Noah, if you recall, the administration quite candidly announced its intention to “put daylight” between Israel and the U.S. This was under the guise of gaining credibility as an impartial arbitrator, an honest broker, as they say. That, in and of itself, is problematic, given the U.S. historic relationship with the Jewish state. But frankly, even moral equivalence would be an improvement over what we have now. The Obama policy seems to see the U.S. not as an honest broker but an advocate for the Palestinians — taking up their rhetoric, their fractured view of history, and their excuses for failing to recognize the Jewish state.
It will be interesting to see how lawmakers react. The reviews from the weekend have been negative. But this may also become an issue for the campaign. A spokesman for Marco Rubio e-mails me, “Mr. Rubio believes that, by making unilateral demands on the Israeli government regarding settlements, the White House took away Israel’s leverage and has sent a message that America is not as committed to Israel as it once had been.” We’ll see if other candidates and office holders take that view as well. In the public at large and among members of Congress, there is, I would suggest, little stomach for bullying our democratic ally. On this, Obama may find himself with few defenders and many chagrined Democrats trying to figure out why, with so much on their plate, the Obami have decided to pick a fight with an ally so beloved by the American people.