Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Did Obama 'Abandon Israel'?

Michael Oren, the former Israeli Ambassador to Washington, made news last week—as well he might, since he’s publishing a book. Yesterday marked the release of a memoir of his years representing Benjamin Netanyahu, which he summed up in last Monday’s Wall Street Journal, in an article titled “How Obama Abandoned Israel.” The article included this pungent line: “While neither leader monopolized mistakes, only one leader made them deliberately.” The leader in question, of course, is President Barack Obama. From the moment the President took office, Netanyahu’s envoy saw him as promoting “an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran.”

Oren doesn’t bother explaining what’s wrong with an American President pursuing an agenda of this kind. He insists, implausibly, that it “would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader.” He also doesn’t explain how a mistake can be made “deliberately,” which seems oxymoronic, something like a “planned accident.” But Oren’s formulation is no less quotable for being imprecise. It is obviously meant to achieve the same response as Mitt Romney’s statement that the President had “thrown allies like Israel under a bus.” For America’s “friends of Israel,” especially organized American Jews, putting “deliberately” and “abandoned” on the same page is enough. The juxtaposition bypasses the brain, going straight to the solar plexus.

Read on at The New Yorker