Notwithstanding Ed Koch’s reputation for candor, I didn’t believe my eyes when I read that Koch said he knew President Obama would “renege” on his support of Israel. Koch said his only shock was that it happened so soon, citing Obama’s nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary, according to The Algemeiner newspaper.
Is it true? Did Koch really say that?
“I did say it,” he told me Tuesday, adding he was making a point about why he had endorsed Obama, despite such misgivings.
“People don’t really change when you get to his age,” the former mayor said of Obama. “So I had no doubt that with the course of time, his new strength would weaken.”
Still, he insists, “I don’t regret supporting him. I believe it bought time . . . I’m just sorry it was so short-lived.”
Now it was my turn to be shocked. Not over the fact that Koch thinks Hagel is a disaster for America and Israel. I agree. Rather, I’m shocked that Koch is shocked at Obama.
How could he not see that the betrayal would be instant?
Except during his two campaigns, Obama consistently tilted away from Israel and toward its enemies. His uncertain policy toward Iran, which has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, has unnerved many Israelis and Americans, and his antagonistic attitude toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sealed the impression of hostility.
Koch is no stranger to Obama’s history, but takes a more pragmatic view, one leavened by the president’s personal charm in a private meeting they had.
“He’s not anti-Semitic, he’s not anti-Israel,” Koch told me. “He has a philosophy of getting Islamic nations close to the US, even if it means creating tension with Israel.”
He believed Obama would win re-election and that support would earn his views a hearing. He also credits Obama for rejecting full Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, and for helping Israel during its fight with Hamas.
“He stood like an oak in support of Israel,” Koch declares.
Or maybe that was the price Obama had to pay for support in the campaign. My view is that, now that he’s got four more years, with about 65 percent of the Jewish vote, Obama’s free to stop pretending—and to nominate Hagel.
Obama didn’t pick him despite Hagel’s dovish views on Iran, hawkish views against Israel and eagerness to cut our military. He picked Hagel because of those views.
Remember what Obama told the Russians — he would have “more flexibility” once he never again had to answer to voters. Well, welcome to the Mideast Reset.
Similarly, Obama’s choice of John Brennan to head the CIA isn’t a clumsy breach of liberal faith. The Bush administration’s use of water boarding on three murderous detainees was deemed torture by Obama, and Brennan, who was part of the Bush team, got his job in the Obama White House by claiming he had opposed water boarding.
Whatever the truth, under Obama, Brennan blessed the drone killing of hundreds of foreign fighters. So, he went from fake drowning to fatal droning, and is now considered Grade A to leftists who called Bush a Nazi.
It’s all part of the Obama double standard, where down is up — if he says so.
Elections have consequences, none more than this one. With Obama free from voter accountability and blessed with weak and divided opponents, America better be prepared for even more radical policies, sweetened with semantic fakery.
Take his priceless introduction of Hagel. “Chuck represents the bipartisan tradition that we need more of in Washington,” Obama said. That sounds like one thing but means another, because Obama’s definition of bipartisanship is when Republicans agree 100 percent with him.
Hagel, by endorsing Obama in 2008, fits the definition. Ergo, he’s bipartisan and, by picking him, Obama is, too.
And both are friends of Israel.
Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.