This is not a phony crisis, as a number of critics have been saying. I think the Obama administration has gotten the word from Petraeus and Mullen that Israel has become a liability and it is not about to let Israel’s government of right wing crazies continue to harm US interests in the Middle East. Even former Israeli consul in NY, Alon Pinkas told Ynets News yesterday that to sum up the criticism coming from the US, "Israel is turning from an asset to a burden."
Obama was not even supposed to be in the country when Bibi came and I suspect one of the reasons he stayed was that he did not want to give the impression that he was running away from someone that few in the Democratic ranks, going back to Clinton, really like. Had Obama not been there he would have been seen in some quarters as surrendering Washington to Netanyahu and having the latter’s triumphant appearance at AIPAC be the story instead of the snub.
The press has been treating Netanyahu’s visit to the White House as if it had been a planned visit and it wasn’t and Obama, wisely, made sure that everyone, including Netanyahu, knew who was in charge, at least for that moment. What no one has yet mentioned because the "Israeli exception" has become so routine and internalized is that other than attending sessions at the UN, almost no other country’s head of state comes to the US, as Netanyahu did for AIPAC, unless it is an official visit at the invitation of the POTUS which Netanyahu’s most definitely wasn’t.
The only other head of state to make such a visit that I can remember was the president of Mexico but he was the guest last year of the "lobby’s" state department– the American Jewish Committee.
The only other figure who has traveled here who might be considered a "head of state" is the Dalai Lama, but since he is, in fact, not one, he doesn’t count. Bringing a head of state to Washington requires considerable security planning and is usually formally announced by the White House.
Now,there are reportedly over 327 signatures on a House letter that Hoyer mentioned at the AIPAC dinner but which was actually dated on March 19, and a letter from the Senate, dated the 29th, just yesterday, that was co-signed by Barbara Boxer for the Dems and John Issakson for the Repubs calling on Clinton to keep our disputes with Israel under wraps. The decision to address the letters to Clinton rather than Obama I find interesting and a sign that the members of Congress who initiated it, with AIPAC’s help (LOL), of course, think she’s an easier and safer target at this moment than Obama, going into the election season.