Hikind: Obama Worse than Jimmy Carter

For one State Assemblyman, the White House misrepresented his Democratic party in a reckless way.

Gedalyah Reback , | updated: 2:12 PM

Dov Hikind
Dov Hikind
Office of Assemblyman Dov Hikind

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress has not eroded Democratic support for Israel everywhere. With the speech now in the past, there has been more regarding the controversy of how the speech was arranged instead of what was said in it. For one Democrat, it is indisputable that the Prime Minister’s speech was alarming, convincing and momentous.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-NY) was extremely impressed by his speech.

“It can only be for political reasons that you just cannot admit what the Prime Minister said and did, the reaction that he got and the latest polls’ results is unbelievable . . . the Prime Minister accomplished unbelievable things.”

When asked how he saw this speech weighing on Israel’s relationship with the Democratic party, he could not see this becoming a long-term issue.

“The relationship between America and Israel is going to be just fine. There have been so many bumps in the road in the past. I remember very clearly when Prime Minister (Menachem) Begin decided to bomb the nuclear reactor in Iraq. I remember the editorials in all the papers. I remember Ronald Reagan, who was a great friend of Israel, publicly criticizing Israel.”

“If the Prime Ministers of Israel led Israel based on what the Presidents of the United States said, that would be disastrous for the people of Israel. The President of the US does what is in the best interest of the people of the US; the Prime Minister of Israel does what is in the best interest of the people of Israel,” said Hikind.

Regarding President Obama, he felt the degree of pressure and antagonism he has reserved for the Prime Minister has been uncalled for.

“When you undermine the Prime Minister of Israel at such a critical period, you undermine the security of Israel and you undermine the people of Israel,” said Hikind.

He went on to say that such overt and constant isolating of Israel for criticism was an invitation for anti-Semitism, as if Israel received particularly harsh treatment because it should receive such treatment. He compared the Obama administration’s rhetoric about the Jewish State to Jimmy Carter’s, who he thought was insurmountable in his hostility to Israel.

“I never thought that I would say that I long for Jimmy Carter. I could never imagine any president being less friendly to the people of Israel, but I have to say that President Obama is now in the lead.”

“For six weeks, nearly every single day, there was another comment from the White House or a member of the administration aimed at undermining the Prime Minister. I admire him more than even before, to go through all these nasty political attacks (some of them behind the scenes from senior White House officials).

“To be able to control himself and to deliver the kind of speech that he delivered, God was clearly with him that day.”

Arutz Sheva asked Mr. Hikind if the Democratic boycott of the speech, particularly by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, were indicative of recent surveys of American public opinion that found a gap in how white Americans received Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge and how non-whites saw them (50% of whites approved of Israel’s war effort as opposed to 25% of non-whites). The Assemblyman felt that the issue was more about loyalty to the President than opposition to the Prime Minister.

“I think the Congressional Black Caucus has a particular loyalty to this President. Many members of Congress who are black did attend. They were there. Even Charlie Rangel, who made a big deal about not attending, ended up going to listen to the speech,” he noted.

Shifting from discussion of any impact on Israel’s relations with African Americans, the Assemblyman has a particular point about Jewish reception of the speech. He was more alarmed by what he thinks was a politicization of Jewish Democrats’ identity in order to undermine Netanyahu’s position as a leader of the global Jewish community.

“Suddenly their Jewishness was used to emphasize a message like, ‘See, these Jews are not going.’ Suddenly they were no longer members of Congress. They were Jewish members of Congress (emphasis his own).”

“The only people who feel he was not successful are people who have an ulterior motive.”

Despite the tremendous focus on Democratic boycotts of the speech, Hikind was surprised more by the extreme reaction of his political opponents on his speech. He hoped that Israelis could unite in the future on issues of mutual concern.

“Herzog and Livni know what Iran represents. But to be so negative, they are playing into the hands in the enemy. To throw mud at the Prime Minister and to play down the threat (of Iran) is just so sad to watch on an issue that is so critical.”

“That’s what bothers me more than anything else.”