President Obama landed in Israel today, receiving a welcome from Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Israeli president Shimon Peres at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.
The president had a number of pleasant things to say that sharply contradicted his usual tone on Israel. From his cheering section at the Associated press:
Arriving in Israel on his first trip to the country as president, Obama told the Israeli people at an extravagant welcoming ceremony that "peace must come to the Holy Land" and that goal would not be achieved at Israel's expense. U.S. backing for Israel will be a constant as the Middle East roils with revolution and Iran continues work on its nuclear program, he said.
"The United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend," Obama said, accepting profuse thanks from Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the tarmac at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.
"Across this region the winds of change bring both promise and peril," he said, calling his visit "an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our nations, to restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security, and to speak directly to the people of Israel and to your neighbors."
Seeking to alter a perception among many Israelis that his government has been less supportive of Israel than previous U.S. administrations, Obama declared the U.S.-Israeli alliance "eternal."
"It is forever," he said to applause as Israeli and U.S. flags fluttered in a steady breeze under clear, sunny skies.
I think what we're seeing here is yet another attempt at a 'charm offensive' from this president, who continues to believe that his presentation and his personality is all that matters. And after all, talk is cheap, especially with the 2014 midterms coming up.Narcissus indeed.
The very symbolism of the president landing in Tel Aviv rather than in Jerusalem, Israel's capitol sends a message...and don;t think that message was lost on Israelis, no matter how flowery the president's carefully crafted speech was.
President Obama has called for Israel to retreat behind the indefensible borders of the pre-67 cease fire lines Israeli diplomat Abba Eban famously called the 'Auschwitz lines'. President Obama wants the Jews out apartheid style and a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria. Is he even aware that if Israel complied with that, Air Force One would be unable to safely land at Ben Gurion or any other Israeli airport because of the danger of a Palestinian missile attack?
You also have to wonder exactly what the president has planned to deal with Iran. That will undoubtedly be a topic of conversation between thepresdent and PM Netanyahu. So far, America's response has been largely ineffective sanctions riddled with waivers given to numerous countries by the Obama Administration. Meanwhile, the centrifuges keep spinning, the Iranians have reacted with cynical contempt to efforts to resolve the matter peacefully and Iran gets closer every day to its goal of having nuclear weapons.
Is he planning to wait for Congress or the 'international community' to act rather than lead? when push comes to shove, will President Obama be there or will he simply grease out from under as he has before?
Rest assured, this is not just a problem for Israel, but a major security challenge for the United States. It's not a task that can simply be left for others.
I do know one thing. While the Israelis would much rather work in concert with the United States, when it comes down to the wire they will act alone. Even the dovish Shimon Peres understands that.
As a matter of fact, it would not surprise me if that is President Obama's intention...to have Israel remove the Iranian threat for him and then go to the UN to push for a 'nuclear free Middle East' to disarm Israel as well as for a Palestinian Jew free reichlet in Judea and Samaria with Jerusalem as its capitol.
Narcissus is in the Promised Land,beguiled by his own reflection and thinking that of course the natives will be as enamored of him as he is of himself.
It remains to be seen if he's right, but I think he overestimates his appeal.
UPDATE: Apparently President Obama not only overestimated his appeal (particularly to the Palestinians) but may actually be starting to realize it as he gets his nose rubbed into the truth of that famous saying by President Lincoln about not being able to fool all of the people all of the time...