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June 12, 2010
Is Obama waiting for a change in Israeli leadership?
In her acceptance speech at the 2008 Republican convention, Governor Sarah Palin urged the public to view news media coverage with a skeptical eye since, as she put it, some journalists simply "make stuff up."
Journalist Peter Beinart, who has migrated of late to the blame-Israel-first crowd, provided further evidence this week of the truth of Gov. Palin's assertion.
Beinart, it will be recalled, most recently stirred controversy with a vapid essay claiming Israeli policies are the cause of large numbers of young American Jews supposedly feeling alienated from the Jewish State.
Now, in his June 7 blog at The Daily Beast Beinart claims: "an Obama official once told me about the Netanyahu team, with amazement, 'these guys are actually waiting for President Palin.' "
According to Beinart, this proves that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his supporters are "out of touch with America."
The first thing to say about the "waiting for President Palin" claim is that it sounds exactly like the kind of thing Gov. Palin warned about two years ago. What better way to make Netanyahu look silly than to claim that he is foolishly expecting the election of someone whom the Obama official, Beinart, and their crowd are confident could never be elected...?
Whether the unnamed Obama official made it up, or whether Beinart made up the Obama official, is irrelevant. One thing, however, is clear: the remark is so absurd that it had to have been made up. The prime minister of Israel and his advisers are not knaves. They understand the mercurial nature of American politics. They would never be so naive as to base their policies on the expected election of a particular candidate, especially when nobody even knows who the candidates will be.
We are now two and a half years before the next U.S. Presidential election. Think about what the political pundits were predicting two and a half years before some of our recent elections. Who predicted, in 1974, that a Georgia peanut farmer would win the next presidential election? Did anybody bet on the governor of Arkansas back in 1990? Who, for that matter, expected, in 2006, that an obscure African-American senator from Illinois would be elected to the White House two years later?
In the meantime, though, we are obliged to point out that it is Washington, not Jerusalem, that over the years has repeatedly based its own policies on their hopes for a particular Israeli candidate to triumph.
In the midst of more than one Israeli election campaign, unnamed U.S. officials have let it be known that they preferred the Labor (or Kadima) candidate to his Likud rival. In fact, it is unnamed Obama aides who were repeatedly quoted in the press, after President Obama launched his recent crusade against Israeli housing in Jerusalem, as expressing hope that the controversy would cause a crisis in the Israeli governing coalition that would lead to a new government in which leftwing Kadima leader Tzipi Livni would play a major role.
But the truth is that even Livni, in the end, would not be far left enough for the Obama government.
Its policy of forcing Israel to return to the indefensible 1967 borders and redivide Jerusalem is so extreme that the only Israeli political party with which it might align is Meretz, whose former leader, Yossi Sarid, recently defended Obama's Jerusalem policy in the pages of the New York Times.
Alas for the Obama team, Meretz holds just five seats in the Knesset. Maybe they're the ones waiting for Prime Minister Sarid. If so, they're going to have to wait a long time.
The author is director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin and JewsForSarah.com.