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Jewish Journal

Obama’s First 100 Days Offer Cause for Concern

By Matt Brooks, JTA

April 29, 2009 | 7:24 pm

As Americans examine the first 100 days of the Obama administration, it is important to make a candid assessment of the president’s actions so far. These first months are widely considered an indicator of the policies the president will pursue in the years to come. So what have we seen in the first 100 days of this presidency?As Iran continues to work feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons, the United States continues to pursue its policy of “engagement.”

North Korea launched a long-range missile. The next day, the administration announced drastic cuts in missile defense funding, including a halt to further deployment of Alaska-based interceptors designed to counter missiles from North Korea.

Our president, in a handshake seen around the world, embraced Hugo Chavez while Venezuelan Jews face virulent, government-sponsored harassment.

We have seen the president reverse the Bush administration’s policy of boycotting the U.N. Human Rights Council, the body that organized the Durban II conference against racism and that continuously focuses on condemning Israel and turning a blind eye to the genocide in Darfur and other human-rights abuses.

The Obama administration chose Charles “Chas” Freeman to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman is a long-standing apologist for the Saudi regime, a harsh and ideological critic of Israel, and a proud subscriber to the Walt/Mearsheimer “Israel Lobby” thesis. After a public outcry against Freeman taking such a sensitive security post, Freeman stepped down.

Many mainstream media outlets have reported on the growing “tension” between the Obama administration and the new Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Obama administration has asked Congress to relax sanctions against the terrorist group Hamas, so that if Hamas and Fatah ever come to share power in a Palestinian unity government, the United States can continue to send millions of dollars to the territories.

We have seen trillions and trillions of dollars allocated to bailouts and new government spending. The massive growth of government engendered by this spending, and the debt burden to our children and grandchildren, will haunt us for decades.

Our security agencies have been paralyzed by the double punch of released intelligence memos and vague threats to prosecute those who protected this country from harm in the previous administration.

Despite promises of “transparency” and “openness,” only one of the 11 bills signed by the president so far have been made available to the public for review before signing. (In fact, some of them weren’t actually reviewed by members of Congress before they were whisked up to the president’s desk.)

The president promised not to appoint lobbyists to his administration. He has appointed several, including former Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn to be deputy secretary of defense.

We have seen thousands of people across the country protest against the high taxes and unimaginable government spending proposed by this president. These “tea parties”—peaceful, truly grass-roots demonstrations of public opinion—were called “unhealthy” by senior White House adviser David Axelrod.

As Americans, we all want our president and our country to succeed in tough and challenging times. However, for those who care deeply about national security, the economy and other vital issues, these early days of the administration offer an opportunity to examine the president’s priorities and intentions that should not be missed.

While the president’s supporters will praise his actions in the first 100 days, many of the president’s actions have been cause for concern for American Jews. A balanced and honest review is in order.

Matt Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

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