Netanyahu to be let in through the front door of the White HouseWith 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President
"On behalf of the President I am happy to extend an invitation to visit President Obama in the White House for a working meeting to discuss our shared security interests, as well as our close co-operation in achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors," Emanuel told Netanyahu at the prime minister's Jerusalem office.Jennifer Rubin has this one right:
Emanuel's reference to "security interests" will be widely interpreted as an allusion to Iran, which the allies accuse of using a civilian nuclear program to mask designs on a bomb - a charge the Iranians deny.
In the run-up to the planned meeting between Netanyahu and Obama, Jewish leaders scrambled to set up meetings with members of senior U.S. officials and congressional leaders on America’s posiitions on both Israel and Iran.
Israeli sources said that Obama's snap decision to invite Netanyahu to Washington was an attempt to obliterate the memory of the two leaders' previous White House meeting in March, when reporters were barred and the White House did not release a joint photograph. The apparent contrast with Obama's warm and well-publicized meetings with Arab leaders in Washington was viewed in Israel as a deliberate snub.
Israeli officials expect the upcoming meeting will include a photograph of the two leaders in the Oval Office and perhaps even a joint press conference.
The officials said Obama was keen to meet Netanyahu before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Washington in a few weeks. Israel thinks the White House will use the photo opportunity to forestall claims from Jewish groups and from within the Congress that Obama has shown a pro-Palestinian bias, they said.
Netanyahu's visit to Washington will be tacked on to the end of Netanyahu's previously scheduled trip to Canada. The prime minister will on Thursday fly to Paris for a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which Israel was recently invited to join.
As a colleague wryly remarks: “Wow—the fundraising must really be in catastrophic condition.” Yes, one suspects that has a role in the “charm offensive.” Here’s the thing, though: for Obama to really repair the damage he has done, he’d have to make dramatic changes in policy (e.g., give a speech saying military force remains an option, give Israel the same pledge of full support he extended to South Korea, cease the demands for unilateral concessions from Israel, loudly condemn continuing instances of Palestinian incitement, block Iran’s participation in UN committees and commissions, walk out of the UN Human Rights Council). Or maybe he figures he can avoid any substantive change in policy and get back in the good graces of American Jewry. It may be a savvy calculation.I don't expect Obama to do any of those things on Jennifer's list. I believe Obama's trying to get off cheaply by putting on a show. Will it succeed? I doubt it will persuade many Israelis, but it will persuade the American Jews who aren't capable of voting for non-Democrats who are looking for excuses to stick with Obama.
I'd give Haim Saban credit for the fact that Obama is doing this. Unfortunately, it's insincere. And we can only hope and pray that Obama is gone in 2012, because if God forbid he's re-elected I'd say that Israel is in serious danger.