The niceties of America’s often straightlaced political discourse generally preclude the use of a phrase as provocative as this: Jewish revenge. One of the virtues of the Israeli press, however, is that it can be refreshingly blunt.
“Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel,” reports Yedioth Ahronoth today. Some of the courting the paper refers to just came from White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose recent trip to Israel was ostensibly a family affair — he was there to attend his son’s Bar Mitzvah — but it turned out that he also had important and very public business to take care of: a kiss-and-make-up session with Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to reports that reached Jerusalem, it is no coincidence that Obama and his staff have suddenly begun to speak warmly about Israel, to compliment it for the good will gestures it extended to the Palestinians and mainly to admit that they had erred by treating Israel unfairly in Obama’s first year. It appears that the Obama administration’s attack on Netanyahu after the publication of the tender to build 1,6000 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo backfired.
Information that was received by Israeli sources would seem to indicate that the principal reason for the change in approach to Israel is pressure from Democrat lawmakers who are running for election and are finding themselves hard put to enlist Jewish donors to their campaigns. There is a great deal of anger at Obama within the Jewish community and disappointment over his policy toward Israel. Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel. In other words, the fear is that the Jewish vote will gravitate away from Democratic candidates to Republicans.
The report concludes by saying that the Obama administration is afraid of another clash with Netanyahu when the settlement “freeze” expires in September. “The hope is that Obama will be able to persuade Netanyahu to extend the construction freeze by means of a friendly request and thereby avoid a damaging confrontation.” Right!
The brief lull in West Bank colonization construction operations was surely timed to expire exactly when Obama could effectively be bound and gagged by the Israel lobby, right before the elections.
When ministers in the Israeli government triumphantly break ground on new settlement projects this fall, we shouldn’t expect to hear even a squeak of disapproval come out of Washington.