President Obama's overtures toward Muslims around the world and his administration's early hard line on Israeli settlements in the West Bank have prompted increasing concerns about the direction of America's Middle East policy.
A series of moves, or the lack of them, is only fueling the anxiety. The Jerusalem Post reports that Obama failed to appoint an envoy to monitor and fight global anti-Semitism despite a legal requirement to do so. The previous envoy, Gregg Rickman, left his post with the transition to a new administration.
The Post says the lapse raises questions about the administration's commitment to the task of fighting anti-Semitism. It quotes Rafael Medoff, director of the Washington DC-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies:
"At a time when anti-Semitism remains a staple of government propaganda in the Middle East, when violent anti-Semitic incidents are reported almost daily throughout Europe, and when even the streets of Washington are not untouched by anti-Semitism's violent potential, that is the wrong message to send."
Adding to the emerging fray is the administration's decision to give a Medal of Freedom to former Ireland President Mary Robinson. Jennifer Rubin notes that Robinson presided over the United Nations' Durban Conference, which was supposed to be about racism but instead morphed into an Israel-bashing fest. So bad was the tenor that the U.S., Germany and other nations boycotted the follow-up gathering in April.
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies President Cliff May summarizes the concern Obama critics have, that his settlement emphasis has come without commensurate pressure on the Palestinians:
"In particular, Obama has been pressing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make unilateral concessions to Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.
The predictable result: Abbas has hardened his stance. One of his deputies, Kifah Radaydeh, said in a recent television interview: 'Our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means, and the goal is Palestine. I do not negotiate in order to achieve peace.' And a PA member of parliament, Muhammad Dahlan, this month said in another TV interview that Palestinians have a 'legal right' to terrorism."
At The Corner on the National Review website, Tevi Troy concludes in fairly blunt terms that the President is taking his support among American Jews for granted.