Washington Post editorial deplores the daylight between US policy on Iran and Israel’s. (Hat tip Helena Cobban)
But the disagreement is still damaging. It conveys to Iran that there is no need to worry about a war; certainly, the country’s leaders have been behaving as if they feel no pressure to compromise. It also creates the bizarre spectacle of senior U.S. military and diplomatic officials focusing their time and attention on trying to prevent an Israeli attack rather than an Iranian bomb.
In the past week Mr. Netanyahu has hinted at how the U.S.-Israeli difference could be overcome: through a clear public statement by Mr. Obama of a willingness to take military action if Iran crosses certain “red lines” in its nuclear program. Israel has been seeking such a declaration for some time, but Mr. Obama has limited himself to saying that his policy is to prevent Iran from obtaining a weapon and that “all options are on the table.”
Notice that Susan Glasser, editor of Foreign Policy, seems to say much the same thing in an interview with Robert Siegel on NPR yesterday.
SIEGEL: There are rhetorical differences between the two [US political parties] over dealing with Israel. Are there substantive differences?
GLASSER: Well, there’s no question that if you look at the relationship between Obama and the administration of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, it’s been very frosty, very hostile. And that could lead to a potential real problem should Israel decide to take preemptive military action against Iran, for example.
That being said, you can’t look right now and say here’s what Mitt Romney would do on Israel and Iran, and here’s how it’s different than Barack Obama.
Wait, what’s the problem? That Iran would regard an attack that would kill hundreds if not thousands of people and likely result in suffering across the Middle East as having nothing to do with the U.S.? Wouldn’t it be a good thing for our troops in Afghanistan, that we be divorced from Israeli militarism? Why is Israel’s war our war?
Also, how is Glasser’s position any different from Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s insistence that there must be no daylight between the Republicans and Democrats on Israel, and no daylight between the US and Israel?
(And yes, this is about American Jewish identity, too. Can Robert Siegel interrogate the American Jewish attachment to Zionism?)