Day 9: The Kabuki Dance
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels March 17, 2010 - 9:28am
Looks like there are moves to step down: Clinton smiling at a State Dept. mike said the U.S. and Israel remained united in ensuring Israel's security (no doubt). Ha'aretz reports that Netanyahu and Biden spoke on the phone long into the night Tuesday with Netanyahu's advisers and the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. listening in (if Biden was forgiving that will leak to the Israeli media). On Tuesday's Newshour the emerging trope: too bad about the mess-up but the U.S. has no policy in place to move the question; may as well go back to the status quo ante.Is General Petreus proving to be the voice of reality? Before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, he said, The conflict foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of U.S. favoritism toward Israel. Pretty straightforward. Here is a fuller account of Petreus's views (posted earlier): http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/14/the_petraeus_briefing_biden_s_embarrassment_is_not_the_whole_storyRead Up:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/world/middleeast/17diplo.html?hpwhttp://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156807.htmlhttp://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1157020.htmlUPDATE: "JERUSALEM Israeli officials said on Wednesday that efforts were under way to calm tensions with the Obama administration and come up with a formula to diffuse a diplomatic crisis over building in contested East Jerusalem."The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, hurried to distance himself from remarks made by his brother-in-law, Hagai Ben Artzi, in a radio interview on Wednesday, in which he described President Barack Obama as an anti-Semite. Mr. Netanyahu said that he utterly rejected the comments made by his wifes brother, whose hawkish views are well-known."In a statement distributed by his office, Mr. Netanyahu added that he had a deep appreciation for President Obamas commitment to Israels security and for the profound relationship between Israel and the United States." http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/world/middleeast/18mideast.html?hp
About the Author
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.