The U.S. presidential election was watched with interest, of course, by Israelis, some of whom favored John McCain because they believed he would have been a better “friend of Israel” than Barack Obama will be. Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy wonders if there aren’t some problems with this idea.
Gideon Levy in Haaretz:
Only in Israel does the prime minister place George Bush’s portrait in his den, in his private home. Only in Israel does the prime minister travel to visit him in the White House.
That’s because Bush was a friend of Israel. Israel’s greatest friend. Bush let it embark on an unnecessary war in Lebanon. He did not prevent the construction of a single outpost. He may have encouraged Israel, in secret, to bomb Iran. He did not pressure Israel to move ahead with peace talks, he even held up negotiations with Syria, and he did not reproach Israel for its policy of targeted killings.
Bush also supported the siege on Gaza and participated in the boycott of Hamas, which was elected in a democratic election initiated by his own administration.
That’s just how we like U.S. presidents. They give us a green light to do as we please. They fund, equip and arm us, and sit tight. Such is the classic friend of Israel, a friend who is an enemy, and enemy of peace and an enemy to Israel.
Let us now hope that Obama will not be like them. That he will reveal himself to be a true friend of Israel. That he will put his whole weight behind a deep American involvement in the Middle East, that he will try to solve the Iranian issue through negotiation - the only effective means. That he will help end the siege on Gaza and the boycott of Hamas, that he will push Israel and Syria to make peace, that he will spur Israel and the Palestinians to reach a settlement.