Stanford Professor thinks Obama’s Israel Trip is a mistake

English: President Barack Obama talks with Isr...

English: President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call from the Oval Office, Monday, June 8, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack Obama’s Israel trip: Benjamin Netanyahu will learn that he can insult the president and fail to advance the peace process and still land a presidential visit from the White House. – Slate Magazine.

The author makes some fair points, and I have never been a huge cheerleader for either Mr. Netanyahu or Mr. Obama.

Nonetheless, Ms. Zacharia overlooks an important political truth. I suspect Obama is not going to Israel to praise Bibi, but to give heart to the growing and increasingly viable moderate middle in Israeli politics.

The government just formed in Jerusalem is perhaps one of the most interesting, intelligent, and hopeful administrations that Israel has seen in a decade or more. It finds itself less under the sway of nationalist fundamentalists and more under those who seek practical, intelligent ways forward.

Israel cannot slam the door on peace, nor can it continue to hive off large chunks of its real estate without concessions in return. The new administration collectively gets that. If Obama does not step in to show support now, he is by lack of action giving aid and comfort to extremists on both ends of the spectrum and on both sides of the Jewish-Arab divide.

It is disappointing that a former Jersualem bureau chief of the Washington Post completely misses this point.

A Little History

August 15, 2005. The residents of the Israeli ...

August 15, 2005. The residents of the Israeli community Neve Dekalim are forcibly evacuated from their homes in Gaza. The evacuation of Neve Dekalim was part of the Gaza Disengagement, which occurred during the summer of 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disengagement – August 2005.

How Israel peacefully and unilaterally gave up the administration of Gaza, despite domestic opposition, in the fervent hope that it would be enough to begin a final peace process.

I had a talk with a friend the other day who was in the IDF at the time. He grew emotional explaining how it broke his heart to drag fellow Israelis out of Gaza in August 2005, but he did it because it was his duty, and because he hoped (like all of us) that it would mean progress toward peace.

It didn’t, and this should ever be an illustration that words like “hope” and “good faith” are increasingly hollow when dealing with the leaders of the PA and Hamas.