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Washington - ADL Gives Obama An ‘F’ for Failing to Deliver in Middle East

Published on: February 8, 2010 11:22 PM
By:  Jpost
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Washington - Two-and-a-half weeks after US President Barack Obama completed his first year in office, observers both in Israel and the US gave his Middle East policy largely failing grades for efficacy.

“Since there are no prospects of talks on the horizon, and in many ways what their efforts wrought was a wasted year without any negotiations, I believe the administration deserves an ‘F’ for failure to deliver on results,” Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman told the ADL’s National Executive Committee.

In contrast, Foxman said that Obama deserved a “solid A for his efforts” after “he tried very hard in his first year to bring the parties together with good intentions.”

On strategy, Foxman rated the administration’s performance a “C-minus,” after “the administration… focused on trying to speed up the process toward peace, and is now questioning its own strategy.”

Among the strategic errors cited by Foxman were “unrealistic expectations” and heavy-handed focus on Israeli settlement policy.

Foxman is a Washington insider who has been close to several presidents and has acted as a frequent emissary between the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office behind the scenes over the past few decades.


In Israel, representatives of parties on both extremes of the political spectrum tended to award grades similar to Foxman’s

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) gave Obama a failing grade for results, a middling grade for strategy and a medium-to-high grade for intent.

“There is no doubt that there is a great gap between the hopes and the results,” explained Tibi.

“Obama’s speech in Cairo [in June] brought hope to many in the Middle East,” continued the MK, who at the time, wrote an article for a Hebrew-language daily in which he expressed optimism that Obama’s “perspective and alternative world view” would lead to a change in US policy.

But in the ensuing months, said Tibi, Obama failed to live up to expectations.

“Even on the minor topic of a complete building freeze for a number of months, he did not succeed. Netanyahu forced his perspective upon him,” Tibi said. “The typical American style of Mideast diplomacy carried out by [US envoy George] Mitchell brought no results. The period of Bush was bad. I don’t want to say that today is worse, but the prognosis isn’t good.”

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, the grades submitted by National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz were nearly identical.

“I think that Obama’s intent – that there will be peace among nations – is good. It is not a bad thing that an American president wishes that peace exist among nations and between the Jewish people and the Arab people,” said the outspoken National Union chairman, who gave Obama high-to-moderate marks for intent.

“I think that he is really a person who in his nature wants peace and that is a good thing. I think it is strengthened by the number of Jews around him, because Jews have always wanted peace and been willing to give up much for it.”

But, said Katz, Obama should receive a failing grade for both strategy and results.

“Strategy and results go hand and hand. If you have a bad strategy, then you simply won’t have good results,” he said.

Obama, said Katz, failed to understand the force behind the Jewish settlement enterprise in the West Bank.

 “There is a divine tsunami of a return to Zion, and we are in the process of returning. Whoever goes with the divine wave gets to the shore, and those who go against it fail,” he said.

Members of the larger parties were more moderate in their assessment, focusing not on Obama but rather on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“The blame for the peace process not moving forward lies more with Netanyahu than with Obama,” said MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima). “Obama will get a second chance in his second year. He should make more effort to push peace, even at the price of causing a crisis with Netanyahu.”

Still, Molla gave Obama only a B for intent and near-failing D’s for strategy and implementation.

MK Einat Wilf (Labor) was the most generous in her summary of the US president’s Mideast policy.

“Obama has made important strategic decisions to enhance American soft and hard power. I am confident that the seeds he has sown in this first year will bear fruit in the coming years,” said Wilf, who preferred not to assign grades.

“He has also shown the limits of engagement. Finally, we would all benefit from a measure of humility in judging presidential performance, especially after just one year,” she said.

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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »


 Feb 08, 2010 at 11:49 PM Chaim from brooklyn Says:

I would rate OBAMA's first year with a Z- And NATANYAHO's with A +!!!!


