Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama's Got it Wrong

While I was prancing around the US last week, not reading any of my usual time-sinks, life went on. So today I saw this item by Barry Rubin which called my attention to this article from last week by Aluf Benn.

I suppose you might perhaps classify Rubin as right-of-center; not Benn, writing in Haaretz. No way. Which is why his analysis of all the things wrong with Obama's current "settlements must stop" policy is so interesting and compelling. Benn is not merely describing. He's describing and agreeing.
The administration's pathetic attempt to deny the existence of understandings with Israel on construction in the settlements only bolstered this impression. It was possible to blame Israel for violating its promises, or to say that the policy had changed and to explain why, but not to lie.
I'm of the camp willing to cut the Obama administration some slack on their diplomacy of winning hearts by respectful gestures. I doubt it will work, and I hope that once it doesn't they'll recognize the significance of the failure, but I don't see the harm in trying. Learning through experience is the best way there is. At the end of the day, however, the purpose of the new diplomacy is to have results. By alienating the large segment of Israeli society who are his natural allies, Obama is needlessly reducing the chances of his own success.

The purely anecdotal evidence I came across in the States last week was that it's not only Israel's Left he's alienating. A number of American Jews who voted for him told me they're uncomfortable with what he's doing. Or, as one of them said, "I wonder if Rahm Emanuel has different positions than I thought he had". Regarding America, this is purely anecdotal, at this stage. Regarding Israel, perhaps not.


Anonymous said...

Why is it that International experiments are done at Israel's expense are beyond me ------ ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, now I get it.

Yaacov said...

Maybe it's a corollary to Bensky's corollary to Everything :~)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links to these interesting articles.

Seems to me Barry Rubin is at least as smart as Aluf Benn.


Dimitry Papkov said...

Barry Rubin is indeed right of center, but he is a very good analyst. He has a blog
It's pretty good.

Hulkette said...

Yaacov, don't fall for Alex Bensky's corollary claim. It's The Exception Clause--just add "Except for Jews" to about every rule, and you've got it.

Alex may be one of my oldest and most frequent commenters, but I won't give up on this particular topic. :-)