Distorted Mirrors in US and Israel

Posted on June 7, 2010 In Blog

So, Helen Thomas has resigned over her anti-Semitic tirade.

This was the right result, but seems a diversion compared to the challenges Israel continues to face.

Turkey continues to play a dangerous game which the Washington Post ably criticized.

And one New York Times reporter continues to recycle the notion that Obama accuses Israel of costing American soldiers’ lives even though it has been shown that Obama never actually said that, and implicitly repudiated the notion nonetheless.

All these challenges have set the pundits casting about for explanations and solutions. Among the latest, former Ambassador Dan Kurtzer urged Israel to recast its image as kinder and gentler, and Nahum Barnea bemoans Bibi’s leadership.

Peter Beinart (who seems to be writing more frequently now about Israel than he had in the past) ironically argues that the flotilla crisis shows that the Israeli leadership is out of touch with America – and the source of the problem is that so many of them, including PM Netanyahu and Amb. Michael Oren, were born or educated in the US. Beinart says it is their familiarity with the US that “breeds overconfidence and ignorance.”

The irony here, of course, is that the same can be said of the troubles that have beset the Obama Administration in its dealings with Israel. In Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Dennis Ross and Dan Shapiro (just to name a few) – President Obama has had a group of advisors who are very familiar with Israel and that familiarity bred the policies of the President’s first year, which were more attuned to the new narratives put forth by J Street than to the views of the Israeli street.

Food for thought.