Rather than moderating the desire of some in the administration to bash Israel, Clinton took a delicate situation and blew it up and in the process established a U.S. position on the status of Jerusalem that went further than any of Obama’s predecessors toward undermining Israel’s hold on its capital.
Though Obama’s Jewish surrogates are beating the bushes this year portraying the president as a stalwart friend of Israel, he began his presidency pursuing policies that won the applause of the left-wing J Street group and shocked the pro-Israel community.
In the last several months, those stands have been reversed, leaving J Street isolated as the president now eschews any talk of pressure on Israel or distancing the U.S. from the Jewish state.
Optimists will view this sea change in policy as a result of Obama learning the hard way that the Palestinians are not interested in peace. Less sanguine observers will merely point to the calendar and note that the president’s conversion to more conventional pro-Israel policies coincided with the start of his reelection campaign.
Those who believe he will stick to the stances he has taken this year if he is re-elected would do well to read the Post account and ask themselves whether their trust is warranted.
Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this originally appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.