Glenn Reynolds is a usually pretty reasonable guy, so it pretty much shocked the hell out of me when I read this:
WHY HAS BARACK OBAMA TREATED NETANYAHU SO RUDELY? “Obama would never treat the president of Equatorial Guinea that way.”
Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.
The fact that the President and the Israeli Prime Minister might not be getting along on a personal basis means that President Obama doesn’t like Jews ? For one thing, I’ve got a feeling that would be news to his Chief of Staff, his Senior Advisor, the Director of his Office Of Management And Budget, his Solicitor General, and a few other people.
And I’m sure it would be a hell of a shock to the people attending the second annual White House Seder.
Moreover, while I thought that Obama’s actions last week were disrespectful toward a key ally, I do have do agree with Alex Knapp when he makes this point:
I wouldn’t characterize the President of the United States not completely kowtowing to a foreign prime minister as being ‘rude.’ The President and the Secretary of State have made it clear that the United States wants Israel to re-engage in the peace process and, in the meantime, does not want Israel to build more settlements in disputed territories. When Netanyahu completely disregarded this and approved more settlements in East Jerusalem, what could he honestly expect? Love and kisses?
It’s important to point out that at the present time, exactly what American interests are in the Middle East region. Those interests are not “unconditional support for Israel.” Those interests include (in no particular order): 1) supporting all of our allies in the region, including, but not limited to, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the U.A.E, Kuwait, and Israel. 2) Maintaining access to Middle Eastern supplies of oil. 3) Countering Islamtic fundamentalist, particularly fundamentalist terrorist organizations.
Honestly, I don’t know why certain segments of the right believe that supporting anything but the most pro-hardline Likud foreign policy is somehow “anti-Israel” or even “anti-Semitic”, but there it is.
At least on the right.
Reynolds goes on to posit another theory, though:
But it’s also possible — I’d say likely — that there’s something else going on. I think Obama expects Israel to strike Iran, and wants to put distance between the United States and Israel in advance of that happening. (Perhaps he even thinks that treating Israel rudely will provoke such a response, saving him the trouble of doing anything about Iran himself, and avoiding the risk that things might go wrong if he does). On the most optimistic level, maybe this whole thing is a sham, and the U.S. is really helping Israel strike Iran, with this as distraction. The question for readers is which of these — not necessarily mutually exclusive — explanations is most plausible.
I agree with Joe Gandelman that the Reynolds’ second theory is more plausible than the first, but that doesn’t make it any better.
War with Iran, whether by the United States or Israel, would be a disaster. It would be the Iraq War on steroids, against a military that is far better trained in a country nearly four times as large. It may become necessary some day, but we sure as hell better hope that day never comes because the consequences, politically and economically, would be far-reaching and long-lasting. The idea that the President is secretly conspiring with Bibi Netanyahu to attack Tehran just strains credulity.
But, that’s a side issue, I’m more disturbed by the assertion that anyone who isn’t 100% in lock-step with the most far-right political party in Israel is anti-semitic. That’s not a debating point, it’s a smear.