Boycott Watch  
October 11, 2012
Obama Helped the Boycott of Israel
Op-Ed by Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch
   While many Democrats and Republicans are upset that President Obama snubbed Prime Minister Netanyahu during his recent visit to the US, a President Obama has established a pattern which has hurt far more than feelings.

   The US Import-Export Act Amendment of 1977 created the Office of Antiboycott Compliance which enforces laws that prohibit individuals from engaging in foreign government sanctioned boycotts to further the foreign policy of those foreign governments. It is also the key topic of my book Boycotting Peace which details how the Arab boycott of Israel is being pushed, illegally in the United States, with the specific purpose of seeking Israel's economic destruction and helping Arab governments prevent Middle-East peace. After all, boycotts divide people therefore prevent people from getting together and creating peace.

   Despite being signed into law by President Carter who has since been revealed as hating Israel, no US President has furthered the Arab boycott until now. Although President Obama has not actively endorsed the Arab boycott of Israel, his actions have encouraged and emboldened the boycotters in several ways.

   First, in 2008 then Candidate Obama spoke about visiting Israel in his first term, but failed to do so despite visiting neighboring Egypt. A visit to Israel, even for just a few hours, would have made a statement that visiting Israel is important and that it is a safe country. Instead, by not going he made the de facto statement that not going to Israel is acceptable or even justified. It is not a coincidence that the Israel boycotters do not want people visiting Israel.

   In January of 2009, President Obama launched a trial balloon via then peace envoy Senator George Mitchell threatening to withhold loan guarantees and economic aid to Israel. This would have violated the terms of the Camp David Accords. As demonstrated by the recent military maneuvers by Egypt in the Sinai Desert which also violate the Camp David peace treaty, Israel would unilaterally lose as the world remained silent. It is not a coincidence that Israel boycotters seek an end to financial aid to Israel.

   Just days after that statement was retracted, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced she wanted to see an immediate restart of peace talks based on Israel negotiating away Jerusalem. It is not a coincidence that Israel boycotters seek to place Jerusalem entirely under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

   In his State of the Union Address delivered on January 27, 2010, President Obama said we must "reform export controls consistent with national security." As an expert in the Arab boycott of Israel, I found this particularly alarming since he referred to laws that ensure American-made goods that may be used for military purposes do not end up in the hands of nations that may use those goods against the U.S. and its allies, including Israel. It is not a coincidence that Israel boycotters seek end policies which aid Israel's ability to defend itself.

   Then there was the May 19, 2011 speech where President Obama proposed a Middle East peace plan where Israel would retreat to the 1967 armistice lines, a non-border which Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban called the "Auschwitz borders" because it would guarantee Israel's destruction. It's the same plan proposed in 2002 by Saudi Arabia to void the 1994 Oslo Accords which the Palestinians will never fully implement because it requires them to accept the existence of Israel. One glance at the PA logo shows the P.A. see all of Israel as part of their Palestine, so the Arab world sees their signing of the Oslo Accords as a mistake and the Saudi plan reiterated by President Obama would nullify Oslo. It is not a coincidence that Israel boycotters seek a Palestinian state with borders that facilitate the eradication of Israel.

   Then there was the famous incident on July 26, 2012 where White House Press Secretary Jay Carney could not name the capital of Israel. This cannot just be blamed on Obama as none of his predecessors have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel either, but the dodging of the question empowers Israel boycotters by questioning Israel's claim to its eternal capital city, not to mention Israel's sovereign right to name its own capital city.

   Most recently, President Obama snubbed Prime Minister Netanyahu by refusing to meet, essentially saying Obama felt it was more important to be on the David Letterman Show than to sit down with a foreign leader to discuss preventing Israel from ending up in a war with Iran. In doing so, President Obama sent a message to Israel boycotters that snubbing Israel is acceptable.

   That was not an isolated incident because of campaign time constraints. When asked about it few days later on CBS's "60 Minutes" show September 23, 2012, President Obama said Israel is "one of our closest allies in the Middle East," a statement which lowers Israel to be on par with Saudi Arabia, a dictatorship that denies women the right to vote and drive; as well as enforces religious discrimination laws against Jews, Christians and all other non-Muslims.

   While these are just a few incidents, the overall tone of the Obama administration has been to dismiss Israel, which is exactly what the Israel boycotters want. While the Israel boycotters claim they are forcing Israel to the peace table, the simple fact is you can't have peace with someone who refuses to sit down with you for a cup of coffee, thus boycotts prevent peace. Israel's peace with Jordan has been growing thanks to trade, making the opposite of boycott the best model for Middle-East peace.

   The Arab boycott of Israel pre-dates the creation of Israel and the Arab states. It was designed to starve out the Jews before Israel could be established. It is also the basis for the creation of the Arab League which still runs it today; and is centered in Syria, the nation which also funds and arms the Hezbollah terrorists. Other notable Israel boycotters include Hamas, Iran and of course Saudi Arabia which first proposed the "Auschwitz borders," then giving it to President Obama.

   President Obama's passive approach to Israel has furthered the Arab boycott. While his emboldening does not rise to a violation of US Antiboycott laws, Israel's detractors see him as their cheerleader, so much so that an amended statement in the Democrat National Convention stating Jerusalem is the capital of Israel was heavily booed, yet said to have passed out of political expediency. While Israel is facing nuclear annihilation threat from Iran, it cannot afford to have an American President who emboldens Israel's enemies.

   Fred Taub is the author of Boycotting Peace which exposes the truth behind the Arab boycott of Israel / BDS. He is radio host, comments in the major media and his work as been cited in two cases before the United States Supreme Court.

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