The Jerusalem Post reports that Dan Shapiro, the U.S. National Security Council’s top Middle East adviser, conducted a conference call with American Jewish leaders on Friday to reassure them about the White House’s intentions towards Israel. In what I take to be his only honest utterance. Shapiro said that a “resolution” of the episode is close. The resolution, I assume, will be concessions by Netanyahu.
The rest of Shapiro’s reported remarks are so ridiculous that even the American Jewish leaders apparently weren’t buying them. For example, Shapiro blamed the “fog of press reports” for the perception that the meeting was negative. Several Jewish leaders later rejected this claim out-of-hand,
In fact, the press reports ultimately weren’t all that foggy, in spite of Obama’s decision to subject Netanyahu’s visit to a news black-out. The press reported that Obama chastised Netanyahu, kept him waiting while he went off to dine, and presented him with a list of demands that extended well beyond the issue of East Jersualem that served as the pretext for the whole exercise. Nothing in the Jerusalem Post’s report suggests that Shapiro denied any of this.
Shapiro also told the Jewish leaders that Obama has been as demanding of the Palestinian side as he has been of the Israelis. But what demand has he made of the PA that compares to his demand that Israel not build housing in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem?
Apparently the Jewish leaders wondered about this too. Reportedly one of them asked Shapiro for a compendium detailing American censure of the two sides so that the administration’s claim of even-handedness can be evaluated. Certainly, I’ve seen no indication of any meeting between Obama and the PA leadership that remotely resembles the hatefest to which the American president treated the Israeli Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, according to one participant in the conference, the Jewish leaders did not push back very much while the call was taking place. Then again, it’s far from clear that Netanyahu himself is going to push back.
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