The Israelis understand Obama

According to a poll conducted for the Jerusalem Post, only 6 percent of Israeli Jews believe that President Obama is pro-Israel. Fifty percent consider Obama more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel; 36 percent consider him neutral; and the remainder have no opinion.

A month ago, just before Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, only 14 percent of Israeli Jews considered Obama pro-Palestinian. At that time 31 percent labeled him pro-Israel and 40 percent thought he was neutral.

The abrupt change in the numbers confirms my view that Obama’s position that Israel must not engage in even “natural growth” construction in its established settlements has caused Israelis to view him as less than an “honest broker.” This, in turn, severely diminishes his ability to influence Israeli opinion and Israeli politics.

I take it as a given that Obama would like to see the Netanyahu government fall and be replaced by one that takes a softer line on issues relating to the Palestinians. But so far, as I have argued before, Netanyahu has decisively outflanked the inexperienced American president.

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