Again, Obama Caves to Israel

Peter Beinart on the US' longstanding trend of rolling over to its ally

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 12, 2012 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama hosted Benjamin Netanyahu last week, and unlike Bibi's last visit—a disaster for Obama—this one went well, with Netanyahu seemingly embracing the president. But that harmony came at the cost of Obama's principles on Israel, says Peter Beinart of Newsweek, in a modified excerpt from his new book, The Crisis of Zionism. It was all too familiar. "The story of Obama’s relationship to Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies is, fundamentally, a story of acquiescence," Beinart writes.

Obama came of intellectual age among Jewish professors and friends. His early statements on Israel mirrored their liberal Zionism, embracing Israel's progressive society while criticizing its occupation of the West Bank. But when he tried to act on that philosophy by demanding a settlement freeze, Israel and American Jews were "scared to death," says one former adviser. Obama wound up capitulating, and that "failure to defend the progressive vision … helped doom the peace process," Beinart says. "If he fails this time, the price may be war." Click for Beinart's full column.

In this Sept. 21, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations.
In this Sept. 21, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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