Obama, Don't Forget Jerusalem

(Washington Post) Richard Cohen - President Obama gives every appearance of not "getting" Israel; not appreciating its fears or its history. Israel is not half of the equation, as if both sides are right. It is a democracy with American values that has tried, over and over again, to make peace with a recalcitrant and unforgiving enemy. Most Israelis want a two-state solution. Most American Jews feel the same. But the Israeli political middle is scared. It is about life and death. It is about rockets coming in from Gaza yet again. It is about Hizbullah's Scud missiles and the reasonable apprehension that Hamas would oust the moderate (and hapless) Palestinian Authority from the West Bank and turn the area into the functional equivalent of Gaza, an Islamic republic whose charter is a stew of crackpot anti-Semitism laced with death threats. What then? Would Obama stick by Israel? Many Israelis wonder. Obama "needs to address Israelis' fears," the Israeli philosopher Carlo Strenger wrote recently. So far, Obama has done just the opposite. His coolness toward Netanyahu has chilled the Israeli public and encouraged Palestinian defiance. He is on the cusp of an enormous diplomatic blunder.

2010-04-22 08:42:17

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