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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Aluf Benn almost gets one right

Haaretz uber-leftist Aluf Benn almost gets it right in an op-ed in Tuesday's New York Times.
This policy of ignoring Israel carries a price. Though Mr. Obama has succeeded in prodding Mr. Netanyahu to accept the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, he has failed to induce Israel to impose a freeze on settlements. In fact, he has failed even to stir debate about the merits of one: no Israeli political figure has stood up to Mr. Netanyahu and begged him to support Mr. Obama; not even the Israeli left, desperate for a new agenda, has adopted Mr. Obama as its icon.

As a result, Mr. Netanyahu enjoys a virtual domestic consensus over his rejection of the settlement freeze. Moreover, he has succeeded in portraying Mr. Obama as a shaky ally. In Mr. Netanyahu’s narrative, the president has fallen under the influence of top aides — in this case Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod — whom the prime minister has called “self-hating Jews.” Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu is the defender of national glory in face of unfair pressure, someone who sticks to the first commandment of Israeli culture: thou shalt never be the freier (that is, the dupe).

So far, Israelis have embraced Mr. Netanyahu’s message. A Jerusalem Post poll of Israeli Jews last month indicated that only 6 percent of those surveyed considered the Obama administration to be pro-Israel, while 50 percent said that its policies are more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli. Less scientifically: Israeli rightists have — in columns, articles and public statements — taken to calling the president by his middle name, Hussein, as proof of his pro-Arab tendencies.

What went wrong? Several explanations come to mind.
Benn goes on to give four explanations for Obama's behavior, each of which is plausible.

In the end, however, it won't make a difference. Even if Obama speaks to Israelis now, it won't help matters. Most of us just won't believe him. He's been lying for too long.

Read the whole thing.


At 10:31 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Haim Oron and Meretz have backed Obama... but they're bit players on the Israeli political scene. They're as representative of Israeli Jewish public opinion as the Hadash Communists.


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