November 19, 2018

America’s Israel obsession

Here’s an extract from my latest article for Foreign Policy magazine. As you probably know by now, the coming days will be filled with US-Israel-relations and Obama-Bibi-relations pieces. I’m going to add my five cents to the mix by writing comments following President Obama’s AIPAC speech (and President Peres’), and again following the Obama-Netanyahu meeting and Netanyahu’s speech.

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Israel is to American writers what football is to the general public: Everybody seems to be an expert, or at least believe he or she is one. It’s not just the number of mentions and articles written about my country that is perplexing; it’s also the number of uninformed comments and unworthy observations… This raises the question of whether all the attention showered on Israel and the Palestinians has brought them one inch closer to resolution of the conflict. Or did it make a complicated situation even worse, by giving the sides more reasons to invest much of their energy on spin and public manipulation, instead of solving the real problems? Naturally, Israeli leaders would prefer less attention be paid to the conflict with the Palestinians and more to feel-good “start-up nation” kinds of stories. Then there are other issues on which attention is both a blessing and a curse at the same time—notably Iran.