For a "natural relationship"

Another good Israeli commentary, this time by Akiva Eldar:

Obama is surrounded by Jewish advisers who are very familiar with Israeli tricks and stalling tactics, especially when it comes to the settlements (have we mentioned "natural growth" yet?), but they would still want the new president to adopt the tradition of the "special relationship" with the Jewish state. Obama, however, has also been exposed to the school of thought, existing in both the administration and the American think tanks, that argues that the excessive closeness between the U.S. and Israel undermines America's strategic interests in the Arab world.

Brent Scowcroft, one of the shapers of foreign policy under President George H.W. Bush, and according to Time magazine, a strong influence on Obama, has called for a fundamental restructuring of American policy in the Middle East. Scowcroft, who was the boss of the current (and incoming) defense secretary Robert Gates, and a friend of the new national security adviser, James Jones, is proposing that the "special relationship" be adjusted to a "natural relationship." Perhaps such a change would be able to transform celebratory ceremonies into dry agreements.


Two important points here: first Clintonism (i.e. Nobel-seeking) is not the answer, second that the US-Israel relationship is so warped as to be against American, Middle Eastern and world interests. And against the interests of peace-seeking Israelis, although there seems to be few of those in the political elite there. (And incidentally this is the fundamental point made by Walt-Mearsheimer.)

[From Akiva Eldar / As Obama is sworn in, Israelis and Palestinians are thinking 'no we can't' - Haaretz - Israel News]

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.