The Campaign Spot

Does the Obama Administration Understand the Israelis?

An excerpt, below, from this Wednesday morning’s Jolt. As usual, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe . . .

He’s a Skinny Guy, But All of Obama’s Bites Are More Than He Can Chew

The fallout from our sudden head-banging with Israel continues. I relish the writing of Walter Russell Mead, particularly his works on modern-day Jacksonianism, and he ties that mentality to views of Israel: “Many of the arguments and perceptions that have weakened support for Israel on the left cut no ice with the populist right.  The argument that just war theory forbids the ‘disproportionate’ use of force has absolutely no weight in much of American opinion.  When somebody attacks you, especially in an underhanded terrorist way, you have a natural right to defend yourself using every weapon and every tactic that comes to hand.  This is the way most Americans think about war; American public opinion on the whole does not regret the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  Two-thirds of American respondents tell Pew pollsters that they favor the use of “torture” under some circumstances. Such people are not necessarily indifferent to Palestinian rights, and they may not feel that every Israeli action is well judged, but they strongly believe that as long as Palestinians engage in terrorism, Israel has an unlimited and absolute right of self defense.  It can and should do anything and everything it can to stop the attacks and many Americans consider international laws against such practices as pious hopes with no binding legal or even moral force. If the terrorists shield themselves behind civilians, that only shows how evil they are – and is an extra reason why you have both the right and the duty to eliminate them no matter what it takes.”

Sarah Palin wants to hit the “reset” button. Hey, we’ve done it with every other country . . .

At Contentions, Noah Pollak reads a Jeffrey Goldberg report and wonders if everything is even worse than we initially feared: “Here we have on record the Obama administration saying 1) that it is trying to topple the government of a democratic ally (if only we could try this in Tehran!) 2) that it believes it has such mastery of Israeli politics that publicly bludgeoning Bibi will result in such a shakeup, and that 3) even if the hoped-for new government is formed, the White House thinks it’s a good idea to go on record stating that the Prime Minister they will have to deal with is stupid. This is pretty amazing. And it’s more evidence that not only is Obama ignorant of how Israel and the Middle East work, but that he refuses to do any on-the-job learning. He is pushing forward with his failed strategy of a year ago, only this time with a bigger hammer.”

I was thinking about that – the angry words from David Axelrod and the gang are supposed to get the Israeli public to give up on Bibi? The Israeli public has withstood attempted invasions, suicide bombers in pizzerias, and forecasts like, “this afternoon will be cloudy with a chance of incoming rockets from the north.” They’re going to buckle and fold because Hillary Clinton was angry on the phone?