Democratic operatives have denied that President Obama’s controversial remarks on Israel will hurt him with pro-Israel voters, but the president’s own actions suggest that he is indeed worried about the fallout.
Earlier, I wrote about Rahm Emanuel’s politically-calculated defense of Obama’s “commitment to Israel” in the Washington Post. And now it appears that the White House has also launched a new section on its website, defending the president’s Israel record.
The website, headlined “President Obama: Advancing Israel’s Security and Supporting Peace,” reiterates the president’s call for a negotiation based on the “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” But it does not say that the U.S. will support Israel’s imperative to incorporate heavily-populated Israel settlements across the green line into its future borders, and he says nothing about the existential threat of the Palestinian “right of return.” He also didn’t comment on the impending Hamas-Fatah unity government.
The website does show that Democrats are concerned about the impact the Israel issue will have on the 2012 election. We’ve already known this to some extent, especially after DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that it should be off-limits to criticize politicians on their Israel policy. It’s also the clearest admission we’ve seen from the White House that it completely bungled Netanyahu’s visit, and now has to backpedal in order to clean up the mess.