The story continues: supporters of Israel are rising against Obama, there is a major push this week to destroy his candidacy. Today's Washington Post reports on a debate yesterday arranged by United Jewish Committees in D.C. among Jewish advocates for Hillary, Obama, and McCain. The debate became a rout, the Post columnist averred, in which the advocates for Hillary and McCain "used their time to raise doubts about Obama's fealty to Israel."
Fealty to Israel? They portrayed Obama as a dangerous leftwinger, and when the Illinois senator's surrogate defended Obama's statement that the U.S. does not have to cleave to Likud policies, Ann Lewis, Hillary's advocate, responded:
"The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel. It is not up to us to pick and choose from among the political parties."
Yup, sounds like fealty to me! What is there to say about such a statement? Horrifying. Likud has been against the peace process, against a Palestinian state, for the colonization of the West Bank. Do we have a foreign policy? Do we take sides on such matters? Do we take sides on minority rights in foreign countries? Are we the strongest country in the world, or do we get dragged around by racist biblical colonialists half a world away? What did we just do in Serbia and Kosovo--exercise our power to establish a Muslim state. But in this part of the world we have had no independent power to say what is right and wrong, for 60 years...
The columnist who wrote the piece is Dana Milbank, who in 2006 suggested that Walt and Mearsheimer are Nazis for talking about something called "the Israel lobby." When Milbank cites "fealty to Israel" and describes security guards with Israeli accents, it's hard to tell how ironic he is being. I think he is impish; and is trying himself to marginalize Obama without coming out and saying so.
This is bad news for Obama but maybe good for America. If Obama is going down on this issue, there will at last be, I vouchsafe, a robust debate over our Israel policy.