WaPo: Obama focus on settlements “self defeating”

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Jewish groups that claim President Obama has been too hard on Israel on the issue of West Bank settlements will be happy with today’s Washington Post editorial, which  argues his emphasis on the issue could be “self defeating.”

Only one country has “worse relations with the United States than it did in January: Israel,” the Post editors write.  The results of an “absolutist demand” for a settlement freeze include a hardening of Palestinian and Arab demands and sinking confidence in U.S. peace efforts in Israel.

Obama’s one-sided demand has backed him into a corner, the Post writes; now, if he backs down, he will lose confidence in the Arab world – “a public relations hit that he could have avoided had he not escalated the settlements dispute in the first place.”

Conclusion: “If he is to be effective in brokering a peace deal, Mr. Obama will need to show both sides that they can trust him — and he must be tough on more than one country.”

You can bet AIPAC, The Israel Project and others are already emailing the link to supporters — and that J Street, Americans for Peace Now and other groups on the left are working on their rebuttals.

Should be an interesting day.

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.