THE PLANK JULY 29, 2009
Via Jeffrey Goldberg, Newsweek's Gregory Levey makes the modest proposal that Obama appoint George W. Bush as his Middle East envoy in order to quell Israeli misgivings about his administration. But then Levey admits this will never actually happen. So what's the point of his article (other than helping Newsweek seem more counterintuitive)?
I guess it's to encourage Obama to be more Bush-like in his dealings with Israel. One Bush-like gesture, according to Levey, would be for Obama "to speak directly to Israelis, the way Bush did often." But did Bush speak directly to Israelis that often? He didn't visit Israel as president until January 2008, some seven years after he entered the White House. And he made only one more trip there, in May of last year, to speak to the Knesset (and take some thinly veiled swipes at Obama). Obama, of course, has been president for six months now. I'm with Levey (and pretty much everyone else it seems) in thinking Obama should speak directly to Israelis. But I don't think he'll necessarily be following Bush's example if and when he does.