The unspeakable Jeffrey Goldberg, cruelly but accurately caricatured above, was recently granted an audience with the God-Emperor Obie, and made such hay of it as he could in a lengthy but rather predictable piece in the Atlantic magazine. Obsequious, of course, as befits a kicker of heels in the corridors of power, but also tendentious — the piece is mostly devoted to keeping us all very worried about Iran, a thankless and probably fruitless undertaking. Nobody much, or nobody without a vested interest, is buying that bill of goods any more, so one has to admire Jeffrey’s determination to keep the vaudeville going even as the audience is bolting for the exits.
Now Obie, of course, has presided, willingly or not, over two rather sharp kicks in the teeth to the Israel lobby. First there was the refusal to attack Syria back in 2013, though the lobby had dialed the noise machine up to 11 on this topic; and more recently, the tentative nuke deal with Iran, against much the same kind of alarums and excursions upstage.
Since I don’t like Obie, personally, I would prefer to believe that he was dragged kicking and screaming to these decisions; that the consensus of the foreign policy elites has begun to shift against Israel — not a minute too soon — and that Obie, good organization man that he is, had to go along. But who knows? They don’t invite me to these meetings. Maybe he’s more of a leader than he appears to be. If so, good on him, up to a point.
Of course, he felt obliged to give voice to the usual nonsensical incoherencies:
There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law….
It is true to Israel’s traditions and its values—its founding principles—that it has to care about those Palestinian kids….
The bedrock security relationships between our two countries—these are sacrosanct….
The core strategic relationship that exists between the United States and Israel… will continue until the end of time….
A Jewish-majority democracy. And I care deeply about preserving that Jewish democracy….
Kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir….
I think a good baseline is: Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and are you aware of the particular circumstances of Jewish history that might prompt that need and desire? And if your answer is no, if your notion is somehow that that history doesn’t matter, then that’s a problem, in my mind.
Sacrosanct? Until the end of time? Jewish democracy? This is all word salad, of course, and the idea that the Zionist cause and the American civil rights movement have anything in common is simply an obscenity. Not to mention that caring about Palestinian kids is a founding principle of Israel. Well, in a sense it is, no doubt. Getting rid of them is certainly a founding principle of Israel.
Much has been made, in the pro-Israel blogotweetosphere, about that last bit — the connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. The God-Emperor has been cited as endorsing an equivalence between the two, and this has been much hailed here and there among the Zionist arriere-garde. In fact Obie’s language, on close inspection, offers a bit less comfort to the Thought Police than they would like to have.
I daresay Obie will leave us all guessing. Does he really believe this nonsense, insofar as anyone can be said to believe anything that makes no sense? Or is he just saying it, to protect his flank, and not embarrass Bloody Hillary too much in her own progress to the Iron Throne?
Wouldn’t it be nice if he actually wrote a truthful memoir, once he’s out of office? Not that I expect it. He’s too well-trained, I think. But I continue to believe that he’s not actually a fool, and hey, a guy can dream.