As Jackson Diehl points out, the optics of the American-Israeli relationship have grown to be pretty terrible, thanks in large part to the Obama Administration’s treatment of the issue. Both on style and on substance, there are serious problems. Much of those problems stem from the Administration’s shifting comments and rationales for its actions, as Diehl notes, but now, we are also being treated to White House public relation errors that consist of needlessly insulting the Israelis. How any of this will advance the peace process is beyond me.
I recognize that the Obama Administration is upset about the new Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. But it had to know that it would not reverse those settlements by picking a public fight with Benjamin Netanyahu and demanding that he take steps that would have possibly brought about the fall of his government. Quiet diplomacy might have done a great deal more to bring this controversy to a conclusion that would have been satisfactory for both sides. But we are now past that point, aren’t we?