Trump vs. Obama on Israel’s Right to Self-Defense


During the years of the Obama Presidency it was obvious to clear-eyed observers that the Obama Administration would consistently attempt to blunt Israeli efforts at self-defense or seemingly anything that Israeli’s attempted to accomplish, or so it seemed. The Obama Administration was against the incursion into Gaza, against Jerusalem settlement activity, against the border wall and the demand that Israel revert to the indefensible pre-1967 borders. There was, however, a much more positive orientation toward the PLO and Hamas in the Obama Administration. No matter the ruthlessness of the terror infrastructure attacking Israel the response and warning to Israel was always the same; “restrain yourself, don’t retaliate, protect the non-existent peace process.” Always, according to Obama, it was up to Israel to demonstrate restraint; no such expectations existed for the PLO or Hamas.

Netanyahu’s relationship with Obama was complex as the Prime Minister “schooled” President Obama on at least three occasions pointing out the vacuous nature of Obama’s attitudes toward Netanyahu and Israel.

The roots of the dislike between the two men were wide and deep as Netanyahu would, with effective, elegantly constructed arguments, drive Obama to body language petulance. In other words Netanyahu did something Obama was not used to and rarely encountered; push back, braced by logic and knowledge of the actual history of the region as well as a clear-eyed understanding of the intentions of Israel’s enemies.

At its most basic level Netanyahu was prepared to confront evil; Obama never was and never did. Netanyahu left Obama intellectually emasculated by the shallow, quivering nature of his refusal to confront evil in any form. Appeasers are driven to hate those how do not appease, they must delegitimize those who do not appease; it was the fundamental difference between Netanyahu and Obama. One saw evil, one refused to do so. One was prepared to confront evil and one was not.

That being said what a difference we now have in front of us. Over the weekend based on an Iranian drone in Israeli territory and a shoot down of one of its jets Israel attacked Iranian positions that, seemingly, Iran did not know Israel knew about. Surprise! Israel also took down half of Syria’s air defense infrastructure. An air defense system reputed to be second only to Israel. 

And what was the Trump Administration’s response in the person of Secretary Mattis; “Israel has the absolute right to defend itself, and I think that’s what happened yesterday.” How refreshing; no more arguments for “restraint,” no more recriminations, no more virtue signaling, no more moral relativism.

To add weight to the new way of things Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a clear warning to Iran and declared he expected more attacks. Unspoken was what the response to those attacks will be. Stay tuned; Israel, absent the constant nagging of the Obama Administration will do what’s in Israel’s interests’ Just like we should. 

Take that Mr. Ayatollah.