Israel’s defense minister, Moshe “Boogy” Ya’alon, delivered an entirely accurate, if somewhat rude, assessment of Secretary of State John Kerry’s “messianic” pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal on Tuesday. In response, the Obama administration’s State Department has blasted Israel–angrily, and therefore stupidly.
Here the Obama administration is repeating a mistake it made in 2010, when Vice President Joe Biden–that great friend of Israel–condemned a housing project in East Jerusalem that was announced during his visit to Israel, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proudly berated Israel’s prime minister for 45 minutes.
In both cases, the Obama administration should have made Israel pay the costs of the perceived insult in private. Instead, it use both diplomatic spats–enthusiastically–to drive a further wedge between the U.S. and Israel, which suits the Palestinians (and Iran) perfectly but will not bring a peace deal any closer at all.
A response more in sorrow than anger would have been more useful and appropriate.
You don’t need to read Robert Gates’s new memoir to know that the president is absurdly thin-skinned. It is a personality flaw that percolates throughout his administration, to the detriment of the goals he claims to want to achieve.