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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Winning back Israeli trust

Writing at The New Republic, Yossi Klein HaLevi discusses the current crisis in US-Israel relations and gives six suggestions for things President Obumbler can do to resolve the crisis.
Are we in the early stages of an American-Israeli crisis? Or are the growing and public disagreements between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government over settlements and Jerusalem merely arguments "within the family," as President Obama insisted in his recent meeting with American Jewish leaders?

According to one poll, only six percent of Israelis consider Obama a friend. That perception of hostility is new. Israelis welcomed Barack Obama when he visited here in July 2008 and many responded enthusiastically to his election. But Israelis sense that Obama has placed the onus for restarting negotiations on Israel. Worse, he is perceived as showing weakness toward the world's bullies while acting resolutely only toward Israel. Many Israelis--and not only on the right--suspect that Obama actually wants a showdown with Jerusalem to bolster his standing in the Muslim world. If those perceptions aren't countered, the Israeli public will reject Obama's peace initiatives.

On the assumption that the pessimists among us are wrong and the Obama administration isn't seeking a pretext to create a crisis in American-Israeli relations, here are some suggestions for Washington about how to reassure increasingly anxious Israelis.
Klein HaLevi goes on to make his six suggestions. If Obama followed all of them, it might defuse tensions, even though we would still have substantive issues with the Obama administration. But of the six suggestions, there is seemingly no chance that the administration will follow suggestions 2 and 5, and it is unlikely that suggestions 1 or 6 will be followed either. I don't believe the President is capable of executing suggestion 4. That leaves suggestion 3 - actively confronting demonization of Israel - as the only suggestion likely to be taken. And even that would likely be done by Secretary of State Clinton (who, as a Senator, presented a report to the Senate on demonization of Israel in 'Palestinian' textbooks) and not by Obama.

In any event, like many Israelis, I believe Obama is seeking a confrontation with Israel.

But read the whole thing.


At 10:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Obama thinks Israel is a pushover. He's desperate for a foreign policy success. After six months, he hasn't made the US more respected around the globe. Winning back Israeli trust appears to be a tall order.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

A 7th thing to do would be to convert to Judaism. But that would hurt him with the French, British, Russians, Chinese, Muslims, etc...

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

no trust with Obama, never ever

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Did you get a chance to read the TNR talkbacks? I was shocked by the anti-Israel/anti-semitic vitriol.
I have had a subscription to the TNR for about 25years and remember it in its heyday in the 90's. While it was for many years a largely liberal(culturally) Jewish magazine,it had good dviersity of opinion. Back then they had liberals-Kinsley et al, moderates-Kaus, Kondracke, and conservatives-Krathhammer,Barnes, but Peretz/Kinsley did give its editorials a definite liberal bias - but an iconoclastic non apparatchik liberal bias.
While other liberal stalwarts like the NYT never met an abortionist or activist judge they didn't like, the pro-abortion TNR condemned Roe v. Wade as usurpation of the legislative process.
Another thing that kept me a subscriber - btw I also get the Standard and read it much more- was that it was the last of Pro-Isreal liberalism. something lost by the new generation of (likely intermarried) Jewish writers. Peretz' genertion of liberal,intermarried but zionist have passed on to intermarried (or the progeny of), liberal, pro-Obama and anti-Zionist.
I guarantee that many of the talkbackers are Jewish but anti-zionist. I likely will not continue the TNR subsription anymore. Besides it is bi-weekly unlike the Weekly Standard which still is weekly.


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