When it comes to Israel, President Obama has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There is campaign Obama, who assures the Israelis he doesn’t bluff when it comes to stopping Iran’s nuclear program, lavishes the Jewish state with even more military assistance than his predecessor, and goes out of his way to let bygones be bygones.
Then there is the other Obama. This is the one that instructs his secretary of state to travel to the Middle East to propose a Gaza ceasefire that America’s allies in the region thinks rewards Hamas for starting a war this summer. It is the Obama who emerges in an incisive column published Tuesday by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.
The headline of course is that senior administration officials are privately calling Netanyahu “chickenshit.” He’s chickenshit because he won’t risk his own political coalition to stop the announcement of construction in East Jerusalem. But he’s also chickenshit because at the end of the day, Netanyahu heeded the warnings and requests of Obama and did not take military action against Iran. As one pro-Israel activist in Washington put it, “This is what Bibi gets for doing what Obama wanted?”