Friday, September 24, 2010

Interpreting Israel from America

Laura Rozen in Washington speculates why the Israeli delegation didn't show up to listen to Obama's UN speech today. True, she says, it's Sukkot, and the Israelis told the White House in advance that they'd not be there, but that can't be serious. There's got to be another reason- so she goes speculating.

Perhaps. It might however be worth noting that no Israeli politician who wishes to be re-elected can be seen to disregard the Jewish holidays. Offhand, I cannot think of a single case of diplomacy on Jewish holidays for decades. (Perhaps prior to the election of Menachem Begin in 1977, but I wouldn't vouch even for that). I realize this seems parochial: observing an ancient holiday rather than listening to a speech by the President of theUnited States of America, but there it is.


NormanF said...

There's nothing parochial about showing respect for your country's traditions.

By the way in his UN address, Obama effusively praised Abu Bluff but never cited one thing he did for peace. He called again on Israel to make another unilateral concession without getting anything in exchange for it.

Barry Rubin, after listening to the speech, commented this is the first American President with a distinctly non-American view of the world.

Bryan said...

Yes, well, the American people sure learned quick that we much prefer a president with an American view of the world, haven't we?

It'll be put to the test in November, but Obama's ratings have always declined. Everyone--even some Democrats--is distancing him- or herself from his policies. He's being compared to Carter, which is a death sentence for any president.

As for the peace talks, I just hope Bibi refuses to give anything up before this farcical illusion of talks fails. Why Bibi even agreed to meet with Abbas when Abbas doesn't even control half of the people he claims to is evidence of how much pressure the rest of the world puts on Israel to put up with the "peace process" illusion, even when conditions are a perfect storm for accomplishing nothing.

Empress Trudy said...

Obama is in his element - making speeches at the UN. He's always been (marginally) more popular there than in the US. Why should the Israeli delegation worry about it?

Anonymous said...

"parochial?" or in synch with the Zeitgeist?
what if it would have been end of Ramadan or whatever the equivalent and a Saudi-King had done it?
and in that recent book we all ululated about, wasn't there in the review an episode at a White House Dinner with a white lie to cover up for kosher food? (in synch with the then Zeitgeist of Washington?)

also leaving all religion aside, I think it was smart not to sit their and listen to getting admonished, if religion hadn't come in handy I would have recommended a case of dysentery or similar.

So the headline of the Telegraph is true? Obama called again on Israel "to take risks"?

Doesn't he realize how much of a loss of face that is for the US?

One doesn't show respect to an opponent by extending hands and humouring them. One shows respect by demanding of the "other" that he behaves. Also by caving like that the US is abandoning exactly those people she is trying to reach out to.

Let's say I were a "moderate" muslim eager for my country to emulate the success of the Asian Tigers.
Wouldn't I feel abandoned, if I saw the most powerful man in the world bow to the autocrats?

What would I have felt when the world came to Berlin in 1936 and thus told me that Hitler wasn't as detestable as some of my friends claimed he was? Even if it might not have bent me in his direction wouldn't I have felt quite confused?

One may treat an opponent with respect and still be stern, as every boss on any level in the hierarchy and/or teacher worth their title prove day in day out


peterthehungarian said...

Speaking about Zeitgeist: Ms. Rozen is an ignorant a....le with some minimal literary skills - today this type of person is called a jounalist.

Anonymous said...

Rozen tries to show something more meaningful is going on by pointing out that Peres, Barak and Ayalon made appearances in NYC over the weekend and early this week. But Sukkot only started Wednesday evening. Not a valid point.

Also, doesn't she have any contacts in Israel she could ask about the Consulate's explanation? I know, picking up the phone is so twentieth century.


Anonymous said...

Reuel Marc Gerecht is interpreting Iran or rather its leadership form afar and alas it sounds plausible to me - Silke

There’s one thing for certain. Ahmadinejad’s loquacity in New York tells us a lot about him and his boss. They sense that they have the upper-hand. And the two men—in so many ways psychological opposites—are accomplished predators. They’re probably not wrong.

Why Ahmadinejad Acts the Way He Does at the U.N.

Reuel Marc Gerecht