One school of thought holds that Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton escalated their reaction to the Biden insult in order to make Mr Netanyahu abandon his rightist allies and tread the American path to peace; some say the president was waiting for a chance to destabilise him to force his replacement by someone more emollient. A rival theory is that there is no plan: Ramat Shlomo simply ignited the rage that has smouldered in Mr Obama’s breast since Mr Netanyahu refused his call last year for a total freeze on settlements, forcing Mr Mitchell to waste nearly a year niggling for a temporary compromise.Forgive me if I've gotten my narratives mixed here, but wasn't unflappability one of the many things that had people so swooning about Obama? He's never ruffled, the gushing pundits told us, a rational fellow who stands above the weaknesses of mere mortals who are controlled by their emotions, their prejudices and their animosities.
So were they wrong? Or were they right, but there's something uniquely aggravating about Jews living in their homeland which makes otherwise stoic Obama lose his cool? Wouldn't that be odd?
The report then concludes with this parting shot:
In testimony to a Senate committee this week, General David Petraeus, hero of Iraq and America’s commander in the wider Middle East, said the unsolved conflict in Palestine was fomenting anti-Americanism in the wider region. An obvious point, perhaps; but yet another reason why the love is draining out of a special relationship.Set aside the question as to the love which is or isn't draining. The fundamental point is the contention that since the "wider region" (the Muslim world, perhaps?) isn't willing to live with a Jewish state, America's interests would best be served by jettisoning Israel. Now I know that's not what Petraeus said, but it is a logical oversimplification of what he reportedly did say. If the Muslims really really don't like having a Jewish state in their midst, perhaps America ought to try harder to mollify them.
Interesting, isn't it.