[Middle East News Service comments: Two of the best items I have seen to help readers make an intelligent assessment on the differences that have developed between Israel and United states. Yossi Verter, the senior writer of Israeli party politics for Haaretz is quite blunt in his approach: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from the United States Thursday with egg all over his face but also with a painfully sharp insight – gone are the days when the White House was considerate about the intricacies of Israeli domestic politics.”
The Hebrew headline is even blunter: “Netanyahu has undergone shock therapy.” The choice Netanyahu is offered is simple: ditch his hard right allies, bring in Tzipi Livni’s Kadima and try to find a formula that will placate the Obama Administration or steady as she goes, a course that may end up with an even more right-wing coalition (yes, such a thing is possible!) and to use Verter’s words, Israeli would then join the Axis of Evil as far the US government is concerned.
Senior Haaretz commentator Akiva Eldar follows up with an article telling us that Netanyahu and Obama are at a point of no return. His argument is summed up within his last paragraph: “with America’s strategic interest on the line, Bibi’s favorite political game (playing the Jewish community and Congress against the White House and the State Department) isn’t working anymore.
Obama decided his moderate Middle East coalition is more important than Netanyahu’s extremist one.” (Emphasis added),The next few weeks will surely be crucial — will Obama hang on or will he fold up under pressure. One way or the other we may get some definitive answers to the questions raised by Mearsheimer and Walt in their book about the Israel lobby.
Has the lobby been intrinsically strong, as those who subscribe to the authors’ thesis contend, or has the lobby success been determined by a temporary (if long-term) confluence of interests between the two countries, as argued by others including the undersigned.
With the approaching Pesach (Passover holiday) and the shutting down of politics in Israel, and my own culinary commitments this News Service will revert to a less active mode over the next four days.
For those of you who celebrate it: Chag Sameach! Have a happy and delicious Pesach!
Sol Salbe]

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