Jewish Journal


January 11, 2013

Israel Factor: Obama’s disengagement term



Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama meeting in New York, September 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

Consider this: Not even one of the scenarios presented to our Israel Factor panel of experts is likely or very likely to happen.

  • The second Obama administration isn’t likely to heavily invest in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
  • It’s not likely to intervene in Syria
  • It will not pressure Israel to freeze settlement activities
  • It will not succeed in convincing Iran to halt its nuclear program, and isn’t going to use military means to make its case more convincing
  • It isn’t likely to much improve its relations with the Israeli government
  • Obama’s relations with Netanyahu are also unlikely to improve

Not one of these scenarios even got close to a 10 – the rank for “very likely”. Not one of them reached an 8, or a 7, or even a 6 (the full table of statistics for the latest Israel Factor survey is here). Pressuring Israel on the settlement issue is at 5.1, the highest score any of the scenarios got. Obama’s future relations with Netanyahu got the lowest score: 3.4. All others were somewhere in between. Interestingly, the likeliest of them except from the one on settlement pressure, is the one projecting the use of American military force against Iran. 

This is an issue on which other differences between panelists have an impact. GOP-leaning members of the panel (namely, in this case, the panelists believing that the GOP is the better party for Israel) cumulatively (and unsurprisingly) have the lowest confidence in Obama’s determination to stop Iran at whatever cost. If there’s a surprise here it is that far more than Democratic-leaning panelists, the members of the panel who think both parties are equally good for Israel have the most confidence in the administration on this issue. Maybe such a choice represents a greater confidence in the US in general, hence the confidence in both parties and in the administration.







The second Obama administration is going to succeed in
peacefully convincing Iran to halt its nuclear program





It’s worth mentioning in this context, that while the “bipartisan” panelists don’t have such a great belief in Obama’s ability to peacefully convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program – they are still those giving this option the highest score (6). And they are also the most optimistic that the relations between the US and the Israeli governments (and relations between Obama and Netanyahu) will improve during Obama’s second term.

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