Yossi Klein Halevi has a piece up at The New Republic on Obama’s detestation of Netanyahu and how it skews his policy against Israel. Writes a friend:
Many falsehoods. That the settlement freeze fell through because of Palestinian recalcitrance; that Iranian dissidents in 2009 chanted en masse “Obama, are you with us or against us?” No dissident quoted in the U.S. ever said such a thing, but leaders of the dissidents did say that Obama’s stance was correct; that nothing but harm could come of American posturing and denunciation, given our history with Iran.
Most symptomatic is this paragraph:
Still, in recalling his record, Obama omitted some crucial details. Israelis still recall with disbelief how Obama refused to honor Bush’s written commitment to Ariel Sharon—that the U.S. would support settlement blocs being incorporated into Israel proper. And never has an American president treated an Israeli prime minister with such shabbiness as Obama has treated Netanyahu. Indeed one gets the impression that of all the world’s leaders, Obama most detests the prime minister of Israel.
It is completely ad hominem: a reading-in that implies Obama’s resentment toward a “strong” Jewish leader–borne out by none of the facts. Also note the first-person turn, away from logic and policy (therapeutically seeking reassurance), in the final two paragraphs.
For me to trust Obama on Israel’s ultimate security threat, I need him to speak directly to Iran, not to American Jews and the Israeli public. I need to know that he is as committed to a military solution as he is to a diplomatic solution, if the first option fails. I need to know what his red line is for determining when diplomacy has exhausted itself. …
Mr. President, I’m not reassured. On this one I need to watch my own back.
What possible policy could answer such a fraternal plea? Answer: repeat after Netanyahu, “We are you, and you are us.”
We’re in for much more of this.
Update: An Iranian friend says that some Iranians did chant what Halevi says they chanted. “The Iranian words ‘oo ba ma’ means ‘he’s with us,’ which I heard was also chanted on its own. The Iranians depicted in this vid chanted: ‘Obama, Obama, ya ba oona ya ba ma.’ That means, ‘Obama, Obama, either with them or with us.’” The author of my post points out that this activity never got wide circulation in the U.S. media.