Friday, April 16, 2010

Israel & America

The relationship is one of the most enduring and important in the arena of international affairs, which impacts events and ideas far beyond the immediate interaction; and fortunately, it will survive—and perhaps even grow stronger—as a result of the unprecedented events of the past year, as noted in an article from Commentary Magazine.

An excerpt.

“The declaration this morning on the front page of the New York Times that the Obama administration has made an explicit shift in the U.S.-Israel relationship brings to mind words I published in COMMENTARY 10 months ago about the relationship between the United States and Israel in the Age of Obama: “There is no question that we have entered a new era, one that I expect will be characterized by tensions and unpleasantnesses of a kind unseen since the days when George H. W. Bush was president, James A. Baker III was secretary of state, and the hostility toward Israel oozed from both men like sweat from an intrepid colonial traveler’s brow as he journeyed across the Rub-al-Khali.”

“Prophetic? Perhaps, but if you wish to credit me with visionary foresight, I have to confess that the reports of President Obama’s conduct toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their deliberately unphotographed White House meeting in March still came as a cold shock to me. We still don’t know quite what happened, but it appears that the president came into the room with a list of unilateral demands, that he grew impatient with Netanyahu’s answers, and that he left unceremoniously by claiming he was going to have dinner with his wife and kids but that he would “be around” in case the prime minister “changed” his tune.

“Even if the meeting was only half as confrontational and chilly as the reports indicated, it would still represent a display of rudeness and high-handedness unprecedented in the annals of American diplomacy. But since the target of Obama’s startling behavior was Israel, something especially complicated was at work. The president’s conduct was so extreme that it would be unthinkable for him to act in such a fashion toward the leader of any other nation, friend or foe. Obama knows that Israel needs the United States so much it is in no position to complain—particularly since the president was supposedly still in a snit over the ham-handed revelation in Israel, in the midst of Vice President Biden’s March visit, of the construction of 1,600 new housing units in Jerusalem.”