When I first read the following story, I thought it might be satire. But who could make this up?
The Israeli Left reacted with dismay over the weekend to the results of a Jerusalem Post-sponsored Smith Research poll published on Friday that found only 4 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that US President Barack Obama’s policies are more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.
The survey, which was featured prominently on Fox News in the United States and picked up by media outlets around the world, reported that 51% of Jewish Israelis considered Obama’s administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, 35% called it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion…
“It is terrific for Israel that there is an American president with vision, and it is a pity that most Israelis don’t realize that,” Meretz faction chairman MK Ilan Gilon said. “Israelis think that Christian evangelists who rubber-stamp everything Israel does are the only Americans who are pro-Israel. But what is really good for Israel is a solution to the conflict, and Obama is doing what it takes to bring it about.”
In other words, he thinks that Jewish Israelis don’t know what’s good for them — well, maybe 4% of them do — and need to be forced to accept a solution! Of course, that solution will meet the priorities of the Obama administration, not Israel. And high on Obama’s priority list seems to be improving American relationships and image in the Muslim world.
One outspoken representative of Israel’s Left seems to agree with me, but still thinks it’s good for Israel:
Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer said what mattered more at this stage of the peace process was Obama’s reputation in the Arab world, and not in Israel. [my emphasis]
“Despite the results of the poll, the Israeli interest is that Obama will be popular in the Arab world, so he could bring about a peace agreement with Israel,” Oppenheimer said. “Bush was popular in Israel and hated around the world, and his policies did not help Israel end the Palestinian conflict or quell the Iranian threat. If he succeeds in his goals of advancing Middle East peace, I am sure he will become much more popular with Israelis.”
Earth to Gilon and Oppenheimer: An important goal for Arab regimes and Iran is to weaken Israel so as to hasten her demise. Really making peace would work against that, so there’s reason to be suspicious of policies that make them happy.
Regimes like those in Syria and Iran — as Barry Rubin has argued persuasively — find the conflict with Israel very useful for their own internal goals, such as keeping a lid on reformers and justifying repression and economic exploitation of their population. They are not motivated to give it up. Remember, the interests of the people of Syria, for example, are not the same as the interests of Bashar al-Assad and his circle, but it’s the latter that makes policy.
Oppenheimer seems to be suggesting that Israel should make concessions to demands like the settlement freeze so that Arabs will like Obama, and thus be more disposed to make peace with Israel. Huh? Good for him that he never took my logic class.
The real explanation of what’s behind Obama Administration policy is not obvious to me yet. There are those who think that the Saudi tail is wagging the American dog, and others who think that the administration is simply naive. Yesterday I suggested that maybe they are getting bad advice. As I said to a commenter on the previous post: are they dumb, ill-advised, or evil?
Tune in again in a few weeks or months to find out.