Ian Williams, you understand, is deeply disappointed that Obama may not be of one mind with the Guardian community when it comes to Israel. Many commentors on his post agree, predictably.
So there we were, thinking that the country had come of age at last, finally putting truth in the rumours about liberty and equality first spread by a group of slave-owners some ten-score and thirty years ago. Obama's securing of the nomination alone underscores how much the country has changed in the 20 years I have been here.
However, I am glad that I kept some reservations about the idea of Obama taking us to the New Jerusalem. Not least since he was busy giving away the old one to those who stole it.
Actually, there's a limit to how much significance one ought to attach to a speech given by a politician at an AIPAC conference, just as one ought to take any speech before a focussed interest group with a bit of salt. The part of the speech that I found interesting was Obama's story about first encountering the story of Zionism when he was 11, and how it fit into his own understanding of the world: his life had until then been rather rootless, and here was a story about the strength of roots. It is this deep and fundamental understanding of the essence of Zionism which differentiates so sharply between most Americans, and much of the rest of the world. And, yes, in my mind there is a connection between that and the fact that antisemitism has always been weaker in America than in Europe.
(A methodological comment: When I tag things with the "Antisemitism" tag, I'm not necessarily saying that's what it is. I'm collecting footnotes for a future bit of research I may some day find the time for, about who is and who isn't an antisemite, and how to tell. And here's another Guardian gem, titled Critical Thinking, no less).