William A. Jacobson: Obama plays the Israel Firster card
Posted by Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 10:30am
Obama’s comment about “noise” in the Middle East — meant to refer to Israeli concerns about Iran — has distracted from the most dangerous play in Obama’s 60 Minutes interview Sunday.
“Noise” was not the problem, it was that Obama set up Israeli “noise” as inconsistent with the interests of “the American people” (via Hot Air)(emphasis mine):
STEVE KROFT: ”You’re saying, you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.”
Of course any American president should do what’s right for America. But Obama did more than express policy disagreement, he set it up as Israel versus the American people.
It was subtle but significant. It’s the Israel Firster argument which now is fashionable in the American left (and years ago among the Arabists in the State Department and foreign policy establishment), the notion that being pro-Israel is being implicitly anti-American.
By framing it as Israel versus the American people, Obama sent a much bigger message than his “noise” comment. But almost no one heard it about the noise.
FP: One of my working hypotheses has been that Obama would scare Israel into conceding everything to the Arabs, by lifting the American protection and letting the Islamists loose.