After a rocky start marred by two disastrous visits to the White House from which the press was barred, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to receive a more cordial reception when he arrives for today’s meeting with President Obama. What Israelis need from the prime minister is more than an Oval Office smile.
Want peace? Then it’s time for some confidence-building measures to convince Israelis that is what awaits them at the end of the tunnel - not national suicide.
Here’s our Top 10 list:
First, President Obama should use the Oval Office meeting with Mr. Netanyahu to announce when his schedule finally will allow him to visit Israel. This would show that his concern for the survival of the Jewish people equals the solicitude for the Arab and Muslim world shown in his Cairo speech.
Second, he should do something that no president has done since 1948: declare that the United States recognizes West Jerusalem as sovereign Israeli territory.
Third, Washington and the Mideast Quartet are being less than forthright when they talk about a two-state solution but, in reality, keep pushing Israel to accept a three- or four-state solution de facto, with Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north. Though the U.S. officially labels them “terrorist organizations,” Washington has apparently entered into back-channel negotiations with Hamas, and Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, thinks Hezbollah contains “moderates.” Before leaning on Israel, Mr. Obama should tell the Arab and Muslim world to demand that Hamas and Hezbollah recognize Israel and drop their threats against the Jewish state.
Fourth, Mr. Obama should tell Mr. Netanyahu that he understands the existential threat Iran poses to Israel. America and Europe may be able to wait to see what the Iranian regime does with its nuclear ambitions, but Israel cannot. She is on the front lines and remembers every day the price the Jewish people paid for not taking Hitler at his word. Israel is not prepared to sacrifice another 6 million Jews on the altar of the world’s indifference. Unless the president of the United States can assuage Israel’s existential concerns about Iran, the only road left may be what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad covets - a war.
Fifth, the Obama administration needs to repudiate its vote supporting a resolution passed at the recent Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in our nation’s capital. Only Israel - which has never threatened any nation with nuclear weapons and has no obligations under a treaty it never signed - was singled out for criticism. There was no mention that the rogue signatory “Wipe Israel From the Map” Iran already has enough uranium to build two atomic bombs.
Sixth, the United States should state that it will continue shielding Israel from unfair one-sided U.N. Security Council resolutions. Israelis were deeply troubled by Mr. Obama’s tepid response to a sister democracy’s right to its own investigation of the Turkish flotilla incident rather than being made to suffer another U.N.-sponsored inquisition.
Seventh, the administration should warn the United Nations Human Rights Council to put a cap on its one-sided anti-Israel resolutions, which pollute the already muddied diplomatic waters. Ever since America rejoined the UNHRC, our diplomats have done little more than squirm as most notorious regimes such as Cuba and Iran voted to adopt the notorious Goldstone Report, condemning Israel - but not Hamas - for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.”
Eighth, the time has come for Mr. Obama to confront Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who acts more these days like an ally of Iran instead of a trusted NATO ally. Mr. Erdogan’s hostility against Israel and attacks against Kurds in Iraq undermine the stability of the entire region.
Ninth, Mr. Obama should use the Oval Office meeting to denounce publicly the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) anti-Israel campaigns in academia, churches and unions. Those efforts have one goal: demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state, the only true democracy in the Middle East.
Tenth, if the Palestinians are truly heading toward statehood, it is about time their leaders are held accountable. Just this week, PA Television, which is under the direct control of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ office, broadcast a quiz show between competing Palestinian universities that denied Israel’s very existence. Peace will never be attainable as long as anti-Israel incitement continues unabated in “official” media, mosques and school curricula and West Bank streets are named to honor suicide “martyrs.” In the Internet era, Mr. Abbas and company shouldn’t still be allowed to get away with speaking out of both sides of their mouths: one sanitized version for the world media and the other in Arabic for the Palestinian street.
Rabbis Marvin Hier is dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Abraham Cooper is associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.