For Israel: Limits of U.S. Friendship

For Israel: Limits of U.S. Friendship

Really, they couldn’t have been nicer. Two very important men, engaged in a uniquely public job interview for the position of leader of the free world, and they went out of their way, both of them, to tell us how much they care about us.


We’re a tiny outpost of life-affirming freedom and democracy thousands of miles away, there are fewer than eight million of us, and yet both these gents used a lot of their precious TV time to assure us they “have our back.”


Essentially, they argued about who loves us more. President Barack Obama began talking up Israel as America’s best ally just a few minutes into Monday night’s debate, and then quickly dropped in a second reference, in the context of Syria and Israel’s concerns about what was unfolding there. From there on, it was clear we were in for a starring role.


Republican challenger Mitt Romney reserved some of his most resonant soundbites for us, lamenting the president’s “apology tour” of the region, in which “you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.”


Obama was ready for that one, sniping at Romney that, when he had visited, as a candidate in 2008, he went to Yad Vashem, “to remind myself [of] the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.” The governor, recalled Obama by contrast, took donors on his Israel trip earlier this summer and used some of his time here for a fundraiser.

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