Two nuggets of fact lie on the shore after the last news-cycle. One helps explain my mystification at the immediate hard right hysteria. The verbal formula that essentially repeats the standard position of every recent US administration on the two-state solution did not strike me as anything new; in fact, it struck me as a minimalist response to Israel’s continued aggressive settlement of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And yet instantly Drudge, Fox, Romney et al. blasted the “stunning” news that Israel had somehow been thrown under the bus.
None of this makes sense until you realize that Netanyahu had been given a heads-up by the administration. So it’s pretty obvious that it was the Israelis who immediately got their US media mouthpieces to spin the speech as some sort of attack. So those of you who think Jeffrey Goldberg and Walter Russell Mead and Victor Davis Hanson are a foreign government’s favored outlets should think again. These leftist radicals are far too unreliable a channel.
Then there’s the odd, but telling note that Obama gave an exclusive interview on the speech to the BBC’s Andrew Marr. Why the BBC? Well: Obama is headed to the UK next week; and who does he need to prevent total humiliation and isolation for the US and Israel at the UN in September? The Europeans. If Britain were to endorse a Palestinian state at the UN in the fall, the US could well find itself utterly isolated in defense of Israel’s insistence on strengthening its grip on the West Bank.
And then, of course, one wonders if what Obama really wants is exactly for the European allies to vote for Palestinian statehood, because he, given the exigencies of American politics and fundraising, and his own attachment to Israel, cannot. And this speech was designed in part to give him cover.