The Washington Post headline — “Experts question whether U.S. has a real Israel strategy or ‘talking points’” – suggests the disarray in the Obami’s approach and the general consternation that has greeted their bully-boyism directed at the Jewish state. Indeed, the Post can find no one but George Mitchell’s lackey Martin Indyk (more on him later) who agrees with Hillary Clinton’s obnoxious claim that the staged hissy fit with Israel is “paying off.” (And if it were bearing fruit, then we are back to amateur hour when Hillary announces as much, and on the Israel-hating BBC, of all places). Elliott Abrams dryly notes: “It has made life harder and has made negotiations harder for the Israelis and the Palestinians.” Certainly taunting one side in public has that effect.
We are now in a fencing match. Hillary demands some concessions; Bibi tries to serve up some small gesture or soothing platitude so Hillary and company can climb down off the roof on which they have perched themselves to impress their Palestinian friends. But all we have to show for this is Palestinian stone-throwing, a dead Thai worker, a strained but not yet broken relationship with Israel, and further reason for Palestinians to do what they do best — play victim and demand unilateral concessions.
But nothing is more telling than the comments of Indyk, an adviser to Mitchell, who presumably channels the Obami’s thinking:
Martin S. Indyk, vice president for foreign studies at the Brookings Institution and an adviser to Mitchell, said the administration in the past 10 days has made the Israeli government “supersensitive” to the issue of Jerusalem. He praised the administration for not revealing its demands and said U.S. officials adroitly turned down the heat as quickly as they turned it up.
“I think they handled it quite well,” he said.
Supersensitive about their eternal capital? Well, that’s one way — a particularly nasty and undiplomatic way – to express it but also a telling admission of how the administration picked a fight on the one issue that unites Israelis and that no government could, short of a final-status deal, compromise on housing. And his boast of adroitness — does that include the BBC bragging? The onslaught of condemnations? And three cheers, Indyk is leading, for the attempt to wring out of our ally even more concessions!
You see the problem: the members of this crew are high-fiving themselves for continuing, albeit in quieter tones, the same losing strategy they’ve been pursuing from the get-go. So do they have a real strategy? Definitely — the most counterproductive and dangerous one imaginable.