THE SPINE MARCH 24, 2010
I don't really know how the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu went. But a grim early story in the New York Times tells us that it was "tense."
One fact we knew already before the White House encounter was that the president's echo in all of these matters, Hillary Clinton, addressed AIPAC with the emptiest reassurances that Israel's real security will be assured in any American design for a peace agreement. But there were actually two deep disenchantments, aside from the basic one.
And the second has to do with Iran. Hillary denounced the Tehran regime, alright. But, given the time the Obami have given the mullahs and the leeway and the handing over of negotiating contacts to Moscow and Bejing (who are sure to have been very tough!), her challenge to Iran was nothing less than pusillanimous and craven.
It begins with blah blah.
We are working with our partners in the United Nations on new Security Council sanctions that will show Iran's leaders that there are real consequences for their intransigence, that the only choice id to live up to their international obligations.
And then comes what she apparently thinks of as her uppercut:
Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite.
And then immediately the excuse:
It is taking time to produce these sanctions, and we believe that time is a worthwhile investment for winning the broadest possible support for our efforts.
"Sanctions that will bite!" What an experience in creating deceptive language her speechwriters must be having.
Actually, Obama has not opened his mouth about Israel in months. He gives the bad assignments to his underlings: Hillary, Joe Biden, David Axelrod, yes, the man I called a "Jewboy," the Jewboy who seemed to relish beating up on his cousins.
And the president didn't allow even a formal goodbye today. I don't think there was even a photo op.
But a plant was designated to tell anyone and everyone how Obama and Hillary felt about their encounters with Bibi.
This is according to a dispatch in Ha'aretz:
An American source close to the administration said that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have decided to 'test' Netanyahu and see whether he will carry out his promised gestures of good will toward the Palestinians.
So am I crazy?
Obama and Clinton are going to test Bibi's bona fides! What about the bona fides of Abu Mazen? What about his capacity to make an agreement, let alone his will?
Obama and Clinton seem to trust the Palestinians more than they trust the government of Israel. And they trust them without the Palestinian Authority uttering anything other than demands.
The administration's capitulation to proximity talks as a formula for the negotiations is a very bad sign that it will accept anything from the Palestinians, including their and their Arab cousins' nearly hundred years design for failed talks. Neither the president nor the secretary of state have the gumption to look them in the eyes and say, "No, this kind of indirect transaction is simply denial. What kind of deal can be made with George Mitchell as the go-between. You are not serious."