By Larry Gordon
Here are some things that struck me as particularly interesting or can we say—glaring—about President Obama’s forthcoming two day visit to Israel. This after participating in a teleconference briefing on the trip presented by Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes and Israel’s Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.
It seems that while the trip will not really focus on jump starting the lame Israel-Palestinian peace process that Presidents usually cannot resist, the entire event will be focused on the President making several major statements but not necessarily verbal, but rather by his actions.
I listened to the briefing with both a critical and discerning ear. Ambassador Shapiro had no problem saying that he was speaking from Tel-Aviv but at no point in the hour long press briefing did anyone mention that the President will be for the duration of his time in Israel—in Jerusalem. We heard that he was planning on going to Ramallah and to Bethlehem, but the mention of Israel’s capital does not cross anyone’s lips.
Ambassador Shapiro also spoke about the, “Close enduring warm ties,” that the US has with the people of Israel. The emphasis here was on the people, not the government or leaders of Israel which the President with his background and longtime ill-conceived notions but nevertheless reluctant support of Israel really does not care for.
At the same time Deputy National Security Adviser Rhodes and the ambassador have no choice but to speak glowingly about Mohammad Abbas and the Palestinian people. Mr. Shapiro mentioned the legitimate leadership of the Palestinians which, by the way, this is not. Elections in the PA are five years overdue and nowhere near in sight. What it is that is so genuine and legitimate about that kind of leadership?
Both Rhodes and Shapiro spoke about the desire of the president to speak to young people in Israel. And that is why Mr. Obama will be speaking in the Jerusalem Convention Center as opposed to the Knesset. Appearing in the Knesset would obviously be an acknowledgement and acceptance of Israel’s leadership. This is a subliminal presidential protest amongst other things.
The President will also travel to Jordan and so as to seem evenhanded the conference did not mention Amman, but rather just Jordan even though Mr. Obama will be spending one night in Amman. They said that Mr. Obama will discuss the Syrain situation and political reforms with King Abdullah—who was also never elected.
The administration is trying to make the visit look like a love fest mentioning that Obama is only the 5th President to ever visit the Jewish state. The President will visit an Iron Dome installation and have working dinners with both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu. He will be staying at the King David Hotel (in Jerusalem) which has already made its kitchens Kosher for Passover. I guess the President will be eating Matza.