Ron Kampeas has a piece in the JTA about the Obama administration’s new “charm offensive” toward the American Jewish community. According to the article, David Axelrod, Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus, Rahm Emanuel, Jim Jones, and the National Security Council’s Daniel Shapiro are in the process of speaking to Jewish groups to highlight the administration’s insistence of “no space — no space — between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security,” as Jones put it.
My brother Gil has a piece up in the Jerusalem Post showing why a “charm offensive” will not solve the problem. According to Gil, Obama’s casting of Israel as the obstacle to peace “is ignoring the history of Israeli willingness to compromise” and putting Israel in a tougher position while emboldening the Palestinians. Obama’s coldness toward Israel over the last few months — his overreacting to the Israeli announcement about building in East Jerusalem and his rough treatment of Netanyahu — “feeds the Arabist and radical leftist Big Lie seeking to delegitimize the state itself.” According to Gil, “Obama should lighten up on Israel” and thereby give Israel the reassurance it needs to enter into difficult negotiations.
A charm offensive to bolster his domestic political standing with the American Jewish community may help Obama politically, but it will not help him advance a deal in the Middle East