The religious right is firmly ensconced in the American media. Today the New York Times and the New Republic run remarkably similar op-eds by Israelis telling Obama to back down on the settlements issue. Here is Aluf Benn in the New York Times, urging Obama to come to Israel and stop isolating Israel. A lot about settlements.
Mr. Obama has made a mistake in focusing on a settlement freeze. For starters, mainstream Israelis rarely have anything to do with the settlements; many have no idea where they are, even when they’re a half-hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. More important: in the past decade, repeated peace negotiations and diplomatic statements have indicated that larger, closer-to-home settlements (the “settlement blocs”) will remain in Israeli hands under any two-state solution. Why, then, insist on a total freeze everywhere? And why deny with such force — as the administration did — the existence of previous understandings between the United States and Israel over limited settlement construction? There is simply too much evidence proving that such an understanding existed….
And here is Yossi Klein Halevi of the right-wing Adelson-backed Shalem Center, writing in the New Republic on the ways that Obama can "regain Israelis’ trust". More about settlements and making nice to a rightwing foreign leader.
2. Reaffirm the Israeli status of the settlement blocs in a future
The administration is right to insist that the current Israeli government must be bound by the commitments of previous Israeli governments (a position that Prime Minister Netanyahu has in fact upheld). But that same principle should also apply to Washington. Obama should not dismiss previous administration promises to Israel–even those made by George W. Bush…
6. Don’t treat the Netanyahu government as a pariah.
Do I hear an echo? Interesting that the Times allowed Benn to say flatly that Netanyahu had "called" Obama aides Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod (above) "self-hating Jews." There must have been quite a debate about that since Israeli mouthpiece Mark Regev denied it. Where are the Israeli leaders denouncing the hate speech against Obama?