1) Unprecedented support for Israel
Michael Rubin looks at the President’s plans, Obama First Trip: Doubling Down on Islamism:
Today, Frank Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, announced that Obama’s first trip of his second term will be to Turkey, a country which has witnessed under its increasingly Islamist government an unprecedented roll back of basic freedoms. The Turks are looking at Obama’s choice as an endorsement. They are probably right. On top of this, Ricciardone’s announcement comes right after Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that he would soon travel to Gaza, in recognition and support of Hamas.
Votes matter. How ironic it is, therefore, that Obama chooses to embrace most those governments and entities where they don’t.
In related news, Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party congratulated the President on his re-election:
The Freedom and Justice Party sent a congratulatory message to Barack Obama on his re-election as President of the United States, expressing hope his second term would witness more fruitful cooperation between the Egyptian and American peoples for the benefit of both countries.
The FJP also expressed hope US foreign policy would change to play the leading role expected of it as a super power and a real and fair partner in dealing with the Palestinian issue.
2) Revisiting Bibi vs. Barack
Yesterday I wrote about the coverage of Netanyahu’s congratulations to Obama in the New York Times. The coverage almost exclusively focused on the opposition’s charge that Netanyahu had unnecessarily alienated Obama. There was another side. Joel Greenberg, whom I often criticize, included the other side in his report Israel’s Netanyahu comes in for criticism in wake of U.S. presidential election:
Yet many of Netanyahu’s backers in Israel argue that the source of the problem is what they call Obama’s cool stance toward the prime minister, who they say is simply defending the country’s vital interests.
Abraham Diskin, a political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the opposition’s focus on relations with the United States is a “double-edged sword.” While Israelis value those ties, Diskin said, many have rallied behind Netanyahu in times of confrontation and believe that he has emerged with the upper hand.
To be sure, Greenberg mostly covered the criticisms of Netanyahu, but he at least showed that there was another side.
3) J-Street’s nightmare
Lee Smith writes about what the Middle East might look like in four years at Tablet. The next to last paragraph reads:
Nayef’s diplomatic outreach extended to some unlikely figures, including Israeli Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman, said to be one of his closest confidantes among world leaders. Their relationship, Arab and Israeli sources say, is premised not only on their mutual fear of Iran, but also the Muslim Brotherhood, which governs the Islamic emirates of Jordan and Syria, and governed Egypt before the military coup that deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Nayef also reached out to Saudi’s erstwhile Sunni rivals in Qatar to cement a strategic relationship between the two Gulf powers. Their bilateral accord was perhaps facilitated by the massacre in Brussels of an official Qatari delegation, a terrorist attack that is believed to have been the work of a Hezbollah assassination team. The Riyadh-Doha agreement would come to include the formation of a multinational Middle East task force, the so-called Sunni Consortium, with the largest contribution of forces coming from Pakistan, Turkey, and Egypt.
The particulars of this future “history” may seem a bit outlandish, but the forces Smith describes as bringing them about seem plausible.
4) Nice letter in the Washington Post
Rodney Brooks asks Why single out Israel for turning back African migrants? After laying out his case Brooks concludes:
On second thought, the criticism is not so unbelievable. It just illustrates the “blame Israel” bias so prevalent today.