Pipes: Obama’s stunning bullying of Israel may hurt Obama

Once again, it looks as though Obama’s unreflective leftist passions, in this case his hostility to Israel and identification with the Palestinian cause, has overridden other considerations, including not only his own political well being but simple logic.

Daniel Pipes writes at NRO:

On the surface, that the Obama administration decided one fine day to pick a fight with the government of Israel looks like an unmitigated disaster for the Jewish state. What could be worse than its most important ally provoking the worst crisis (according to the Israeli ambassador to Washington) since 1975?

A closer look, however, suggests that this gratuitous little spat might turn out better for Jerusalem than for the White House.

(1) It concerns not a life-and-death issue, such as the menace of Iran’s nuclear buildup or Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas predations, but the triviality of the timing of a decision to build new housing units in Israel’s capital city. Wiser heads will insist that White House amateurs end this tempest in a teapot and revert to normal relations.

(2) If Obama et al. hope to bring down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government, they can’t count Knesset seats. Peeling away Labor will lead to its replacement by rightist parties.

(3) An Israeli consensus exists to maintain sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem, so provoking a crisis on this issue strengthens Netanyahu.

(4) Conversely, U.S. histrionics make the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas more reluctant to enter into Washington’s counterproductive negotiations.

(5) A recent poll of American voters shows an astonishing 8-to-1 sympathy for Israel over the Palestinians, so picking a fight with Israel harms Obama politically—precisely what a president sinking in the polls and attempting to transform one-sixth of the economy does not need.

[end of Pipes post]

I would add that this controversy was not just, as Pipes says, gratuitous; it was invented out of whole cloth. The housing permit at issue is the third stage of a multistage bureaucratic process that will not result in any new buildings for several years. Moreover, the construction does not involve a territorial expansion of settlements, but new buildings in an existing settlement. Moreover, the “settlement” at issue is flanked by Jewish settlements; it doesn’t even border on Palestinian land. You would need a buzz saw to cut through all the layers of lies in this tempest in a tea pot. And speaking of mixed metaphors, I hurl the jackboot of fascism into the melting pot.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 17, 2010 06:22 PM | Send

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