How Obama Paved the Way for the Iran-Promoting, Israel-Pummeling, Squad-Like Biden White House
An excerpt from my book, 'American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party"
Why would the Biden administration take a position indistinguishable from that of The Squad in calling for Israel to stand down via “ceasefire” — as its people, and among them some Americans, are brutally murdered and held hostage by Hamas’ genocidal jihadists?
Why would the Biden administration have tabbed a Hamas-tied Hezbollah apologist, and all-around Third World Man like Rob Malley as State Department Envoy to Iran — enabling him apparently to build a spy ring for the mullocracy?
Why would the Biden administration have so empowered Iran and its proxies, while putting the screws to Israel in the first place — helping create the conditions for the catastrophe that has unfolded, which could well expand into a regional if not world war?
To understand all of this, you have to understand how President Barack Obama normalized the unholy intersectional progressive-Islamist alliance that has now come to dominate the Democrat Party, including this White House.
I sought to explain the seemingly inexplicable in a book I wrote three years ago, American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party, which foretold what we are seeing play out today.
I thought the below chapter was relevant, if indirectly, to answering some of the questions laid out upfront. As such, I wanted to share it:
HOW BARACK OBAMA MADE ILHAN OMAR POSSIBLE
President Barack Obama is the missing link in the story of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s rise, and its relation to what is transpiring in the Democratic Party. Though he has not received credit for it, President Obama created the precedent for, and the conditions that enabled Rep. Omar to enter the American political scene. His policies and rhetoric derived from a radical worldview and reflected a set of associations substantially similar to those of Rep. Ilhan Omar. The two longtime community organizers, influenced by their roots in the global left-Islamist milieu, are fellow travelers.1
Their views had previously been treated as fringe, and in the recent past would have been dismissed. Obama paved the path to making them mainstream. He created a “safe space” for Omar’s unsafe, unabashed radicalism by presenting his own in a polished manner, under cover of soaring rhetoric and an aesthetic of moderation, with the help of a pliant and sycophantic media.2 Through his superficial moderation, President Obama shifted the national Overton Window leftward, opening a Pandora’s Box of progressivism. Rep. Omar, and the rise of her fellow Squad mates, are but one consequence of President Obama’s success in normalizing such radicalism. And as with Rep. Omar, the great proxy for President Obama’s views on America and the West concerned Israel, the Jews, and their enemies—and ours.
Obama’s Canary in the Coal Mine
In the waning days of the Obama presidency, facing few political constraints and about to relinquish power to a figure who threatened to upend his entire agenda, the lame duck administration focused on its true priorities. Among them: Settling one last score with Israel by way of a devastating action that could not be undone.
On December 23, 2016 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2334. In contravention of longstanding U.S. policy to veto such measures, America abstained. The jackals frolicked. This would be a fitting epigraph for the Obama years. While the administration’s critics often equated inaction with feebleness, the reality was that as with UNSCR 2334, President Obama acted at times with restraint, and other times quite forcefully—but always in relentless pursuit of his detrimental global goals. What critics saw as weakness, he saw as strength when measured by fealty to social justice. The Simon Wiesenthal Center saw something else altogether: Anti-Semitism. It ranked the Obama administration’s abstention as the number one such act of 2016.3
Indeed, UNSC Resolution 2334 was a classic of the Israel-hater genre. The headline of the United Nations press release, summarizing the resolution, understated its significance: “Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms.”4 The resolution went far beyond so-called “settlements”—legitimate residences in the heart of the Jews’ Biblical homeland in Judea and Samaria that for years had drawn Obama’s ire.5 It cast Israel as an “occupying power.” It deemed illegitimate Israel’s construction on its own land, and treated the lands surrendered by the Arabs who sought to destroy Israel, including East Jerusalem, as “Palestinian territory.” It threatened Israel’s right to its holiest sites in Jerusalem. It opened the door to lawfare in international courts against the Jewish state, and paved the way for increased BDS activity.6 Perhaps most importantly, it overturned the United Nations resolution stipulating that in a future peace negotiation, Israel would only cede some portion of lands claimed in response to the impending 1967 invasion, consistent with its security needs. As American-turned-Israeli writer-turned-politician Caroline Glick described it in the Jerusalem Post:
Resolution 2334 asserts that Israel has no right to any of the lands it took control over during the war. From the Western Wall to Shiloh, from Hebron to Ariel, 2334 says all Israeli presence in the areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines is crime.
Given that Israel has no right to hold territory under 2334, it naturally follows that the Palestinians have no incentive to give Israel peace. So they won’t. The peace process, like the two-state solution, ended…to the raucous applause of all Security Council members.7
Glick, who incidentally grew up in the same Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago where Obama began his political rise, and likewise attended Obama’s alma mater of Columbia University, concluded in a separate column that:
Resolution 2334 serves to criminalize Israel and its people and to undermine Israel’s right to exist, while embracing Palestinian terrorists and empowering them in their war to annihilate Israel.
America’s historic refusal to countenance such actions at the UN Security was never a purely altruistic position. It was also a stand for American power and the inherent justice of American superpower status and global leadership.
…Obama is not leading the war against Israel at the Security Council simply to advance the PLO’s war for the annihilation of Israel. He is acting in this manner to undermine the legitimacy of American power.8
“Undermining the legitimacy of American power” might be the most concise formulation of Rep. Omar’s foreign policy agenda. That President Obama “accomplished” this feat so acutely by way of Israel policy underscores its outsized significance as a measure of America’s steadfastness to its principles. Though he would not go so far as to praise the Obama administration’s resolution machinations, President Obama’s Arabist friend, and a former Arafat mouthpiece, Rashid Khalidi—the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University—did acknowledge that it, and a related speech from Secretary of State John Kerry: “offer[ed] an opening for an overdue global response to the arrogance of the Israeli and American enablers of the denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”9,10 What did it say about the direction of the Democratic party that its leaders were becoming enablers of the denial of the inalienable rights of the Israeli people? This was global social justice in action.