 Feb 09, 2010 at 12:15 AM Peace for Peace Says:

Israel is alot better off when there is no peace talks. Obama unintentionaly got the best results by not having peace talks - which they talk about giving up more land for terror. Just contemplating giving up land, weekens Israil's position.

Let Obama talk with Alkida about giving up Florida for piece.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 12:20 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #1  
Chaim from brooklyn Says:

I would rate OBAMA's first year with a Z- And NATANYAHO's with A +!!!!

Prime Minister Netanyahu's attempt to openly challenge the President of the United States has been good for neither the US nor for Israel. It showed that a tiny country can attempt to bully the US and basically succeed. Every small despotism was watching and learned the lesson -- especially Israel's Arab enemies.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 01:50 AM Anonymous Says:

And the ADL is graded F for its failure to curb or eradicate anti-semitism.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 01:50 AM Awestruck Says:

Foxman should insist that Obama remove all security screenings from all US airports in conjunction with his demands that Israel lift all blockades at Gaza junctions. Further, any discussion of yielding any more territory to the so-called Palestinians should be linked to territory returned to Native American Indians, from whom the continent of America was stolen. Further, the Goldstone report must be joined with a critical evaluation of the merciless American bobmbing of Nazi Germany during WWII. I wnt to make clear that these demands are well grounded and Obama must not resist historical imperitives. We, of course, will allow Barak Hussein Obama a trip to Mecca for religious meditate and divine guidance to make up his mind. He can take Foxman along for good company.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 02:24 AM Anonymous Says:

obama gets a zero across the board ...still can't stop laughing how he received the Nobel peace prize... HaHa Ha...
its like saying.... obama won the superbowl ....well he didn't play?...exactly he made no peace....


 Feb 09, 2010 at 07:32 AM And now...? Says:

I believe when Foxman and the ADL complained about an anti-Semitic thing Rush Limbaugh (aka moronic blowhard) said, all of the frum Jews shouted that Foxman is an idiot and doesn't speak for Jews. Can't wait to see if those same Jews suddenly say how astute he is.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 09:44 AM Awestruck Says:

#6 is super accurate. Well put !!!!!
#7 I believe that Foxman's complaint herein is that Obama did not exert enough pressure on Israel, forcing them to yield and relent to PA-PLO-Hamas demands. Our community is just as angry at him to baselessly lambasting Rush Limbaugh as for the extreme leftist assessment of Obama's performance on Israel and the Middle-East. Foxman should be dispatched to Afganistan, where he will learn proper Derech Eretz, and he should be replaced by Mort Klein of ZOA.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 03:30 PM LIBERALISM IS A DISEASE!!! Says:

Reply to #3  
Charlie Hall Says:

Prime Minister Netanyahu's attempt to openly challenge the President of the United States has been good for neither the US nor for Israel. It showed that a tiny country can attempt to bully the US and basically succeed. Every small despotism was watching and learned the lesson -- especially Israel's Arab enemies.

Yes a tiny country bullied the 'mighty' USA but your president refuses to see the 'mightyness' of this country so it all works out the way the little man child O wants it to be.

Personally, I give G-d an A+++ here because He knows what He is doing more than the Child.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 03:52 PM Anonymous Says:

You cannot blame the ADL for not eradicating anti-semitism. It is not so simple. If anything, we all have to help in eradicating anti-semitism.


 Feb 09, 2010 at 04:19 PM PMO Says:

The funny part of the story is how the extreme right and the extreme left have turned on Obama. The extreme right claims he is a "socialist", "marxist", "communist", etc. while the extreme left claims he is too "conservative", "panders to Republicans", "centrist", etc.

The whole conversation has reached the point of hilarity. People just scream with no facts to back up anything. What Obama "is" has become a matter of perspective and propaganda, not an educated labeling based on facts.

To those of us who actually have an education and spend time reading and learning about our nation (and not from comedians like Anne Coulter or Al Franken), this is all just too funny for words. The more uneducated propagandists sit and yell at each other, the funnier it gets.


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