Monthly Archives: July 2009
Having spent decades drumming home the idea that Israel is rooted squarely in the Holocaust experience, and should be viewed by the world as the state of the survivors, Israelis and some of their most fervent backers in the U.S. are suddenly insisting that this is a misleading, even hostile idea.
When the father of some well known footballer suddenly pops up in the media with a tale of how his son is unhappy at Club X and wants, instead, to go to Real Madrid, you can be sure that he’s saying the things the son can’t afford to say for fear of antagonizing his employers. So, when Ben-Zion Netanyahu tells Israeli TV that his son has no intention of actually implementing a two-state solution, and will evade having to do so by setting conditions impossible for the Palestinians to embrace, you know that Israel’s current government has no intention of seriously pursuing President Obama’s peace plan. Continue reading
Following a weekend of reports that Vice President Joe Biden’s comments on the possibility of Israel bombing Iran amounted to a “green light”, President Obama underscored on Tuesday that he had NOT given Israel any such “green light” and had instead told it to allow diplomacy to work. Biden, he said, had simply “stated a fact”, i.e. that Israel is a sovereign country that will make its own security decisions.
Unfortunately, Obama’s “sovereignty” argument is not good enough. Unless the White House declares loudly and clearly not only that it opposes any attack on Iran by Israel, but also that it will do whatever is in its power to prevent such an attack, the Obama Administration will be read as having made a plausibly-deniable but nonetheless real threat that Iran faces military action. The Great Sage of Statecraft, Dennis Ross (wait, what exactly are his achievements, again?) may think such ambiguity is devilishly clever, but it’s more likely to bring closer a war Obama obviously doesn’t want, helping him bring about through act and omission a strategic catastrophe that would dwarf Bush’s Iraq misadventure. Continue reading