Obama: 'I Have Met Israel and It Is "Us"'
So complete was Obama’s identification with Israel yesterday that he actually referred to Israel as “us” before correcting himself:
By “its size,” did Obama mean Israel’s overwhelming military superiority? By “its history,” did he mean Israel’s usurpation of Arab lands and forty-three-year-long occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem? By “the region that it’s in,” did he mean the Arab and Muslim world, the region with which Obama wants to rebuild US relations? No: Obama was echoing Israeli talking points: that Israel is a tiny, besieged nation that made democracy flourish and the deserts bloom post-Holocaust, surrounded by scimitar-waving crazies.
Dana Milbank, writing in the Washington Post, characterized the Obama-Netanyahu meeting aptly:
But really, it was more about saving the fall elections, or at least that’s how it seemed. Not that American Jewish voters are going to flock to the Republicans, since they vote reliably Democratic, and more and more American Jews seem to care less and less about Israel. But, of course, crazed evangelical, right-wing Christian Republicans do care about Israel, if only because they hope it will be destroyed during the battle of Armageddon. And they vote.
As the Times pointed out:
The Times account doesn’t mention that it’s not Jews but Christians who are being courted by the GOP, as usual.
Meanwhile, Obama has all but abandoned the promising start that he got by naming George Mitchell as Middle East mediator on his first day in office, by salting the White House national security staff with Jewish peaceniks, by naming General Jones as national security adviser and by confronting Israel over its settlements policy. He’s backed all the way down now. It’s not too late to recover, but where is the sign that Obama intends to do anything but facilitate talks between the Netanyahu’s extremist government and the weak Palestinians?
As Obama himself said, yesterday:
Sadly, he’s right.