European and American perfidy in dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons program apparently has no end. This week we were subject to banner headlines announcing that the EU has decided to place an oil embargo on Iran. It was only when we got past the bombast that we discovered that the embargo is only set to come into force on July 1.
Following its European colleagues, the Obama administration announced it is also ratcheting up its sanctions against Iran... in two months. Sometime in late March, the US will begin sanctioning Iran's third largest bank.
At the same time as the Europeans and the Americans announced their phony sanctions, they reportedly dispatched their Turkish colleagues to Tehran to set up a new round of nuclear talks with the ayatollahs. If the past is any guide, we can expect for the Iranians to agree to sit down and talk just before the oil embargo is scheduled to be enforced. And the Europeans - with US support - will use the existence of talks to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the embargo.
There is nothing new in this game of fake sanctions. And what it shows more than anything is that the Europeans and the Americans are more concerned with pressuring Israel not to attack Iran's nuclear installations than they are in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Obama has a second target audience - American Jews. He is using his fake sanctions as a means of convincing American Jews that he is a pro-Israel president and that in the current election season, not only should they cast their votes in his favor, they should sign their checks for his campaign.
Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were quick this week to make clear that these moves are insufficient. They will not force Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. More is needed.
As to American Jewry, the jury is still out.
In truth, American Jewry's diffidence towards taking a stand on Iran, or recognizing Obama's dishonesty on this issue specifically and his dishonesty regarding his position on US-Israel ties generally is not rooted primarily in American Jews' devotion to Obama. It isn't even specifically related to American Jewry's devotion to the political Left. Rather it has to do with American Jewish ambivalence to Israel.
The roots of that ambivalence - which is shared by other Western Jewish communities to varying degrees - predate Obama's presidency.
Indeed, they predate the establishment of the State of Israel. And now, as the US and the EU have given Iran at least another six months to a year to develop its nuclear bombs unchecked, it is worth considering the nature and influence of this ambivalence.
Today's principal form of Jew-hatred is anti- Zionism. Anti-Zionism is similar to previous dominant forms of Jew hatred such as Christian anti-Judaism, xenophobic and racist anti- Semitism, and Communist anti-Jewish cosmopolitanism in the sense that it takes dominant, popular social trends and turns them against the Jews. Anti-Zionism's current predominance owes to the convergence of several popular social trends which include Western post-nationalism, and anti-colonialism.