Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now. Why is that so difficult for Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies to understand? – The Tsuris, by John Heilemann
For those who don’t have the time to look it up, “tsuris” means trouble, which for Heilemann goes very well with his alliteration “tsunami of tsuris,” while invoking Pres. Obama’s 1967 border policy. Remembering also that it came “with land swaps,” mimicking everything that’s come before.
Obama was furious with Netanyahu, who in choosing to ignore the crucial qualifier about land swaps had twisted Obama’s words beyond recognition—the kind of mendacious misinterpretation that makes the presidential mental. The seniormost members of Obama’s team felt much the same. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, Bill Daley, the former Mideast-peace envoy George Mitchell: All were apoplectic with the prime minister, whose behavior over the past two years had already tried their patience. “The collective view here is that he is a small-minded, fairly craven politician,” says an administration source deeply involved in its efforts to push the parties to the negotiating table. “And one who simply isn’t serious about making peace.”
I wrote well over a year ago that Israel would be a 2012 election year issue, which NY9 proved it can be in certain areas, among a minority of Jewish voters.
As for PM Netanyahu, Thomas Friedman said it very well yesterday:
O.K., Mr. Netanyahu has a strategy: Do nothing vis-à-vis the Palestinians or Turkey that will require him to go against his base, compromise his ideology or antagonize his key coalition partner, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an extreme right-winger. Then, call on the U.S. to stop Iran’s nuclear program and help Israel out of every pickle, but make sure that President Obama can’t ask for anything in return — like halting Israeli settlements — by mobilizing Republicans in Congress to box in Obama and by encouraging Jewish leaders to suggest that Obama is hostile to Israel and is losing the Jewish vote. And meanwhile, get the Israel lobby to hammer anyone in the administration or Congress who says aloud that maybe Bibi has made some mistakes, not just Barack. There, who says Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t have a strategy?
Meanwhile, former PM Tony Blair is the one trying to head off catastrophe and convinced Mahmoud Abbas that the vote for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. is a colossal mistake. So far it’s not going very well.
“I gulped,” Mr Shaath said. “This was the statement that was supposed to persuade President Abbas not to go? Mr. Blair doesn’t sound like a neutral interlocutor. He sounds like an Israeli diplomat sometimes.” – Palestinian statehood bid: Tony Blair ‘like an Israeli diplomat’