest enemy and most pressing threat. Oren was outraged in 2013 when he learned that the administration had been conducting secret negotiations with the mullahs. Now, with the United States about to clear the way for Iranian nukes and flood the Iranian economy with cash, Israel is all the more at risk.
“Obama says Iran is not North Korea,” Oren said, “and Bibi says Iran’s worse than 50 North Koreas. It all comes down to that.” Fixated on striking a deal, Obama is preparing to concede the longstanding demand that Iran disclose its past nuclear weapons research, is ignoring the issue of Iranian missile development, and is standing idle as Iran props up Assad, arms Hezbollah with rockets, and promotes sectarianism in Iraq. Israel is hemmed in—by Iranian proxies and Sunni militants on its borders, by the threat of a third intifada on the West Bank, by global nongovernmental organizations, by a condescending, flippant, and bullying U.S. president whose default emotional state is pique.