Stranger than fiction

Last week Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz dreamed up a cable by Hillary Clinton setting out an ostensible “recalibration” of the Obama administration’s policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some readers mistook it for the real thing, even though its perceptiveness has been conspicuously absent in the diplomacy of the Obama administration.
In his imaginary “WikaLikes” cable Horovitz had Hillary Clinton writing to her State Department team on lessons learned. The cable deployed phrases such as “Recognized that previous 10-month freeze was wasted by Palestinian Authority, which failed to enter direct talks in good faith.” And “USG conscious of PA President Abbas’s failure to capitalize on former PM Olmert’s terms.” And “Israeli mainstream commitment, interest in accommodation hitherto underestimated by this Administration.” And “Palestinian commitment, interest in accommodation hitherto overestimated by this Administration.”
This past Monday, WikiLeaks released a new batch of Israel-related diplomatic cables. Included in the new batch was the classified section of a “scenesetter” cable prepared by the former United States Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones. The cable provides “an overview of the Israeli psyche drawn up for relevant senior American officials just as Israel marked its 60th anniversary in May 2008 and shortly before a three-day visit to Israel by then-president George W. Bush.”
It is something like the cable of Horovitz’s imagining: “[I]t presents precisely the kind of realist’s insights into Israel that I, last week, put into my fake Secretary Clinton cable. The kind of insights that I knew, or thought I knew, would be perceived as too Israel-empathetic to feature in a genuine cable.” Horovitz calls it all “Stranger than fiction,” and seeks to bring the cable to the attention of those “in the highest echelons of the US diplomatic hierarchy for which it was originally prepared.” Even if he fails in this mission, he has succeeded in writing a fascinating column.
For a portrait of what the Obama administration’s “smart diplomacy” has actually accomplished in the Middle East, heavily informed by the WikiLeaks material, see Caroline Glick’s “Slouching toward Teheran.” The portrait painted by Glick is also strange. One wishes that it were stranger than fiction, but it is, unfortunately, not that strange.


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