Obama’s communications gap and U.S.-Israel military cooperation: what’s wrong with this picture?

JTA reported yesterday that the Obama administration plans to store an extra $400 million in military equipment in Israel – stuff Israel can use in the event of emergency. Included in the arsenal: smart bombs “and other precision weaponry.”

By 2012, the total inventory of weapons stored in Israel will reach $1.2 billion.

Let me see if I’ve got this right.

President Obama is “anti-Israel,” I read in blogs every day. Angry emailers keep telling me he’s determined to weaken Israel any way he can and that he’s ruthlessly using every lever at his disposal to force Israel into a suicidal peace agreement.

How, exactly, does this square with the fact that U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, deemed the Jewish state’s vital military lifeline by the IDF, is stronger than ever?

Here’s a memo to the Obama haters: this kind of deepening strategic connection doesn’t happen without the full support of the White House. Clearly this president sees the relationship as important for U.S. strategic interests, as well as important for a peace process that still may be an administration priority, although I’m not so sure of that.

Unfortunately for the Obama White House, its public outreach to Israel hasn’t been nearly as energetic or effective as its military outreach, and that is clearly undercutting some of Obama’s key goals in the region.

The boost in strategic cooperation under Obama’s watch suggests genuine support for Israel’s security interests; his low standing in Israel and among some pro-Israel forces here reflects to a degree a communications deficiency and maybe a blindness to how he is perceived that isn’t just confined to the Israel issue.

If you don’t believe that, look at the November 2 election returns.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.
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