Dear President Obama,
We must confess, when you became President, some of us were a little worried that America’s "special relationship" with Israel would come to an end.
We were concerned that the United States would no longer provide money, weapons, and most importantly, diplomatic cover to Israel.
After all, Jimmy Carter – a former President from your own political party – has been highly critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. He even had the nerve to say that Hamas was democratically elected, and that our policy towards Palestine is worse than South African apartheid.
We were fearful that your passionate speech in Cairo in 2009 would make Muslims believe that an Obama presidency would be a neutral player in Israel’s fight against the terrorists from Palestine.
But, thankfully, through your actions as President, you have alleviated our anxieties.
Your unconditional support of Israel is on full display today. Because of your administration’s financial support of our Iron Dome weapon system, no Israelis have been killed in our surge on Gaza. And although we have already killed at least 100 Palestinians, including 21 children, and have wounded over 500 people, you have not publicly condemned our actions (thanks!).
On Thursday, you offered to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine. Since you have repeatedly labeled Hamas a "terrorist organization" with whom you are unwilling to sit down, your offer to negotiate was pretty clever – maybe Palestinians won’t catch on to the fact that you are really on our side, and they will agree to have the US act as mediator. Fingers crossed.
We are thrilled, but not surprised by your absolute backing of Israel at present. You showed your true colors two years ago when you said you were "fully supportive" of Israel’s bombing of Gaza in 2012.
Clearly, you are wise enough to understand that American elections are greatly influenced by pro-Israel donors. For this wisdom we say, "thank you."
Of course, you will forever be in our debt for voting against Palestinian statehood in 2012. For you to take that stand – when virtually every other country in the world wanted to formally recognize Palestine as an independent nation – wow, that was gutsy, and because of your courage, Palestine today has fewer legal remedies.
You have continued to veto those frivolous United Nations resolutions that condemn the great State of Israel. How can we ever thank you enough for that?
You have remained relatively silent as Israeli settlements rightfully continue their expansion. You even said that you would abandon your push to stop settlement expansion.
And you have been very careful to never utter the words "collective punishment" in discussing our embargo on Gaza.
Few countries understand what it’s like to be Israeli or American. That’s why we have to stick together, like in 2010 when we were the only two countries to vote against ending the embargo on communist Cuba.
Many of us in Israel were previously concerned about all those pesky "Free Palestine" protesters in the US. But we’re not worried about them anymore because many of those same people continue to vote for you and other Democrats, thus insuring that Israel will be able to do as it so chooses.
We really appreciate your support of the coup in Egypt that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power. They were big supporters of Palestinians. As you know, Egypt’s new leader, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi believes Hamas is a terrorist organization and an offshoot of the Brotherhood, so we don’t have to worry about which side Egypt will be on in our fight against Palestinians.
We must say that we still have concerns about your support of neo-Nazis in Ukraine. As you know, we have a bad history with Nazis. But we understand your country’s desire to control Eurasia and to weaken Russia, so as long as you let Israel reap the benefits of the American Empire, we can let this one slide.
The fact that your presidency has continued to demonize Iran has been very beneficial to us. It’s been difficult for Israelis to get people to understand that Iran – even though they haven’t attacked another country in recent memory – is a serious threat to Israel. Sure, Iran knows we could nuke them, but they just want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, so they don’t fear a nuclear reprisal.
And speaking of nuclear weapons, you sure helped Israeli officials sleep better when your administration announced that it would implement a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy regarding our massive nuclear weapons arsenal.
Some people say that Israel is like the little brother who constantly runs his mouth and starts fights because he has a big brother who’s always there to bail him out of any trouble. Well, to that we say, thank you big brother. Others are just jealous.
We know that if the US criticized Israel the same way it criticizes Russia, Syria, Venezuela or Iran, the rest of the world would jump on board and force Israel to change. After all, the US is pretty much in full control of the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and NATO. That’s why we are particularly appreciative of your undying support of Israel.
It always warms our hearts when you say that Israel has the "right to defend itself" but you have never said that Palestinians have that same right. That really helps our cause.
In 2012 you signed a law increasing military aid to Israel just one day before your then-Presidential opponent Mitt Romney made a trip to the Holy Land. Some said it was a political ploy to prove that Democrats are just as "pro-Israel" as the Republicans. Nonsense, we say. You were just strengthening Israel’s already advanced weaponry. Just like when you secretly supplied us with bunker-buster bombs.
You provided cover for Israel in 2011 by saying we had the right to kill 20 Palestinian protesters who were commemorating the Nakba. When you praised our "restraint" on this matter, a potential firestorm was avoided, particularly because our government initially blamed the killings on Syria. Because of your support, we were able to acknowledge our role in the killings without fear of reprisal.
You will never know how many pro-Israel supporters you gained when you spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting in 2011. The crowd went wild when you said, "So make no mistake, we will maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge." That was huge.
We recognize the "little" things you do, too. Like how your administration tried to stymie an independent U.N. investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes during our 2008-2009 incursion into Gaza. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we in Israel learned of your valiant efforts.
And how you refused to accept the Palestinian unity deal, which brought Hamas and Fatah together. And you really made a statement when you withdrew the US from UNESCO in response to its approval of Palestine’s membership. We like it when you pound your fists on the table on behalf of Israel.
We were in a pickle when a UN probe said there was clear evidence to back prosecutions against Israel for killing and torture when our heroic troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010. The vote was 30-1, with your country, the US, as the lone dissenter. That’s a true friend.
Prior to you becoming President, some people in Israel confidently assured fellow citizens that you would be a deep supporter of Israeli interests. They believed this to be true because in 2008, just 12 hours after your victory in the Democratic Presidential primaries, you showed up at AIPAC wearing an Israel/US lapel pin, telling the crowd that you "understood the Zionist idea." Clearly this gesture was a quid-pro-quo with your pro-Israel donors, and was a way for you to prove that an Obama presidency would always put Israel at the top of its pecking order. That was a good move on your behalf.
And there were earlier signs of your unwavering support of Israel that we should have spotted. While you were just a Senator, you co-sponsored a Senate resolution demanding that the US do nothing to impede Israel’s military actions in Lebanon in 2006. That meant so much to us, because you ran the risk of appearing to be a "hawk" at a time when the people of the US were growing tired of the Bush administration’s foreign policy. You rolled the dice.
Well, your gamble has paid off, and you have achieved your political dreams, and at the same time you have made Israel quite happy.
For this, we say thank you. Because of you, your party, and the rest of the US government, Israel is free to act as it pleases. You, President Barack Obama, are the best friend Israel has ever had.
With warmest regards,
Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages OccupyArrests.com and USinAfrica.com.