Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Has Obama Already Talked to Us?

Jeffrey Goldberg took Aluf Benn's Op-Ed (which I linked to earlier today) and asked some folks at the White House if perhaps their boss ought indeed to talk to the Israelis. No, they told him, because he already has. The Cairo speech was directed also at the Israelis; the president strongly emphasized America's committment to Israel, condemned terrorism and so on.

This is true, but not relevant; indeed, if Goldberg is quoting accurately, the White House response merely underlines the problem:
I spoke to two senior administration officials who seemed to feel fairly
strongly that Benn doesn't understand what the President is trying to do.

One of the things Obama needs to address is our growing conviction that in his arrogance he underestimates our intelligence. He preaches that we need to rethink our positions while demonstrating very little understanding of the complexities we've long since worked through; he assures us public bilateral agreements made a mere four years ago never happened; he seems incapable of distinguishing between settlements even when the Palestinians have already recognised such distinctions, and his position is empowering them to renounce positions they've already accepted.

Aluf Benn, as I've said in the past, is a lefty journalist at Haaretz, a staunchly left-leaning newspaper. He has been criticizing Obama's methods of dealing with Israel, while explaining how most left-leaning Israelis think the same. If the best Obama's aides can say in response is that he doesn't understand the intricacy their boss is applying, I think they've demonstrated how Benn has got it right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whether Obama will talk to Israelis or not will not make any difference according to ...

As far as I can tell Richard Cohen is more center-left than center-right and generally more inclined to be pro-Obama

"A review of the record showed that the president usually said nothing or nearly so, and indeed things have gotten to the point that when I see Obama on TV"