Where's the Beef's Beef?
I challenge the increasingly marginal number of pundits, pols and bloggers who are blaming this incident on the Obama administration to explain to me exactly where and how Obama has changed U.S. policy on Israel in any material or substantive fashion.
Addressing the U.S.-Israel row, the Wall Street Journal writes:
Then again, this episode does fit Mr. Obama’s foreign policy pattern to date: Our enemies get courted; our friends get the squeeze. It has happened to Poland, the Czech Republic, Honduras and Colombia. Now it’s Israel’s turn.
Seriously, if I hear this argument one more time I'm going to lose my damn mind.
I challenge the increasingly marginal number of pundits, pols and bloggers who are blaming this incident on the Obama administration to explain to me exactly where and how Obama has changed U.S. policy on Israel in any material or substantive fashion. Joe Biden went over to Israel to make nice and say in no uncertain terms that "there is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel's security" against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The point of the trip was to provide conciliatory rhetoric to the already ample and obvious aid and support that the United States has allocated to Israel for FY2010.
But instead, Biden got sandbagged. Bibi either knew what was coming and anticipated the diplomatic kerfuffle for domestic political gain, or he didn't and demonstrated for all the world to see that he leads an unsteady government incapable of managing even its most precious and important alliance. Either way, the blame falls solely on Netanyahu. And as Tom Friedman, Walter Russell Mead and the Jerusalem Post editorial board all noted, this move made the Israeli government look completely incoherent and incompetent. That this is something coalition saboteurs have engineered in the past should be irrelevant. As Martin Indyk pointed out, never before has it been done to such a high ranking American official, and never, I would assume, to an American public official with a legislative record so staunchly pro-Israel as Biden's.
This was in fact a direct shot at Israel's staunchest ally, during a visit from one of its most ardent supporters. Yet, for some reason which clearly escapes me, there is a faction - albeit a tiny one - pinning blame for the fallout on the Obama administration. Worse yet, this same faction for the most part believes that this event is somehow consistent with a record of disinterest or hostility toward a nation that hasn't had any aid guarantees seriously challenged since 2005, while President Bush was still in office.
Simply mind boggling.
Once again, I must ask: where is the substance?