Ed Driscoll

Question Asked and Answered

“Is Barack Obama Anti-Israel?” Jeffrey Goldberg asks in Bloomberg — “unexpectedly!” — View.

Beyond the obvious answer — “Of course he is,” and Goldberg’s own recent scoop on an Obama official calling Benjamin Netanyahu “Chickenshit,” as Noah Pollack wrote in March on “Mr. Goldberg’s Profession” at the Washington Free Beacon, “The arrangement works like this:”

Goldberg is provided exclusive access to the president at critical moments, in exchange for soft and flattering coverage of the president’s Middle East policies, especially his policies toward the state of Israel.

So, in the most recent interview, Obama says that without the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel is doomed, and that Israel is preventing the creation of said state. The Jewish State, Obama implies, is committing suicide. But none of these dramatic claims, or the alleged facts that undergird them, were met with the slightest resistance from Goldberg, who knows not to challenge the president too forcefully.

Thus, in 2012, days before AIPAC’s annual policy conference, and during an election year when Obama wished to be portrayed as tough on Iran, Goldberg was invited to the Oval Office to hear Obama boast—obviously with the intention of the following words becoming the headline of the piece, which they were—“As President of the United States, I don’t bluff.”

Thus, a week before the January 2013 election in Israel would extend Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership, Goldberg produced a “scoop” from the White House that had Obama commenting repeatedly in private that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” This was a clear attack on Netanyahu—and one that Obama should have known, if he were more perceptive or self-disciplined, would only result in giving Bibi a crucial boost.

Thus, in the past year, Goldberg has created something of a journalistic template in which he argues that no matter how inept and prevaricating Obama’s handling of a particular foreign policy crisis might be, we must take the president seriously when he insists he will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

So yes, to reiterate, of course Obama is hostile to Israel. But from Obama’s point of view, as his would-be successor is wont to say, really, at this point, what difference to does it make — at least to the semi-retired president himself.