The language heard in Jerusalem for the fallout of the Israeli commando raid of the Turkish-led Gaza-bound flotilla of May 31 was the harshest ever heard from members of Binyamin Netanyahu's government. One senior minister called the international chorus of censure a 'lynch in broad daylight.' Others said Israel was being inundated with "a tsunami of hate," stunned by exhibitions in many places, and not just Tehran, of a burning desire to eradicate the Jewish state.
On Wednesday night, June 2, the Prime Minister went before TV cameras to declare that Israel was under attack by an international coalition of hypocrites.
While most of his aides found his words emotional, they too were moved to ask: Where is the United States just when Israel needs the support of a rock against an international lynch mob? After all, when President Barack Obama invited Netanyahu to meet him at the White House Tuesday, June 1, his avowed purpose was to seal the efforts he has made in the last month to mend his fences with Jerusalem and recover the support of American Jewish leaders, after admitting he erred in his mistreatment of Israel and was anxious to make amends.
(The meeting did not take place because the prime minister was recalled home in a hurry in the wake of the damage caused by flotilla episode.)
Actions inconsistent with pledges of a new page
At the same time, Obama administration's most recent actions in two important international arenas were not exactly consistent with the president's promise to turn a new page with Israel.
1. The United States supported a resolution at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference which singled Israel out for a call to join the treaty and place its nuclear facilities under international inspection. The resolution also calls for a summit in 2012 to work for a nuclear-free Middle East. Iran was not mentioned in the text.
2. This week, the United States joined a United Nations Security Council statement "condemning the loss of life and injuries" resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza and condemned those acts and calling for an impartial investigation.
True the American delegation took the worst sting out of the motion and straight after the incident the Obama administration voiced "deep regret" -which sounded better than European Union leaders' condemnation of Israel for using "excessive force."
Still, officials in Jerusalem and many people in Washington believe that by letting Israel stand alone against what feels like a diplomatic "lynch mob" without strong US support provides many governments and movements with a green light to fire their heaviest guns for blowing Israel away.
On Tuesday, June 1, Meir Dagan, Director of the Mossad, Israel's external security agency, was asked by Prime Minister Netanyahu for a rejoinder to the US government's shilly-shallying in Israel's time of need.
In a rare public appearance before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he did not pull his punches.
America as a jackal in decline
The progressive decline of American strength over the past decade and the perception of the Obama administration as "soft on military options for solving disputes" have shrunk Israel's space for military manoeuvre and made it fair game for its enemies. America's ability to generate situation-changing measures in any part of the world was waning, said the Mossad chief, and this weakness reflects directly and negatively on Israel's strategic wellbeing.
He warned that the current US administration is in the process of making of Israel "a liability instead of an asset." The US president, said the Mossad chief, seriously considered forcing Israel to accept a dictated peace formula. He only backed off when he saw this tactic would not produce a peace accord.
But that was "only a tactical retreat, said Dagan. Events of this nature could career out of control "and lead (US-Israel relations) into extreme situations."
The same day, the Weekly Standard published an article by Elliott Abrams, a former senior foreign policy adviser to two US Republican presidents, entitled "Joining the Jackals – The Obama administration abandons Israel."
The article made a big impression on American Jewry. It was then that the Obama administration understood that its actions had wiped out the advantages his fence-mending campaign had gained among American Jews.
The next day, on Wednesday, he sent Vice President Joe Biden to PBS' Charlie Rose program with a change of tune: "While Israel's actions in dropping troops on the ships can be argued," said Biden. "Jerusalem which has had 3,000 rockets falling on its citizens has the right to know what cargo is headed to Gaza. So what's the big deal?"
But his words did not stem the tide of hate pouring down on the Jewish state from the four corners of the world – nor was it intended to, since not by a single word was Turkey condemned for whipping it up by aligning itself with – and utilizing the services of – the most destructive, hate-driven, anti-West and anti-Israel radical elements, including terrorists in close rapport with al Qaeda.
Jerusalem will not forget this letdown in a hurry – and neither will American Jewish leaders.