Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is this love built to last?

After Tuesday's friendly meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pro-Israel Obama supporters are keeping their fingers crossed.

They're hopeful there will be no more new apartment complexes in Jerusalem that make the president David Banner-angry. Not like the ones that are built in Washington and New York all the time with no complaints from the Israeli government.

They're hopeful there will be no more flotillas that caught the White House off-guard by starting a disagreement between two allies.

In short, they're hopeful there will be no further developments that would put the president in a tight spot as the 2012 election draws closer: torn between his leftist, anti-Israel supporters and his overwhelming command of the Jewish vote, which is staunchly pro-Israel. During his Administration's 18 months, the president has tried to straddle the fence: appear pro-Israel at home while presenting an Arabist or neutral position abroad. This strategy produced sharp drops in the president's approval ratings in both camps.

Avoiding another incident seems almost impossible. It's likely better for the president if Israeli-Palestinian peace talks do not resume. Any progress peace talks produce would enrage Iran and Syria as well as mobilize the "Arab street." Another regional Mideast war might ensue, putting Israel at the top of the news and the president in the middle again. Aside from peace talks, it's only a matter of time before a terrorist is successful; or CNN shows dead babies; or Israel permits its citizens to build more homes. For the president, that spells trouble.

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