OPINION: What President Obama can learn from David Cameron

OPINION: What President Obama can learn from David Cameron

David Cameron with Barack Obama at the White House.
David Cameron with Barack Obama at the White House.

By Dovid Efune

Late on Monday afternoon, as the sun cast shadows on the rolling Hebron Hills, it was revealed that missing Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel had been slain by Arab terrorists.

Dovid Efune
Dovid Efune

It was perhaps the worst possible outcome to the heart-wrenching saga that gripped Israel and her friends around the world since the boys disappeared on 12 June. World leaders were quick to express solidarity with the state of Israel and the victims’ families.

But while generally the United States is viewed as Israel’s greatest friend, it was British Prime Minister David Cameron’s response to the news that stood head and shoulders above most others – particularly that of President Barack Obama.

Their comments started out more or less the same.

Obama began: “On behalf of the American people I extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel – who held Israeli and American citizenship.”

Cameron said: “I am deeply saddened by the news that the bodies of the three Israeli boys kidnapped on 12 June have been found this evening.”

Obama continued: “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”Cameron then said: “This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers.

And at that point they parted ways. Obama issued a directive: “I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilise the situation.”

Cameron, on the other hand, declared: “Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.”So who exactly was Obama addressing when he called for restraintWas he calling on Hamas, the terror group that has already done its worst?

Of course not. Make no mistake, his words were directed at Israel.

But here Israel is the seriously aggrieved party and – at the time of writing – the country’s security cabinet is still weighing options for its response.

Israeli officials are already speculating that it may come in the form of a Gaza operation on the scale of 2012’s Pillar of Defence.
One thing that security officials all agree on is that Israel must respond and must do so decisively if it is to re-establish its deterrence, secure its citizens and keep Hamas in check.

Cameron’s words reflect a far better understanding of Israel’s needs at this time. The democratically-elected government of the Jewish state is entitled to weigh up and execute whatever response it sees fit.

Israel needs to know that its allies will stand by it unflinchingly as it takes the steps needed to secure the future safety and wellbeing of its citizens. And that is precisely what Cameron promises.

I can’t say what is behind Cameron’s commendable position, or even if it is deliberate.

Has the rampant carnage wrought by ISIS in Iraq after gains hard earned with the blood of British troops finally led Downing Street to a newfound appreciation for the Islamist challenges that Israel faces?

Has Britain come to appreciate that the proponents of the Caliphate – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah – are all sides of the same coin?

Whatever the case, credit is due where credit is due.

Thank you David Cameron.

Mr Obama, please pay attention.

Dovid Efune is editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF. He is based in New York. Email: defune@gjcf.com

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