President Obama and the White House were content for a couple days to let it be known that the president did not consider a jihadist attack on a kosher market in France to be directed at Jews. The president’s jaw-dropping assertion had actually been made when the interview was pre-recorded some time ago. But neither he nor the White House, until a Twitter storm descended, realized he had said something remarkably stupid, and yet revealing. Both the State Department and White House spokespeople, after vigorously defending the president’s original remarks, late Tuesday eventually gave way and started to insist the president knew all along the motive of the kosher market killings was anti-Semitism. That’s about as believable as the notion the killing of four Jews in a kosher market was “random.” We now know what the president really thinks, and to many, it is horrifying.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with Defense Minister (unseen) at the defense ministry in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on August 2, 2014. Israel will continue its military campaign in the Gaza Strip for as long as needed and with as much force as necessary, Netanyahu said. (AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON/Getty Images)

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a longtime and staunch supporter of Israel, got it. “I am appalled that President Obama has chosen to deny the vicious anti-Semitic motivation of the attack on a kosher Jewish grocery in Paris on January 9th.  What he called a ‘random’  attack was obviously meant to kill Jews — which is precisely what happened,” he said in an email. “The individual victims may have been those unlucky enough to be in the grocery that day, but it was far from random. In Paris and throughout Europe, anti-Semitism is once again growing and constitutes a daily menace for many Jews.”  He summed up: “While there is no easy solution to this terrible problem, our response must begin with acknowledging exactly what’s going on– and that is the test Mr. Obama failed. It’s time to tell the truth.”

And that really is what is so disturbing about the whole incident. The president and a number of advisers were willing to convince themselves of an absurdity rather than recognize the horrible reality that Islamic terrorists want to kill Jews because they are Jews (and Christians because they are Christians). Unfortunately the thinking is part of a pattern; it’s a necessity if you want to maintain a foreign policy entirely at odds with reality.

Listen, convincing oneself that Jews were not the target of the kosher market attack is to be expected once you have said the Islamist State isn’t Islamist; once you’ve told Americans the Islamic State’s progress has been halted; once you have declared the reversal on the red line to be a triumph (and ignored Bashar al-Assad’s continued use of chemical weapons); once you’ve decided you can reach accommodation with the mullahs who have sworn to obliterate the Jewish state; and once you’ve decided the biggest problem is the Israeli prime minister wanting to talk to the American people and Congress. The latter might in fact be a problem for Obama, given that the prime minister is likely to shred the premises, assumptions and prevarications the president has adopted. Someone with a loud microphone and huge credibility is coming to tell Americans the president’s policies are dangerous and misguided. No wonder Obama is in a funk.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement (released while the president was under siege for his “random” comment), explaining his visit underscored the dilemma Israel faces: Just like the Jews of Europe, Israel is dealing with a president who won’t see the murderous ideology that targets Jews (and Christians and other Muslims), posing the threat that if the jihadists got their hands on WMD’s they would leap at the chance to  incinerate Israel and its inhabitants. Netanyahu wrote:

Disagreements over Israel’s security have occurred between prime ministers in Israel from the left and from the right and American presidents from both parties.

None of these disagreements led to a rupture in the relationship between Israel and the United States.

In fact, over time, our relationship grew stronger.

But we do have today a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran.

This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival.

This is a regime, Iran, that is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. It would be able, under this deal, to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs for the goal of our destruction.

This is not a personal disagreement between President Obama and me. I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields. Equally, I know that the President appreciates my responsibility, my foremost responsibility, to protect and defend the security of Israel.

I am going to the United States not because I seek a confrontation with the President, but because I must fulfill my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country.

I intend to speak about this issue before the March 24th deadline and I intend to speak in the US Congress because Congress might have an important role on a nuclear deal with Iran.

In other words, the president is clueless and it’s up to Israel to take the lead, rallying rational people in the West or, if need be, taking action on its own. It is an oft-repeated mantra born out of the Holocaust experience that Israel must be strong enough to defend itself since it can never rely for Jews’ survival on others. It’s why Netanyahu extends the offer for European Jews to seek refuge in Israel and why he must bring his message to the U.S.

In the same bizarre interview that set the fiasco in motion Obama repeated the falsehood he has told many times, namely that the Iranians’ religion prohibits them from getting a bomb. He is willing to accept at face a phony fatwa story but not the targeting of Jews. And all of this after the president has lectured us not to “get on our high horses” because of sins in the West’s past.

One suspects that at this point Obama’s desperation for a deal with Iran and obvious animosity toward Netanyahu — the leader of the country that dares to disturb his delusions and refuses to go quietly into the night — have overtaken the president. He struggles to downplay or dismiss reality and frankly no longer acts in rational ways. He threatens Congress, not Iran. He lashes out at Democrats and Republicans who agree with Israel that the president is giving too much away to Iran; he ignores Iran’s aggression in the Middle East. His view of events, interests and  nations is no longer reliable.

Netanyahu’s visit — which would be totally unnecessary were any other president in the White House  –and Perry’s insightful remarks speak to an unavoidable truth: The president’s judgment cannot be trusted. For that reason alone Congress must step forward to confront the common threat to Israel and the West. Obama simply is not going to do it in any serious fashion. Ever.