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Obamnesia, Israel, and Trust

In the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel lists numerous instances of Obamnesia – reversals by the candidate currently running for re-election on grounds of trust. She did not include any reversals relating to Israel, perhaps because they are legendary by now.

In 2008, Obama made his “let me be clear” commitment to an undivided Jerusalem – and then walked away from it. These days he won’t even identify Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He committed himself to “defensible borders” for Israel; but once in office, one of his many attempted humiliations of Israel’s prime minister was to endorse the Palestinian position on borders – the day before the prime minister arrived to meet with him. Last month, he declined to find time in his schedule to meet with the prime minister on his trip to the United States. And by the way, other countries noticed that.

Near the top of any list of memorable moments of Obamnesia is this 2010 exchange with the prime minister, after the president had omitted Israel from the itineraries of his multiple trips to the region:

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: … I want to thank you, too, for the great hospitality you and the First Lady have shown Sara and me and our entire delegation.  And I think we have to redress the balance — you know, I’ve been coming here a lot.  It’s about time –

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I’m ready.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  — you and the First Lady came to Israel, sir.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We look forward to it.  Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Any time.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

The trip has yet to occur. It is not even in the glossy second-term agenda just issued by the president. Perhaps we should describe the “I’m ready” commitment – made more than two years ago – as a case of instantaneous Obamnesia; it was clear even at the time that he was not going to be visiting Israel. He rejected pleas to visit made by liberal Israeli commentators, by every Jewish Democrat in the House of Representatives, and by a group of friendly rabbis.

Having rejected so many suggestions that he visit; having disregarded so many opportunities to do so; and having ignored even a personal invitation from the head of state, it is obvious that this instance of Obamnesia is at a very late stage.


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