Photo: AP
Obama. He doesn't care about us
Photo: AP
Just another state
Asaf Gefen says that Israelis are insulted by President Obama’s indifference
This week marked a year to Barack Obama’s election as the president of the United States – a historic event marked worldwide, while in Israel it was celebrated in a tone that characterizes the periodical checkup at the dentist.


Everywhere in the world people are talking about the process of sobering up in respect to certain aspects of the Obama euphoria, yet it appears that around here it’s a different story. If in other countries they are dealing with the “disappointment” in the face of the great hopes, in Israel (where even at the peak of his post-election win Obama enjoyed a popularity level similar to that of the new local tax on water) there was not much to get disappointed over.


One would think that the bitterness towards the current president of America has to do with the fears about potential damage to Israel being realized. However, in practice, America’s confused policy brought grimmer results than our failed soccer team, while serving Netanyahu’s vision for four years of slumber at office.


From the very first moment, Israelis sensed the “he’s not one of us” feeling about Obama. Yet even this does not fully explain the acrimony.


Something has changed

It is clear that Obama is not getting on his knees and kissing the ground we walk on, yet even the paranoid Israeli public will find it difficult to present hard evidence that he is persecuting us.


And perhaps this is where the problem lies: It’s not about Obama being against us; rather, it’s the fact that he doesn’t care about us. He’s just indifferent.


Despite all the special envoys and diplomatic meetings, Obama continues to convey the feeling that we are somewhere around the 342nd priority on his list. After dealing with enthused lovers such as former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who knew how to give us the feeling that we are the one, something has changed.


So now Israel reacts like a woman who was dismissed from the post of best friend and removed from the speed dial list on the phone in favor of who-the-hell-do-they-think-they-are. And it is that insult that we find hard to forgive.


It’s one thing for them to hate us; it can even be fun – we know how to cope with that and it brings out the best in us. But to treat us like that? As if we’re just another state? What are we, a normal country?


First published: 11.06.09, 14:48
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