We can appreciate that the Obama administration would be zealous in defending its perceived foreign policy prerogatives, however stretched in particular instances. But there is also another dimension in play.
This passport law case would seem tailor made for a president who wants to demonstrate that he really is a friend of Israel. To be sure, the foreign policy implications of the passport law, which really involve only ministerial issues, have been overblown by the State Department. So for Mr. Obama to signal a clear “tilt” toward our community, he need do nothing more than follow the law.
And there is, after all, precedent – recent precedent – for taking just such an approach. When UNESCO granted the Palestinians full membership, the administration, citing federal law, promptly and without argument suspended funding to that UN agency despite any potential negative fallout for U.S. foreign policy.