March 27, 2010

WHY HAS BARACK OBAMA TREATED NETANYAHU SO RUDELY? “Obama would never treat the president of Equatorial Guinea that way.”

Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

But it’s also possible — I’d say likely — that there’s something else going on. I think Obama expects Israel to strike Iran, and wants to put distance between the United States and Israel in advance of that happening. (Perhaps he even thinks that treating Israel rudely will provoke such a response, saving him the trouble of doing anything about Iran himself, and avoiding the risk that things might go wrong if he does). On the most optimistic level, maybe this whole thing is a sham, and the U.S. is really helping Israel strike Iran, with this as distraction. The question for readers is which of these — not necessarily mutually exclusive — explanations is most plausible.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald refers to the above speculation — which I regard as favorable to Obama, since it suggests he knows what he’s doing instead of merely being, you know, a snot — as “bizarre conspiracy theories.” He then proceeds to demonstrate his usual lack of comprehension by conflating treatment of Israel by the United States with treatment of Netanyahu by Obama. Yeah, Israel gets a lot of support from the United States, because the United States electorate is pretty supportive, which over the years has led Congress to appropriate money and pass laws in ways that help Israel. This hardly suggests that Obama himself is equally supportive, and, in fact, his behavior suggests quite the opposite. It’s telling that — as usual — Greenwald can only criticize a post of mine by misrepresenting it and attacking a straw man. Pathetic.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some related thoughts from Prof. William Jacobson.

MORE: The Obama Administration’s Naive Outrage At Israel.

MORE STILL: Unlike Greenwald — or those hacks at Media Matters — picking up on the real point.

STILL MORE: Obama’s rudeness not selling with Congress. “The letter had only circulated for three days last week before garnering 327 signatures, probably the most bipartisan effort seen on Capitol Hill in this session of Congress. It provides a measure of just how far out of the mainstream the Obama administration has gotten on relations with Israel.”

Meanwhile, Moe Lane thinks I’m too optimistic about Obama’s intentions.