by Wesley Pruden
Good old Joe. The vice president is off to
This White House puts great store in its ability to make millions believe nine impossible things before breakfast, but the Israelis are a tougher audience than any Mr. Obama faces at home. When your survival is at stake, it's difficult take words, no matter how thick the butter on them, as the equal of action. "What you do speaks so loud," as the saying goes, "I can't hear what you say."
The Palestinians are trying to make hay, with the help of compliant Western media, of the announcement that the Israelis have approved construction of 112 new apartments in "an ultra-orthodox" settlement on the West Bank, and the Palestinian complaint that this violates an Israeli undertaking to restrain further development of settlements will complicate the veep's mission, but not by much. The Palestinians will always find a reason to find a fly on the pastrami, and the purpose of the Biden visit is to warn, harshly, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to be nice about the West doing nothing about
Because Mr. Obama and his administration can't do anything to punish an enemy, they'll try to punish a friend by extracting a promise from
Good old Joe follows Sen. John Kerry to
"In light of the gaping disparity between the Obama administration's policies and those of the Israeli government," Caroline Glick, an Israeli analyst, writes in JWR, "the apparent goal of the Biden [visit] is to shore up the position of the Israeli left as an alternative to [Mr.] Netanyahu … the picture emerging from all of the senior U.S. officials' meetings with [Mr.] Netanyahu is that Israel's leader still feels comfortable defying them. Presumably they now believe that the only way to force him to toe their line is by making him believe that the price of defiance will be his premiership."
This worked before. A full decade ago, Bill Clinton, posing as the best friend the Jews ever had — feeling their pain, pointing with pride to his undying love for Israel and viewing with alarm the occasional venal sins of the Palestinians — imposed some of the most hostile policies the United State ever foisted on Israel. This so effectively undermined Mr. Netanyahu that he was booted from office.
But that was then, and the Israeli public, like the government, has scant appetite for saccharine this time. It's just as well. Mr. Obama reserves his sweet talk for Arab provocateurs; he made his apology tour of the Muslim world early in his presidency but still can't find time to visit
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
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