Waiting for President Palin

The increasingly vocal liberal Zionist Peter Beinart on the fear, loathing and anticipation gripping the Israeli government and its American backers:

Netanyahu’s response to the Gaza blockade crisis shows just how out of touch he is with America. Peter Beinart on why Israeli leaders—and their U.S. defenders—need to join the age of Obama.

This week, Elliott Abrams, the former Bush official and noted neoconservative, wrote an essay in the Weekly Standard attacking the Obama administration for not more forcefully defending Israel during the flotilla crisis. Abrams said the White House had joined an anti-Israeli “lynch mob.” Over the course of the article, he used the metaphor six times.

It’s remarkable when you think about it. To Americans with even the slightest degree of racial awareness, “lynch mob” conjures something quite particular: African American men hanging from trees in the post-civil war South. To deploy the metaphor to describe a United Nations resolution that obliquely criticizes Israel is audacious. To deploy it to describe the support for that resolution by America’s first African-American president is downright astonishing. It’s a bit like calling Joe Lieberman’s opposition health-care reform a “pogrom.”

As an Obama official once told me about the Netanyahu team, with amazement, “these guys are actually waiting for President Palin.”

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