I just caught up with Andrew Sullivan’s column from last weekend’s Sunday Times on Obama and Israel. Despite the fact that Jeffrey Goldberg worries about Sullivan’s Zionist credentials, Sullivan argues that Obama has played the Middle East well so far and holds a trump card:
In the long run Obama retains one key advantage. He knows he has a critical lever with respect to Israel and will not use it until Jerusalem gives him no alternative.
In fact, it would be domestically suicidal for him to use it until Jerusalem gives him no alternative. That lever is not the military aid given to Israel, which would have to go through a Congress heavily influenced by the pro-Israel lobby. It is America’s United Nations security council veto, which Israel desperately needs if it is not to become a pariah state in the near future and if its own leaders are to be able to travel abroad without actionable war crimes charges in the wake of Gaza.
In the long run, then, Obama knows he has Israel by the unmentionables.
If so, and I seriously doubt it, Israel is currently acting as it pleases. It is notable, however, that Sullivan acknowledges the changing global atmosphere for the Jewish state.