Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post has a revealing article today that shows how, despite some rhetorical changes, the Obama administration has strengthened the U.S.-Israel relationship to an “unprecedented” level. How’s that for some hope and change? The article focuses on military and security cooperation, but it is not as if Obama really challenged Israel on settlement-building or the illegal blockade of Gaza.
While public attention has focused on the fierce diplomatic disputes between Israel and the United States over settlement expansion in Palestinian territories, security and military ties between the two nations have grown ever closer during the Obama administration.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has worked decades in Washington, “believes we are cooperating on military-to-military relations in an unprecedented manner,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.
Military relations were very close during the Bush administration, but “in many ways the cooperation has been extended and perhaps enhanced in different areas” during the Obama administration, a senior Israeli official acknowledged.
Elliott Abrams, a former senior Bush administration official and a frequent critic of the Obama administration’s policy toward Israel, gives the White House high marks for its handling of the security relationship, saying it is “very smart” to insulate it from the diplomatic turmoil.
“It is the sounds of silence,” he said. “I do not hear from Israeli officials and officers any griping, and that is in a context when there has been a lot of griping in the past year about everything else.”
When Elliott Abrams cheers you on, you know that the neo-cons and war-hawks are happy.
The Kessler article shows how the overblown hysteria coming from neo-conservatives about Obama’s policy on Israel is quite misplaced. Oh, how I wish they were right!