Let’s all take a deep breath. All of us. Now that the latest meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ended, we would do well to accept the not-so-bitter truth: At this time there are disagreements between the United States and Israel.
Two new governments on both sides do not see eye to eye on diplomatic realities and have different attitudes to Jerusalem. We could have caved in, or tried to blur the gaps, yet this would be a missed opportunity. It is better to reconcile ourselves to this diplomatic reality and recognize it. This is the situation, dear citizens: Israel thinks differently than America.
Instead of getting scared of this fragile situation, we need to speak out boldly: On the other side, there are quite a few people who fail to understand the limits of power.
It doesn’t matter what they tell you about what’s really happening between the White House and Israel, one thing is clear: The notion someone planted in Obama’s head, whereby Netanyahu will make statements that contradict his beliefs and his voters’ worldview, and that would shatter his coalition and split the Likud – this notion is foolish and unreasonable.
Indeed, this notion casts doubt on President Obama’s ability to conduct himself vis-à-vis Israel the way one should conduct himself vis-à-vis an ally.
Long-term opportunityOf course, there is no reason to panic. Yet there is definitely room for regret. It is regrettable that the American Administration comprises figures who do not respect Israel’s right to think differently than them. It is regrettable that officials around Obama have embarked on a rash effort to turn the US, within a short period of time, into a friend of the Muslim world even if this means clashing with their ally.
Most of all, what’s regrettable is the very thought that a deep and complex conflict like the one involving Israel and the Palestinians is the kind of thing that can be managed in a capricious and aggressive manner, without listening to the mood on both sides.
Even if Obama and Netanyahu overcome the latest bump in the road, this is no longer an optical illusion: There are disagreements between Israel and America. This is unpleasant in the short term, yet in the long term it’s a situation that also presents an opportunity – the opportunity to face the Americans candidly and tell them: Precisely because you are our real allies, you will have to cope with one of our most basic rights – the right to think differently than you about our future.