What Jeff Goldberg Has Overlooked
In his piece yesterday in the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg makes the claim, as his title tells us, that “The Crisis In US-Israel Relations Is Officially Here.” After detailing a slew of insults from anonymous White House officials that make Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon’s characterization of Kerry seem almost complimentary by comparison (“chickenshit” seems to be drawing particular ire), Goldberg then lays most of the blame for the deterioration in the relationship on Netanyahu. Such attribution of blame might seem odd, however, to anyone who recalls that, as was revealed in 2012, Obama came in to office determined to put “daylight” between the US and Israel.
At a small meeting of American Jewish leaders shortly after Obama’s Cairo address in 2009, the President indicated that his agenda included putting a wedge in the US relationship with Israel. He then proceeded to spend his first term taking small but noticeable steps towards that goal, such as having Secretary of State Clinton berate Netanyahu in a 45-minute phone call and then brag about doing so to the press, and ignoring his campaign statements that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel. A full catalogue of these slights appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.
Once Obama secured his second term of office, he went all out in working towards this goal. He appointed a UN ambassador who had once suggested a US military invasion of Israel, and this past summer, he effectively put an arms embargo on Israel during its time of greatest need.
It is these facts, and not Israel’s building in the city that Obama once acknowledged as its capital, a city in which even Goldberg acknowledges that Jews “have a moral right to live,” that have caused the current “crisis” (if, in fact, the crisis goes beyond the two individuals). Indeed, in assessing the current state of affairs, it would seem that Obama has merely attained the goal he set for himself in 2009. In assigning the lion’s share of the blame to Netanyahu, Goldberg, a long-time Obama supporter, conveniently overlooks all of these facts.