Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Washington and the White House and is back home, we can sum up the current situation, through the rumor mill for the time being: We are in trouble.
As opposed to almost all American presidents in recent generations, Barack Obama views himself as one who is guiding his country and the free world towards a new history, far beyond what we can see. Obama wishes to shape new universal discourse, which seeks to replace the confrontation with the radical Muslim world emerging before our eyes in recent times. Obama leads a line of reconciliation vis-à-vis this hostile world, and the price – whether we'd like it or not – will be paid by the State of Israel.
Israel has already started paying. Very soon, Obama will arrive in Cairo, and there, in a speech to more than one billion Muslims worldwide, he will take the first step out of a million steps of reconciliation. Obama still believes, apparently, that the Pakistani nuclear bomb and the Iranian nuclear bomb and other bombs expected from this terrible and hostile world can be neutralized by appeasement and accommodation.
Obama wishes to separate what have become Siamese twins for generations now: The US and Israel. He doesn't like the photographs we have seen in the last dozens of years from places as far as Jakarta and Tripoli, where Israeli and American flags are burned together. Always together. Just like speeches in Tehran and in Karachi always refer to American-Zionist imperialism.
No more. To their credit, Netanyahu and Obama did not even try to hide the deep disagreements between Washington and Jerusalem. They placed everything on the table, and according to all the talk and indications, two days ago we saw in the US capital the prologue to the play: At this time, the orchestra is playing the opening tune. Soon we will see the appearance of the gun in the first act; the one that will fire in the last act.
Wishing to change historyWe must make no mistake about it, and who knows this better than Netanyahu: The words of praise and politeness are part of the well-known American hypocrisy, the one that explains to you in nice language what America wants. And America, at this stage, is distancing from Israel, and is not even trying to accommodate its positions to the ones presented by Jerusalem this week.
So that's it. The window of opportunity regarding the special longtime ties between Washington and Israel is starting to close down. It won't happen quickly or tomorrow, but we are witnessing the beginning of the process.
You want another indication? It is still hard to believe that an American president will soon visit Cairo without arriving in Israel. Only a relatively short while ago, White House officials would ask Israel whether it's possible, "if you don't mind," to hold a quick visit in Cairo in addition to the major visit in Jerusalem (and when the Israelis hinted this was undesirable, it didn't happen.) Such superpower will not be asking us any longer. It won't inform us in advance either.
Thus far, Obama looks and sounds like a president who wishes to change history and enter the annals of history. He may certainly consider a forced agreement (and there are rather broad camps in Israel that would welcome such deal.) He may envision the 57 leaders of Islamic countries on a special stage in the White House, and in the middle, amidst all the robes and suits, Barack Obama himself along with Bibi Netanyahu, and everyone will be smiling from ear to ear (with the possible exception of Netanyahu, but perhaps him too?)