Getting the last licks in before Bush leaves office? Check. Challenging Obama’s foreign policy to take a stand straight out on Middle East policy? Check. Joe Biden’s words ring out as loudly today as when he said them.

But how many times are the Israelis going to try the same tactics expecting different
results than have come to pass before? Fly meet screen.

The same goes for American leaders, specifically
Barack Obama, who will be challenged immediately upon entering the presidency
to put in place a message on the Middle East, testing his mettle on what it
means to change the course of U.S. foreign policy after Bush-Cheney. With AIPAC staring over his
shoulder, no doubt Obama’s initial reaction will be scrutinized.

Will the new president have
the courage to dust off the Neanderthal thinking of the likes of Marty Peretz
who is obviously intent on pushing the Likud line until we all implode on our
traditional myopia? From his latest rant on the Israeli strike against Hamas
in Gaza, Peretz
is exhibit A
for why the U.S. must demand more from both Israelis and Palestinians, but also American writers opining on American foreign policy in the Middle East.

… The government in Jerusalem had made it unmistakably clear that it would
no longer tolerate this fire power aimed at innocent civilian life. It had
been saying this for months to an increasingly skeptical and apprehensive,
not to say, restive public. And to Hamas which didn’t seem to care. Instead,
it threatened Israel by word and follow-up deeds that confirmed the recklessness
– as if confirmation was needed- of also this Palestinian “liberation”
movement, the last in the long line of terrorist revolutionaries acting in
the name of pathetic and blood-thirsty Palestine.

So at 11:30 on Saturday morning, according to both the Jerusalem Post and
Ha’aretz, as well as the New York Times, 50 fighter jets and attack helicopters
demolished some 40 to 50 sites in just about three minutes, maybe five. Message:
do not fuck with the Jews. At roughly noon, another 60 air-attack vehicles
went after other Hamas strategic positions. Israeli intelligence reported
225 people dead, mostly Hamas military leaders with some functionaries, besides,
and perhaps 400 wounded. The Palestinians announced 300 dead, probably as
a reflex in order to begin their whining about disproportionate Israeli acts
of war. And 600 wounded. […]

Glenn wastes no time in dressing Peretz down for his “uniquely despicable view” of the recent events.

Israel obviously learned nothing from their war with Lebanon. It’s not about
“very disproportionate, indeed,” contrary to Mr. Peretz’s whining.
It’s about Israel refusing to wake up and deal with the world condemnation,
because Israeli leaders evidently don’t get that Israel is no longer considered
a special case in the Middle East; a country given a pass on behavior for which
any other nation would receive condemnation, starting with the blockade of humanitarian
aid to the Palestinians, which left the people of Gaza in dire straights. Israel
is still viewing their place in the world as the little country who could, instead
of the military and political powerhouse it has become in the world. Israel
is no longer the fledgling democracy it once was and this is no longer the 20th
century. Israel’s right to exist and prosper is no longer in question, except
by the lunatic fanatics who now have the disrespect of the world.

Obama must get beyond people like Peretz, a minority, who continue to use the likes of Ahmadinejad to push a narrative against Israel that most in the world not only do not buy, but wholly reject. Obama’s ability to accomplish this feat will color whatever diplomatic outreach being planned for Tehran.

There is no doubt that Israel has the right to defend herself.

The same can be said for the Palestinians.

…and around we go continually reacting with no solution in sight.

But if you want to stop for a moment to review George W. Bush’s legacy and input into the current crisis, remember it was Bush who pushed elections that manifested the democratic elections that vaulted Hamas to power and leadership, something it’s clear they weren’t prepared to offer.

Where are the grown ups in the Middle East? Will it be President Obama, with and through
the leadership of staunchly pro Israel Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, someone who also believes in a Palestinian state? Can
the new Democratic administration triangulate their diplomatic and military
policy towards Israel and the Palestinians to exact a change? Or will Netanyahu coming back to power signal more of the same, especially with Obama getting lobby pressure from AIPAC out of the gate?

Mr. Peretz says “do not fuck with the Jews,” as Israelis
inspire a third intifada, while tons of bombs continue to explode killing Palestinians
by the dozens, as criticism and outrage towards Israel grows. What will be President Obama’s response? As Biden so frankly put it, “gird your loins.” It’s going to be rough from the jump.