As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Israel Sticks Their Thumb In Obama's Eye

Barack Obama's historic outreach to Iran signals a US-led effort to re-engage the world and settle differences through constructive diplomacy rather than divisiveness and belligerence. The problem for this prospect is the continued structures throughout the would that will resist it. Case in point, Israel. MJ Rosenberg's compelling analysis suggests that Shimon Peres intentionally undermined the Obama message to Iran.

Yesterday, when the New York Times inexplicably gave Shimon Peres' insulting message to Iran equal play with President Obama''s, I thought it might be no coincidence.

Peres, who is an uberhawk on Iran, suddenly sends "greetings" to the Iranian people urging them to rise up against their government at the same moment that Obama respectfully addressed the "Islamic Republic of Iran" with the most conciliatory US message in decades. Coincidence? Maybe.

Of course, the Iranians would not view it that way. They would see America and Israel playing "good cop, bad cop," diminishing the effect of Obama's remarkable overture.

I hear that the White House is furious.

Today's Times reports that when asked about the Israeli move, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "I know we notified our allies about our message last evening," saying he did not know if the Israelis had been notified.

Of course, they were. No other ally is as concerned about Iran as Israel so Jerusalem must have been at the top of the list of those notified.

Given the prevailing belief in the Muslim world that Israel and the United States speak with one voice, Peres' message nullifies, at least in part, Obama's. The distraction is obvious. And we're just a few weeks away from an even more conservative, more hardline government in Israel than the current one. Needless to say, the neocons are thrilled because they fundamentally oppose peace. Bad news, made worse by the fact that I doubt the Obama foreign policy team will force the Israelis to suffer any consequences for this.

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