Beyond the rhetorical flourish, Obama is typical US President

In a long and pretty unremarkable look at Barack Obama’s attitude towards the Israel/Palestine conflict in the Washington Post yesterday, this paragraph reveals all you need to know. The Zionist lobby has far too influence in US politics and Obama in practice is little different to every President before him when it comes to accepting Israeli arguments:

Last month, Obama gathered another… group of Jewish leaders at the White House, this time Orthodox rabbis and lay leaders.

Diament, the Obama law school acquaintance, introduced the president. He called him a man who, like many of the Jewish leaders around the table, advocated for change based on principle.

Diament had not attended the first meeting between Obama and Jewish leaders almost three years earlier, when the president outlined the need to establish credibility with the Arab states.

But to Diament, who had been briefed on that gathering, Obama’s message on this June day was far different.

“My administration is not being evenhanded,” Obama said, according to notes taken by some of the participants. “We are being decidedly more attentive to Israel’s security needs,” a statement that attendees believed was a reference to how the president viewed the eventual terms of a peace deal.

Diament said he thought, “Three years ago ”˜evenhandedness’ was the gold standard in Middle East peace-making. Now it is something that is being avoided.”

Where, then, does a president who promised a new approach to the old Middle East and ultimately failed to deliver begin if he wins a second term?

“The president’s view now is that this is about the Israelis and the Palestinians,” said Rhodes, his deputy national security adviser. “These really are their choices to make.”

During the meeting last month, Rabbi …­Shmuel Goldin, president of the… Rabbinical Council of America, asked Obama for his assessment of the past three years.

Those in the room had their opinions — on the “kishkes question,” on the need for a close relationship with Israel, and on Palestinian will. Now it was Obama’s turn to explain his view of the work he had done to secure an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“Mr. President, what lessons have you learned?” Goldin asked.

“That it’s really hard,” Obama said.