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Three short questions on the Obama team and Israel

by Shmuel Rosner

December 4, 2011 | 8:03 am

US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman recently shocked listeners at a European Jewish Union conference when he said that anti-Semitism coming from Muslims can be justified by Israeli policies. (Courtesy)

1.

One should wonder: Do they want to make peace with Israel and consequently with pro-Israel voters? If so, why do they keep giving ammunition to all those arguing that the Obama administration is only mending its differences with Israel for electoral reasons? Why do they send Secretary Panetta to tell Israelis “to get to the damn table”? Why do they send Secretary Clinton to raise concern over Israel’s “anti democratic” (or is it anti Democratic?) legislation? And why can’t they tell the Howard Gutmans of the world to STFU? Is it possible that all commentators were wrong, and that the Obama administration never intended to make the coming year the year of no Israel-related controversy?

2.

One should also wonder: What needs to happen so that Israelis and Palestinians “get to the damn table”, and what’s going to happen after they’re back at the “damn” table? It is nice for Secretary Panetta to be able to be such a straight shooter, but amid all predictable cheers one might notice that Panetta’s gun is aimed at no target and has no way of hitting any meaningful objective (we’ve been at that table, remember?).

3.

One should also wonder: Where does Secretary Clinton get her information about Israel’s dwindling democracy?

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