Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Promises, Promises

Joe Biden has told Israelis that "The United States will always stand with those who take risks for peace."

Easy for you to say, Joe. You're not the one taking the risks, and your very survival isn't at stake.

By and large Israelis remain suspicious of such promises--and rightly so, says Wesley Pruden:
Good old Joe. The vice president is off to Israel to play kissy-face with hosts who are in no mood to pucker up. And for good reason: There's abundant evidence that President Obama is no friend of the Jewish state, and the Israelis must decide whether to believe Joe Biden or their own eyes and ears.
This White House puts great store in its ability to make millions believe nine impossible things before breakfast, but the Israelis are a tougher audience than any Mr. Obama faces at home. When your survival is at stake, it's difficult take words, no matter how thick the butter on them, as the equal of action. "What you do speaks so loud," as the saying goes, "I can't hear what you say."

The Palestinians are trying to make hay, with the help of compliant Western media, of the announcement that the Israelis have approved construction of 112 new apartments in "an ultra-orthodox" settlement on the West Bank, and the Palestinian complaint that this violates an Israeli undertaking to restrain further development of settlements will complicate the veep's mission, but not by much. The Palestinians will always find a reason to find a fly on the pastrami, and the purpose of the Biden visit is to warn, harshly, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to be nice about the West doing nothing about Iran.

Because Mr. Obama and his administration can't do anything to punish an enemy, they'll try to punish a friend by extracting a promise from Israel to learn to live with the neighborhood nuclear outlaw. Nobody at the White House puts it quite that way. Not yet. What Mr. Obama wants now is Israel's connivance in "toughening" sanctions against Iran and its accelerating nuclear program but exempting China and maybe Brazil (and eventually anyone else) from obeying the sanctions. This is such a transparent farce that only a puffed-up windbag like good old Joe would undertake such a mission to Jerusalem...
Oh, Wes, you old cynic. Surely you can see that Joe and his silver-tongued boss have Israel's best interests at heart here (Obama's "outreach" to mad mullahs and hissy fits about Israeli construction in East Jerusalem notwithstanding). 

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