The administration’s abstention was at once both brazen and cowardly—brazen in that the Obama team undermined the Jewish state to an unprecedented degree at the world’s preeminent forum of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and cowardly because it refused to “vote its ‘conscience’” by affirming the resolution.11 Its unwillingness to quash the measure was so outrageous and out of line with longstanding U.S. policy that it drew bipartisan condemnation across the U.S. political establishment.12,13
And it gets worse. Unbeknownst to observers at the time, the Obama administration allegedly did more than merely abstain. With the benefit of several years of distance, in March 2019 the New York Times reported that according to an anonymous former Obama administration official, the White House was not an innocent bystander in resolution deliberations. It had cynically pushed for the resolution not to be brought to the UN Security Council prior to the 2016 presidential election—knowing full well it would pass—lest its position rankle Democratic donors, and force Hillary Clinton to take a politically fraught stand on the issue. In the context of the resolution ruse, the aforementioned Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications—with whom he was said to have a “mind meld”—seemed to channel Rep. Omar in the Times article referenced, stating: “The Washington view of Israel-Palestine is still shaped by the donor class…The donor class is profoundly to the right of where the activists are…” Rhodes indicated that some members of the Obama administration wished to, according to the article’s author, “adopt a more assertive policy toward Israel,” but felt constrained.14,15,16 There are conflicting accounts as to the full extent of the Obama administration’s role in the drafting, lobbying and bringing of the resolution to the floor, and seemingly there were fissures within the administration over how to approach it.17 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was adamant that the Obama team led the effort to see it passed.18 Regardless, that the Obama administration decided to abstain, and was adamantly opposed to casting a veto, reflected a sea change in the Democratic Party. Its left-most wing was winning.
Even before UNSCR 2234, President Obama had normalized unseen levels of Democratic “anti-Zionism.” As the leader of the party for eight years, he had audaciously put the screws to Israel, and elevated its sworn enemies, with a litany of words and deeds.19 The abstention and passage of UNSCR 2234 was merely the apotheosis of his efforts—one final act in an international forum devoted seemingly above all else to legitimizing tyranny while delegitimizing Israel and the West, representing the culmination of Obama’s work to reorient U.S. foreign policy towards his “progressive” worldview.20 Its latent anti-Semitism was a proxy for the administration’s broader Left-Islamist ethos.21
The Obama Worldview
What drove the resolution, and the rest of the Obama agenda, was a worldview consistent with that of Rep. Omar. It was a worldview that President Obama showcased on the international stage, when, in one of the first acts of his administration, the newly-elected president set out on a global apology tour, begging forgiveness for America’s transgressions.22 The tour would extend the length of his presidency.23 We might summarize Obama’s spin on the Obama-Omar narrative as follows: The U.S. is an immoral, oppressive, occupying force. It is only exceptional insofar as all nations’ countrymen believe their homelands to be exceptional. Global social justice demands that we not only repent for our national sins on the domestic and international stages, but that we redistribute wealth and power to our victims at home and abroad—on the latter point coddling our adversaries (among others, Islamists) and cudgeling our friends (among others, Israel).24 Therefore, Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood are to be partnered with and engaged.25,26,27,28 Lest we inflame the Islamists, Islamic terror is to be treated as non-Islamic;29 rather, the process of becoming a jihadi is to be thought of as like being infected by a virus. The bug is to be referred to by the non-descript name “violent extremism”—which by its general nature lumps jihadis with the real menace of radical right-wing “bitter clingers” in flyover country. America must adhere to political correctness so as not to lend legitimacy to the ideology jihadis tell us they hold dear, or risk inciting them.30 As such, jihadis are not to be defined as they define themselves, as the most pious of Muslims, but rather as nihilists. Attacks on Israel and Jews by Islamic terrorists are to be referred to as “random,” or ignored altogether, since Islamic supremacism must not be tied to Islamic Jew-hatred.31 The federal government is to excise references to Islam pertaining to Islamist terror, even in transcripts of jihadists’ own 911 calls, lest we lend credence to their misinterpretation of religion—according to experts with no expertise in Islam, and the Islamists advising us on national security.32,33,34,35 Terrorists are to be treated not as singularly responsible for their actions. Society, and particularly Western society, is culpable. Stated differently, we create terrorists by blowback, and not just from military incursions but even the inequality our capitalism causes.36,37 Therefore, we must stop attacking jihadis, and instead focus on ameliorating root cause material conditions of terror by focusing on providing good jobs, an education, and political enfranchisement.38 While the damage America has done to the Islamic world is profound, of all Western powers, Israel is most responsible for Islamist violence as the “occupying,” neocolonialist oppressor of the Middle East.
Most perversely, President Obama justified the anti-Israel aspect of his agenda, backed by the foregoing narrative, with Judaism. He argued in his hostility towards Israel that he merely sought to ensure the Jewish state was living up to its own values, like any good friend. He effectively equated Judaism with progressivism, cynically pandering to like-minded Jews on the Left who do the same. He condescendingly asked Israelis and American Jews to engage in “self-reflection.”39 Through it all, he maintained the same pose as Ilhan Omar regarding America. He could just as well have said, “I probably love Israel more than Israelis do”—to the same disingenuous effect. Consider a representative sampling of President Obama’s record.40
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Benjamin Weingarten to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.