The new theme in the liberal press following the Israeli election is that Obama has trumped Netanyahu, so now is the time for Obama to push on the two-state solution. The New York Times implores him to go to Israel at last and explain why the two-state solution is in Israel’s security interest. Peter Beinart offers this exciting scenario, which he only halfway believes himself:
if Obama wants, he’ll be well-positioned to hasten Netanyahu’s demise, and push Israel toward elections that just might produce a Lapid-led government more open to a viable Palestinian state. It’s still a relative long-shot.
It’s not going to happen. Obama will not expend political capital on two states. He tried four years ago and got his head handed to him. His recent speeches have contained nothing about the Israel/Palestine issue, he is just hoping it will go away. And Tuesday’s results tell Obama that it will be too hard to achieve anything that even looks like a handshake on the White House lawn, let alone a fair deal, because Israeli society is now lost to the settler movement; Yair Lapid has no ability to counter it, or desire to.
But Obama is supposed to fly across the Atlantic to a country that if he were living there would regard him as a second-class citizen and lecture these people about their national interest? Mark Landler reports the grim truth in the Times today:
Nor, after the frustrations of his first term, does Mr. Obama appear any more likely to invest heavily in Middle East peacemaking. The president scarcely mentions the subject these days.
The New York Times editorial page has the crust to lecture Obama on how to kiss the lobby’s behind:
Unlike the bungled effort in his first term, though, he needs to carefully prepare the political ground, including making his first trip to Israel as president and explaining to the Israeli people how any peace plan will enhance their security.
“The political ground.” That means the lobby. But the Israel lobby is on Israel’s side; it will not abandon a broadly centrist Jewish government, and Obama has to defer to the lobby. Look how much work he had to do not to attack Iran. Look how many backflips he has had to do to get Chuck Hagel nominated to be secretary of Defense. And you think there will be a fair peace resulting from the forces coming to bear on Obama? Dream on. I am told that Dennis Ross and Mort Zuckerman were on Charlie Rose last night blaming the Palestinians for a lack of progress on peace. Obama will never get a deal even like Clinton’s deal of 2000, which was not fair to Palestinians.
If anyone has to prepare the political ground, it’s the New York Times. It needs to start explaining Israeli political culture to liberal Americans, it needs to lay out the fact that 20 percent of the Israeli population — Palestinians — will be written out of whatever governing coalition emerges in the next weeks, in the type of Jim Crow power-division that we had in the South under desegregation.
In fact, these desperate appeals to Obama are another sign of the dangers of Jewish sovereignty– in which American friends of Israel must turn to non-Jews to save the Jewish state from the patent danger of an all-Jewish governing coalition.
The only chance for change in months to come is from Europe and the BDS movement. They are the only means of changing the calculus of the future. The rest is just the bogosity of hope.