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The New York Times, Obama, and Israel: A New Low for the Paper of Record

Acknowledging that many Israelis “find Mr. Obama’s willingness to challenge Israel unsettling,” the paper makes it clear that they “find it refreshing.” No surprise here. Indeed, the editorial makes it quite clear that the paper has become the official editorial voice of the administration’s foreign policy-makers, and the cheerleader-in-chief for whatever domestic and foreign policy the administration comes up with. Why, I wonder, are they surprised that anyone in Israel or this country have what they call “questions” about Obama’s “commitment to Israel’s security,” which they call “misplaced”? Could it simply be that the Israelis know what is important to their own security, and somehow take great offense at Obama’s one-sided pressure on Israel alone, a policy that began the moment he took office?

For those who share these very real concerns about Obama’s policy, a very good parody appeared on a blog site today, which appears as an AP report that during their private meeting, Obama asked Netanyahu to request of all Jews that at their Seder on Monday “the traditional closing refrain ‘next year in Jerusalem’ be deleted during the upcoming Passover holiday, calling the ancient passage provocative and unhelpful for the future of peace talks. Calling it ‘an easy fix,’ Obama strongly urged the Jewish People to replace it with ‘next year in peace’ or ‘next year in Tel Aviv,’ leaving the exact wording to final status talks between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The parody continues with this: “The Prime Minister reportedly attempted to diffuse the situation by offering to remove it from the conclusion of the lesser-known Yom Kippur service, and suggesting the phrase was defunct anyway since Jews have controlled all of Jerusalem since 1967. However, a visibly irritated President Obama flatly rejected the compromise, adding it was another indication the ‘stiff-necked’ Prime Minister did not appear ‘serious about peace.’”

Of course, in the real world, the front page news in the same edition of the Times gives publicity to the forthcoming White House Seder, which is obviously meant to reassure its Jewish readers that how can anyone even think that the President has anything but the best wishes for America’s Jewish citizens, or for the citizens of Israel? It is a technique familiar to all those who when challenging Obama’s policies on the Middle East, are met with the refrain: “But he appointed Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, and his wife has an African-American Jewish rabbi who is a member of her family.”

One has to actually wonder: at this week’s White House Seder, can we really be sure that the service will end with “next year in Jerusalem”?