The Spectacle Blog

Ambassador Gutman’s Gutlessness

By on 12.7.11 | 4:30PM

Earlier today, Ross Kaminsky shared his thoughts with regard to the remarks of Howard Gutman, our Ambassador to Belgium, regarding Muslim anti-Semitism. Kaminsky also recommended Robert M. Goldberg's article which appears on the front page today which discusses the Obama Administration's unceasing hostility towards Israel.

With that let me add these two thoughts as to why I find Gutman's remarks to be, well, gutless.

First, Gutman casts aspersions on the American Jewish community with regards to their attitude towards Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign:

Though there was much support in the Jewish community during the campaign, I combated significant suspicion and concern among the Jewish community as to whether a black man named Barack Hussein Obama could really be a good friend for Israel and the Jewish community.

Ah yes, play the race card against the Jewish community. The idea that the Jewish community had a problem with Obama because he's black is at best laughable and at worst defamatory. If anything, Obama's race worked in his favor with Jews amongst many others. Those Jews who were concerned about Obama were concerned because of his association with Reverend Wright who once saw fit to reprint a pro-Hamas editorial on his Pastor's Page in the Trinity United Church Bulletin.

Then there's Rashid Khalidi. If Donald Trump really wanted to make himself useful he could have used his power to compel The Los Angeles Times to release a 2003 video of Obama praising the onetime PLO spokesman instead of wasting time with the birther nonsense.

President Obama confirmed the worst fears of those Jews who were skeptical of him when he demanded a halt to the construction of homes in Jerusalem, a position even the Palestinians weren't advocating. As Charles Krauthammer so eloquently put it, Obama behaved like "an arrogant amateur."

Second, Gutman tries to have his cake and eat it too. He makes a point of denying there's "anti-Semitism" in Europe while at the same time claiming that "anti-Semitism" will abate if Israel makes more concessions:

I said that is both fortunate and unfortunate that the largest part of the solution for this second type of problem -- too often lumped under a general banner of anti-Semitism -- is in the hands of Israel, the Palestinians and Arab neighbors in the Middle East. It is fortunate because it means that, unlike traditional hatred of minorities, a path towards improving and resolving it does at least exist. It is crucial for the Middle East -- but it is crucial for the Jewish and Arab communities in Europe and for countries around the globe -- that Mid-East peace negotiations continue, that settlements abate, and that progress towards a lasting peace be made and then such a peace reached in the Middle East. Were a lasting peace in the Middle East to be reached, were joint and cooperative Israeli-Arab attentions turned to focus instead on such serious, common threats as Iran, this second type of ethnic tension and bigotry here in Europe - which is clearly growing today - would clearly abate. I can envision the day when it disappears. Peace in the Middle East would indeed equate with a huge reduction of this form of labeled "anti-Semitism" here in Europe.

Well, despite the fact Israel and Egypt have had a lasting peace for more than thirty years. Yet people across the political spectrum in Egypt want nothing to do with Israel and have seen fit to attack the Israeli Embassy forcing the evacuation of Israeli diplomats. I don't see Israelis behaving in this manner towards Egyptians emissaries.

Ambassador Gutman also insists that settlements must abate. Yet where is his demand for Palestinians to stop dedicating streets, schools and soccer fields to suicide bombers? Where is his demand for Palestinians to stop handing out candy to their children and grandchildren when an Israeli infant gets her throat slit? Where is his demand of the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? As for the settlements, the last Jew left Gaza in 2005 and yet rocket attacks into Israel have only acclerated.

But what can you expect from someone who describes President Obama as "Israel's best and most valuable friend" with a straight face?

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