Maybe it's not a good time for an Obama visit to Israel, after all
05/30/2011 - 08:03
James Besser

An interesting item yesterday by Jerusalem Post blogger Shmuel Rosner, who  analyzes some of the wreckage of last week's Netanyahu-Obama meeting.

Shmuel takes on the conventional wisdom that President Obama is making a big mistake by not visiting Israel and taking his case for a revived peace process directly to the people. (Before his AIPAC speech last week, speculation was running at flood tide that he would use the occasion to announce his first official visit to the Jewish state. He didn't.)

Citing the President's overwhelmingly negative poll ratings in Israel – and Netanyahu's popularity surge in the wake of last week's Washington meetings and speeches - he writes that it's a “good thing that Obama didn't say he was coming to Israel for a visit. I don't think the time is right, I didn't think this was good idea to begin with.”

He didn't spell out the reasons, but it's not hard to figure it out: the negative impact of a bad reception by the Israeli public and a confrontation with Bibi on his home turf would far outweigh any good that might come of it.

To which I'd add one additional point: Israelis, at least in my experience, intensely dislike being lectured to. And President Obama has a hard time talking about serious issues without sounding like a college professor scolding a bunch of not-too-bright students.

It seems to me that the time for Obama to speak directly to the Israeli people is when he has something new to say.

And right now I just don't see that; lecturing about demography and democracy and warning that time is running out just won't cut it in the absence of some new U.S. ideas about how to break out of the deepening stalemate and a new commitment to intensive, sustained diplomacy.

With U.S. elections just around the corner and with more obstacles than ever to peace process progress in the region, I just don't see any of that happening. So maybe it's better for Obama to confine his travels to other parts of the world.
 

Comments

He can visit Israel he just chose not to. BTW Ireland is probably the most anti Israel country in Europe they sent condolences to Germany upon Hitlers death.They also wouldn't recognize Israel until the Vatican did.And their hatred of Israel is based their collaboration [The IRA] with Qaddafi and the PLO.When you speak of Ireland you speak of the Catholicsof the Republic of Ireland not the Protestants in the North.

[quote]And right now I just don't see that; lecturing about demography and democracy and warning that time is running out just won't cut it [/quote]
Fine then. Wait for the tide to surprise you.

It's a sad statement that President Obama is embraced in Ireland and gets a fine reception with our other allies (UK, France, etc.) but can't visit the country where we send billions of dollars in aid every year. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin who is a joke in this country and everywhere else in the world gets a royal reception in Israel.

It's all about who kisses the Netanyahu ring.

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