Will Obama “be more Israeli than the Israelis?”

Exploring the brouhaha over Jimmy Carter’s visit to the region, and his scheduled meeting with Hamas, Kevin Drumm calls out Obama for not walking his talk:

A leading Knesset Member in Israel who strongly favors Senator Obama if he had the chance to vote in the U.S. elections told me recently that his one fear about Obama is that in his quest for the White House, he will ultimately have to shed his pragmatic approach to problem solving and demonstrate to critics “that he will be more Israeli than the Israelis.”…ormer President Jimmy Carter is right to try and do what can be done to kick the tires of an alternative, internal solution to the political division of Palestine. His work may fail — but the effort is worth exploring.

The correct position for Obama to have taken is to say that he would be open to what someone like a Jimmy Carter. . .or a Colin Powell. . .or a Tony Blair, Joschka Fischer, Javier Solana, Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, or Saudi King Abdullah might be able to achieve by way of Hamas and Fatah. Emissaries are important, and they can create opportunities a President can’t often take the risks to do himself or herself.

Obama, in my view, has tarnished his foreign policy credentials here. If he can’t embrace what these Americans have been able to do — and what Senator Chuck Hagel has suggested be done with Hamas — then what use is his new vision?

What is his position today if not one that has been influenced by special interests whose political weight has undermined the strategic interests of the United States?

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