Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Israel Matzav: If he's lost the Tel Aviv coffee shop crowd, he's lost the country

If he's lost the Tel Aviv coffee shop crowd, he's lost the country

It's become stylish recently to suggest that President Obama should come to Israel and speak directly to Israelis. Martin Indyk, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Solarz, among others, have suggested it in the past couple of weeks. But the first person to suggest it publicly - the very first - was Aluf Benn, the Haaretz editor. Benn wrote an op-ed in the New York Times last July suggesting that Obama had to something about his popularity in Israel, and why doesn't he come to Israel and speak directly to Israelis. At the time, Benn was lambasted by Marc Stanley of the National Jewish Democratic Council, in an op-ed that appeared in the JPost, which accused Benn of being part of the anti-Obama wing of the Jewish community, and claimed he had chutzpa for criticizing Obama.

This afternoon, I had an SMS from a JPost intern who reads my blog. "I'll be seeing Aluf Benn, editor of Haaretz tonight," he wrote. "I will get the chance to ask him a question or two; anything you'd particularly like to hear him answer?" I suggested asking him whether he still believed that Obama speaking directly to Israelis would make a difference in how he's perceived in Israel. Here's Benn's answer:

It’s great that you mentioned the date. It’s been 9 months, but i could still print it today or tomorrow. He [obama] missed one point. Israel. he went all around the world, speaking to different leaders, but not here. yes, I stand by it.

I was sitting in tel aviv one saturday morning in cofee shop a couple of weeks ago. I was surrounded by secular israelis, the most open-minded types. but when the conversation turns to him, they say "we can't trust him." even the most secular. in tel aviv. if he can't gain their support, how is he to gain the israeli public's support?

I don't know whether President Obama's approval ratings would improve if he came here, and I don't know whether he would suddenly be able to convince Israelis to take more 'risks for peace' if he came here. But I can tell you that if the secular Tel Aviv coffee shop crowd doesn't trust him, no one here does, and those polls you are hearing with single digit approval for Obama among Israeli Jews are quite accurate. He may not gain anything by coming here, but he has no hope of accomplishing anything without coming here.

Israel Matzav: If he's lost the Tel Aviv coffee shop crowd, he's lost the country

1 comment:

emanuel appel said...

A letter from America,

Do not invite Obama, do not trust Obama, do not trust his Jewish advisors. They will lie to your face in order to get you to get on the Auschwitz train.

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