I’m quite certain that the two are unrelated but two developments today should give the Obama team heartburn over pro-Israel voters.
First, is the Republican Jewish Coalition’s ad (originally set to air next week, but the early release of which was prompted by a New York Times story):
Yikes. This is one of several “buyer’s remorse” ads, aimed to give voters “permission” to change their minds. Mitt Romney doesn’t want to say that voters got it wrong (although some of us did spot his approach to Israel from a mile away), so he and those assisting him are making an easier sell, namely that Obama didn’t do what he promised.
Then today, from a nonpartisan angle, Aaron David Miller predicts:
Crises and tensions have come and gone, but rarely — if ever — has there seemed to be such a permanent pall over the relationship. Its dismal state is even more perplexing when one considers that the body of the relationship — security assistance and intelligence cooperation — seems sound.
It’s the head that’s in trouble. Almost four years into their partnership, the two most important players — Bibi and Barack — still seem out of whack with one another both personally and on some key policy issues.
What’s happening here? I’ve got a pretty simple diagnosis: Netanyahu’s policies and suspicions about American intentions have combined with Obama’s seemingly emotionless view of Israel to spell trouble. The absence of a common enterprise makes matters worse.
He writes bluntly: “I’ve watched a few presidents come and go on this issue, and Obama really is different. Unlike Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama isn’t in love with the idea of Israel.” Yowser.
But that’s not the worst part. He concludes: “In this respect, when it comes to Israel, Obama is more like Jimmy Carter minus the biblical interest or attachment, or like Bush 41 minus a strategy. My sense is that, if he could get away with it, the president would like to see a U.S.-Israeli relationship that is not just less exclusive, but somewhat less special as well.”
Obama has promised to go to Israel, but far more likely, according to Miller, is that “the U.S.-Israeli relationship is in for a turbulent period.”
The RJC might want to consider a new ad campaign: “Aaron David Miller on Obama.” Just saying.